Vivienne Westwood uses London Fashion Week catwalk to protest Brexit

Danielle Fowler
Freelance Writer
Dame Vivienne Westwood used the runway to protest Brexit during London Fashion Week [Photo: Getty]

Vivienne Westwood is as famous for her political statements as she is her designs and today’s AW19 show was certainly no exception.

This afternoon, the designer enlisted the help of actress-turned-activist Rose McGowan and members of Green Peace to shine a spotlight on issues including climate change, mass consumerism and Brexit.

“We need more heroes,” McGowan exclaimed from the stage with sign-bearing models protesting behind her.

Rose McGowan led Green Peace activists on the runway at the Vivienne Westwood AW19 show [Photo: Getty]

Through the use of ‘playing cards’, Westwood illustrated a plan to save the world from self-destruction with a heavy emphasis on politics.

“Brexit is a crime,” one model shouted down the microphone. “Cooperate, don’t cut yourself off from the world.”

In case that wasn’t enough to get Westwood’s point across, another exclaimed: “Politicians are anti-people, they don’t have one humane thing to talk – they can only talk what the market wants.”

Further pushing this message, one model took to the runway wearing a garment representing Westwood’s imagined currency ‘ROT$’ which read: “All profit belongs to me so long as you keep buying cr**”.

The designer protested against mass consumerism in her AW19 show [Photo: Getty]

Meanwhile, models wearing prosthetic Pinocchio-inspired noses walked the runway to further highlight the notion that the public is fed lies by leading politicians.

Models took to the runway wearing prosthetic noses to further push the notion of the lies we’re fed [Photo: Getty]

“Tax the poor and give to the rich, that’s the lie with the long nose,” another model bellowed.

Unsurprisingly, another key aim of the show was to highlight the devastating role fashion plays in climate change.

In a bid to encourage the industry to embrace sustainability, Westwood coined the phrase: “Buy less, choose well and make it last”.

Making fun of the fashion industry’s lust for transient trends and ‘must-have’ items, models walked the runway wearing shoes emblazoned with the words: “I love crap”.

Westwood poked fun at the fashion industry’s love affair with transient trends through footwear [Photo: Getty]

But it’s not the first time the 77-year-old designer has used the runway to raise awareness on the issues she’s passionate about.

A longstanding advocate for sustainable fashion, the designer released a ‘Climate Revolution’ banner at the end of her SS13 show while models dressed as climate change zombies the following season.

When it comes to politics, she isn’t afraid to shy away from the headlines.

During her AW18 menswear film, a model was depicted proudly waving the EU flag – a not-so-subtle jab at Brexit.

But Westwood’s clever use of her high-profile platform is certainly working.

After serenading the crowd post-show this afternoon, she was met with fits of giggles from the front row before receiving a standing ovation – with many attendees discussing the issues raised throughout the show on their exit.


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