Consumerism In Vivienne Westwood

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When talking about expressing resistance and expression being displayed through a commoditive style, Vivienne Westwood’s punk fashion design is arguably the most recognisable example of this. However, until recently there has been little conversation around the ethics of consumption in this industry, especially considering the themes of production, consumption and disposal surrounding how consumers use fashion to create a superficial sense of identity. Focusing on Vivienne Westwood as a case study, I will look at how this environmental and political campaigner, fashion designer and self confessed anti-consumerist artist has used ethical ideals to convince consumers to buy and wear her clothes, and thus building an empire on consumerism. I will…show more content…
Although starting her career as a maverick designer, Vivienne Westwood has now received the title of Dame Commander for her ‘outstanding contribution to fashion’ (Stanfill, 2002) and subsequently, become part of the establishment. Vivienne Westwood is typical to any other fashion brand in terms of consumerist ideals. It urges consumers to purchase clothes and accessories in a seasonal cycle, which involves production and consumption, like the terms ‘buying-astherapy’ and ‘shop ‘til you drop’ (Durning, 1992; de Graaf et al, 2001; Gabriel and Lang, 2006;; Gibson and Stanes, 2011).The fashion industry has, for a long time, been at part of the problem with waste and superficial consumerism. This all forms part of the contradictive narrative in…show more content…
She claims that rather than an anti-consumption statement, it urges people to take responsibility in their consumption of fashion. She argues that the consumer is not a passive participant of this consumption and must be aware of the process of production and consumption. It is the consumers that need to dictate to the fashion industry that they will consume quality products, and less of them. In this argument, Vivienne Westwood provides a new narrative on how we consume fashion and urging consumers to have a more active role in what they buy, why and when they will buy products. This is an interesting argument when used in regards to the fashion industry. Vivienne Westwood is asking consumers to consider ethical consumption when fashion has detrimental effects on environmental issues and encourages superficial connections with expression and identity. ‘...dissent was presented as fashionable and dangerous, but not politically effective.’ This is also interesting when looking at Vivienne Westwood as a study as she is using her brand to push these views on to consumers, so they would feel a sense of involvement with little to no political engagement in the issues themselves. This is simply commodifying dissent. Consumers are literally buying in to anti-consumerism ideology and it is interwoven into the narrative of consumer culture. This industry fuels a demand for cheap, throw away products and means that

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