“Buy Less. Choose Well. Make It Last” says Vivienne Westwood. The Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette launched their “Changeons de mode” (Fashioning Change) campaign to push for a more sustainable fashion industry, and hosted a talk with the queen of punk, Vivienne Westwood. She shared her view on the fashion industry, and proved that she is still as punk as she was in her thirties.

The climate change crisis is here and people are more careful when buying products. So, more and more brands are changing to sustainable production cycles. But Dame Vivienne Westwood has been thinking about sustainable fashion for years. It’s only logical that she were the guest of the Parisian Galeries Lafayette to launch their “Changeons de mode” (Fashioning the change) campaign to think about the future of fashion.

Vivienne Westwood has been designing clothes and shaping fashion for years. Starting with her small shop in King’s Road in London, she dressed band members of the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls, and went on to mold the 1970s punk scene. At the heart of the punk movement, Westwood saw “youth and anger versus age“. Young people were mad at the generation that was responsible for the Vietnam War but still in power. Together with her partner, Malcolm McLaren who was managing the Sex Pistols, she conveyed political messages through clothing.

Throughout her career as a designer, her style has evolved but has always remained true to its punk roots. She keeps on using her platform to share her political views, including the preservation of the planet. She started her website climaterevolution.co.uk to share her ideas, educate and find a solution to environmental problems. People can’t afford to not care about climate change, because it will impact everyone. And if nothing is done very soon, it will be too late. So she advises people to take an interest in climate change, try not to shop too much or shop responsibly, avoid driving regularly and take public transportation.

Fixing the issues

Westwood sees one big problem today, the “rotten dollar”. Governments only wish for more money and create poverty and crime. And if they are responsible for crime, politicians are criminals themselves. She is not afraid to call out leaders, the usual suspects such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, but also more popular politicians such as Barack Obama.

Vivienne Westwood created a banner that sums up her world view for the Galeries Lafayette talk. At the heart of her philosophy is what she calls “1 World Rent.” She believes humans are just renting the Earth. In her ideal world, land – which includes oceans, airwaves… – should not belong to individuals so that they can make more profit (capitalism), nor should it belong to everyone (communism); it should belong to no one. People would just be renting land to a responsible government that would hold the authority and trust of a democracy and would make sure the planet is protected. She thought about the way to make farmers and people living off of the land happy and it would be that: people would not have their land taken away; they could still hold and use it for perpetuity as long as they treat it with respect.

Fighting for the future

But Vivienne Westwood manages to stay positive and keep fighting. Even though, she feels “terrible sometimes, so tired,” she has an optimistic nature and when she feel possessed by ideas, she has to act on it. She has a lot to live for and she cares about people. She believes in being her best self. And, ultimately, she “believe[s] in life.” Young activists like Greta Thunberg impress her. The young Swede “is wonderful” and “serves the cause of democracy” by giving people a focus.

While she believes in the “reduce, reuse, recycle” motto, she wants to focus on the “reduce” part of the trio, specifically in production. Next season, Vivienne Westwood is reducing her collection by half and will make it in Italy (because in England they’re “just not good enough”) so that less people will have to travel. She continues to work in fashion because she wants to create THE company of the future. She would love to make into law that once you expand your brand to a certain point, you can’t expand anymore and you have to give your profits to charity. Westwood is also advocating for the end of wasteful practices like the use of cotton and denim. She stopped making jeans and has decided to tell people to go to second-hand shops.

Article by Juliette Cardinale

Devastating news about the climate arise every day, and if the responsibility does not only fall on your shoulders, there are ways to improve your everyday life and help preserve the planet. A new school year, or after a long break from work, is the best time to start getting some greener habits.

VanVeenjf/Unsplash

This summer, a study German-Swiss research team found microscopic particles of plastic in the Arctic. Countries such as Malaysia or the Philippines are sending back plastic waste to their wealthy countries of origin. China does not even buy plastic waste anymore since January 2018 if it’s not almost pure (which is very seldom, as a majority of the shipped plastic waste is actually contaminated). We are living in a world where we constantly produce plastics that are very hard to recycle and bad for the environment.

Buy less single-use objects

One of the ways to help the situation is to avoid buying plastics altogether, which can be quite hard, or at least avoir single use plastics and objects. So invest in a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water and take a reusable bag everywhere with you so you don’t have to get a plastic one if you end up buying something.

One serving ready-made meals can be a very easy solution if you don’t have much time or don’t like to cook, but their individual wrapping creates a lot of waste. Learn a few recipes you like, set a little time aside for cooking or, if you have to, try to buy in larger bulk some already made dishes and bring them to work in reusable dishes. Buying a lunch box and making your own lunch instead of buying it everyday can reduce your waste and also your spending!

https://www.instagram.com/p/B0jfDWDHIKB/

Avoid waste as much as possible

It’s important to recycle your waste but it is not a miracle solution, unfortunately. While reaching the “zero waste” goal is hard, little things can help reduce your overall waste. If you can, go grocery shopping more often and buy smaller quantities, according to your needs. Sometimes you think you’ll consume a lot of but it turns out the apple does not last as long as you originally thought and you might have to throw it away. So buying smaller quantities, more often, can help limit your waste. If you’re afraid your fruits or vegetables are starting to turn bad anyway, look for new recipes to cook them.

You can reduce waste in other areas than food. For example, buy soap bars and not bottled shower gel. Instead of throwing clothes, pieces of furniture or electronic products away when you want or need a new one, find a way to recycle them, donate them or try to sell them to make a few bucks.

At work or at school, you will probably have to read a big amount. Try to limit printing things and make sure to use recycled paper and print on both sides of the page. It’s a good idea to visit second-hand bookstores so you can give a new life to someone’s beloved book.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1cO3dKHtSE/

Buy locally or second-hand

You don’t have to become vegan or vegetarian, but try to think about the products you’re eating. In addition to buying organic food, a good idea is to buy more locally grown vegetables and fruits. They will have travelled less, which means less transportation pollution, and they will have been harvested when they’re ripe, not before to last the travel time, or with a lot of preservatives. Buying locally also means buying seasonal foods which are often better in taste or healthier. Eating locally-raised meat has the same no-travel advantages and you might be able to make sure the animals are raised cruelty-free. Economically, it also creates jobs in your area and supports your community.

Maybe you feel like you wear the same clothes everyday, or you love updating your wardrobe but you’re don’t know how to fix worn-out clothes and sewing is not your thing. Consider going to your local second-hand shop or buy from sustainable brands. Vintage is trendy and you’ll feel better about your environmental impact (the fashion industry is frightfully wasteful). Or, as iconic British designer Vivienne Westwood said, “Buy Less, Choose Well and Make it Last“.

Fabrizio Conti/Unspalsh

Reduce your energy consumption

If, like me, you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, you know how much energy it takes for your phone to work (think of how often you have to plug it in when you use apps or play games…). At least, when you’re not using your electronics, think of turning them off completely and not only putting them on sleep mode. You’re allowed to disconnect and turning your phone off during the night could greatly improve your sleep. And always turn of the lights when you leave a room! Both habits will also lessen your electricity bill, if you need extra motivation!

If it’s possible in your area, try taking public transports, biking or walking as much as possible. If you live in the middle of the countryside, you might have no other option than taking a car. But, if your budget allows, consider buying a less polluting car. Or try to find people who live close-by with whom you can share rides. Who knows, you might even make new friends!

You don’t have to be perfect, I know I’m far for it. But if everyone does a little better, and is more careful about their consommation, companies will have to follow the trend to keep customers, and things might start to change for the better.

Article by Juliette Cardinale