British Fashion Council to Honour Dame Westwood 

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Photo@British Fashion Council

By Sangeeta Waldron 

LONDON: Dame Vivienne Westwood, DBE the iconic British fashion designer will be honoured by the British Fashion Council (BFC) with the Swarovski Award for Positive Change at The Fashion Awards on 10 December, 2018 at the Royal Albert Hall, London for her incredible contribution to the fashion industry and her work to promote and engage with the industry for making global change for the benefit of the environment.

The Swarovski Award for Positive Change recognizes and celebrates individuals who have made an impact on society, the environment or both. It forms part of Swarovski’s efforts to promote a more sustainable future for us all. The recipients acknowledge the challenges our world faces, seeking to address them by using their resources to achieve change for good, and is why Dame Vivienne has been an obvious choice.

Photo@British Fashion Council

Over the last 20 years she has campaigned for several environmental and human rights charities. Caroline Rush, Chief Executive, says, “With this special award, Dame Vivienne Westwood will be recognized for being a campaigner for change throughout her career.  She has led the way championing humanitarian and environmental issues, and her contribution to British fashion, make her one of the most respected designers in the fashion industry and a great inspiration to us all”.

An ambassador for Greenpeace; in 2013 Dame Vivienne designed its official ‘Save the Artic’ logo and in 2015 she launched a global campaign to stop drilling and industrial fishing in the area. If that wasn’t enough, Westwood is also a trustee of Liberty, patron of Reprieve and campaigner for Amnesty International, War Child, Friends of the Earth and the Environmental Justice foundation!

She actively supports the charity, Cool Earth, which is focused on saving the rainforest and stop climate change. Cool Earth works with local communities to halt rainforest destruction. This ground-up approach has been proven to be the most effective way to mitigate the effects of global carbon emissions on climate change. By putting local people first, Cool Earth can safeguard the future of the world’s rainforests.

Since 2010 the Vivienne Westwood brand has worked with the International Trade Centre, a joint body of the United Nations, to produce bags through their Ethical Fashion Initiative. The programme currently supports the work of thousands of women from marginalized African communities and empowers informal manufacturers and craftspeople to enter the international value chain – providing an income for some of the poorest people in the world.

The collections are created using recycled materials from slums and land fill and the income helps to stop the need to continue deforestation in the area.

Last September, Vivienne Westwood, along with the BFC, and support from the London Mayors office, launched the SWITCH to Green campaign to bring the fashion industry together to lead in ambitious climate action. The ongoing campaign encourages industry leaders to commit to switch all UK offices and stores to a green energy supplier by 2020. As part of the SWITCH to Green campaign, Westwood uniquely brought together four of the biggest green energy suppliers to offer businesses quicker, measurable switches to a verified green provider.

The fashion world is keen to make changes and become more responsible for the planet. In a world that is increasingly running out of natural resources, the linear system of take-make-dispose needs to be replaced with a traditional one, where reusing and recycling is almost second nature in India.

Last year at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW), one of India’s most successful industry events, a day was dedicated to upcycling and sustainability. Where the spotlight was shone on new and emerging brands, such as – I Was a Sari, where designs are all made from recycled saris, to Jambudweep, which creates products crafted from non-hazardous industrial waste. This year LFW hosted a session on ‘Fashion for Sustainable Development’ with the United Nations in India.

Dame Vivienne Westwood has made an indelible mark on global fashion. Importantly her work and actions are inspiring a new generation of designers who are challenging the industry. These are designers who only want to work ethically and sustainably. They are part of Dame Vivienne Westwood’s legacy – our brightest hopes.

(About the Author: Sangeeta Waldron is India CSR’s Contributing Global Editor. She is based in London, UK writes on international affairs, broadening India CSR’s news scope to bring you the best stories from around the world.)

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