This weekend the tent encampment at St Paul's in London had a very fashionable visitor when Dame Vivienne Westwood swept in to give the anti-capitalist protestors a morale boost. Vivienne stood at the top of the steps of the Cathedral, and gave a speech to around 400 people gathered around and said: ‘What you're doing, I think it's wonderful.’ Then she went on to outline her fears about climate catastrophe, stating it ‘is connected completely to the financial situation.’
It comes as no surprise that Vivienne wants to support the camp, (this is her second visit to the site this month) as she has been campaigning for causes close to her heart for years, like her theory that people should buy less consumer goods and also that people need to look after the planet and try and reverse climate change. Over the years several of her shows have had a political theme, like ‘I am not a Terrorist’ in 2005 and her Autumn Winter show in 2010 – which was themed around Gaia, an environmental theory of climate change and its dangers, as well as her recent Fairtrade range created in Kenya from recycled materials.
The visit comes at a time when the Occupy camp is becoming stronger, and growing and spreading out to more sites rather than trailing off. Although the St Paul's site has been served with eviction, this weekend Occupy London opened its third space and first building at 29 Sun Street, in the borough of Hackney just near Broadgate and Liverpool Street. The new space, which has been dubbed the 'Bank of Ideas', is a huge abandoned office block owned by investment bank UBS, which Occupy London has taken in an act of 'public repossession', and is now transforming into a space for political discussion and debate.
Although Vivienne has not actually pitched her own designer tent on the site, she seems to be committed to the protest, and thrilled to have a platform to espouse her ideas from. She called on everyone to become art lovers, urging people to make use of free access to the National Gallery down the road, saying ‘an art lover is a freedom fighter.’ Afterwards she stayed after her speech to talk to protesters at the occupation and members of the public.
Jolly good show Dame Vivienne!