Vivienne Westwood’s journey from punk provocateur to eco-conscious queen continues on a global scale thanks to her eponymous label’s partnership with Artisan Fashion. The Nairobi-based programme is an off-shoot from the UN’s Ethical Fashion initiative (which the Godmother of Punk has been working with since 2010) that supports marginalised communities throughout Africa by utilising the skills of specialised artisans. To tackle the growing concerns over global textile waste, the British brand is supplying thousands of artisans and micro-producers from various communities with second-hand and headstock textiles that would otherwise go to waste. The Made In Kenya collection aims to grow a circular economy as a means for the fashion industry to reduce its environmental impact.
Since 2015, many of the brand’s high end accessories have been produced with the help of community groups and artisans thanks to Artisan Fashion. This was ramped up with the A/W 22 collection. 74% of the artisans employed by Artisan Fashion are women and 42% invested their income in education, training and skills development to further establish a community of creatives.
For A/W 22, the brand began working with upcycled denim sourced from the second-hand garment ‘Mitumba’ markets. For this collection, the handcrafted jeans were reworked from patches to create unique designs and because logomania is going nowhere anytime soon, they’ve been screen printed with the dame of British fashion’s signature monogram print. The choice to rework second-hand fabrics is just another example of how Vivienne Westwood is ushering in a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.