Punk designer Vivienne Westwood strongly condemned Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement on Good Morning Britain. Westwood called the decision a “terrible disaster” and brushed off Theresa May’s response. The English designer is known for resistance to the status quo and recently turning her cause to climate change.
During the five-minute interview, Westwood showed a map she drew based on a geothermal NASA map that showed the predicted effect of climate change. Most of the map is in red, which means that it will be uninhabitable by the end of the century.
The hosts asked her if she sympathy for American coal miners who lost their jobs due to environmental regulations. Instead of answering, she explained why Trump pulling out is a disaster, arguing that by doing so, he has “stopped the clock” on climate change.
“You know, America, the most important country in the world with the most powerful propaganda machine ever and he is stopping the clock, so that any progress made in cutting pollution is now cut back – meanwhile, he is working for the fossil fuel industry.”
As the hosts tried to segue to their second guest, Westwood managed to insert that she does feel sorry for those people. “But there’s a way out,” she said. The way out? A green economy, she says.
The hosts then spent a few minutes speaking with Marc Morano, founder of ClimateDepot.com. He claimed that a green economy doesn’t need to ban forms of energy like fossil fuels or coal. He praised Trump and said that Britons and Europeans “should be admiring Donald Trump for his courage and his foresight.” He also referred to climate change as “superstition.”
However, Westwood was able to have the last word. She went on to call Morano “totally wrongheaded,” using similar terms for Theresa May’s lackluster response to Trump’s decision. “It’s madness to try to base our economy on this fossil fuel industry,” she said.
Westwood is no stranger to social activism and bucking the system. She and Malcolm McLaren were key players in the rise of punk culture in Britain in the seventies. The pair opened a boutique on London’s Kings Road in 1971 where they sold clothes they had produced together. McLaren went on to manage the Sex Pistols, who wore Westwood and McLaren’s clothing. Their designs registered as obscene by British law, and they responded by producing “even more hardcore images.” While Westwood became disenchanted when punk became mainstream, she continued to design and made her catwalk debut in 1981.
In recent years, Westwood has turned to activism. She participated in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 2008 and dedicated a 2013 collection to Chelsea Manning. Most recently, however, her cause has been climate change. In 2014, she announced that she would not be focusing on expanding her business, but rather making it self-sustaining. “I am now more interested in quality rather than quantity,” she said at the time. Since then, she’s used her website Climate Revolution to showcase her attempts at reaching attainable goals in the fight against climate change.
Since Trump’s announcement, many fashion brands have stayed quiet on the matter. However, H&M, Gap, Nike, and Under Armour all released statements expressing their disappoint and reaffirming their commitment to battling climate change.
— Sara Eisen (@SaraEisen) June 2, 2017
— Sara Eisen (@SaraEisen) June 1, 2017
Back on May 9, Tiffany & Co. urged the president to stay in the Paris agreement, but have yet to comment after the president’s the decision.
— Tiffany & Co. (@TiffanyAndCo) May 9, 2017
The fashion industry is one of the largest polluters in the world. A single pair of jeans consumes 1,800 gallons of water, while a cotton t-shirt takes 400. The fashion industry must take climate change seriously and work towards more sustainable and ethical production.
Westwood understands this. Getting in one last comment on Good Morning Britain, she proposed a solution. “Switch to green energy, and we’re going to get half the country to do it within three years, starting with the fashion industry,” she said. While she didn’t have time to explain how she planned to do it, her final statement was a strong one:
“Britain must lead the way if America is going backwards.”