Photos by Jürgen Teller
Vivienne Westwood and Yoox.com have joined forces with the United Nations Agency, the International Trade Centre (ITC), in a new creative collaboration, which provides dignified long-term employment for some of the world’s most marginalized people while protecting the environment. This is a unique system of sharing talent, sharing skills and sharing responsibility for the environment.
For this season’s Autumn- Winter 2011/12 Ethical Fashion Africa collection created through the programme, Vivienne Westwood and the team were joined on their first venture to Africa by the World renowned photographer Juergen Teller. He has captured the project and the people to help support and promote the campaign. ‘One of the things that really touched me on this trip was how Juergen gets everything from direct experience and really cares about human beings and their relationships. And together we can bring magic to those human relationships.’ - Vivienne Westwood.
The whole campaign will hopefully help promote the project and allow it to continue with maintained success for the future. Juergen Teller commented ‘I came back completely energized and full of life. It was truly inspiring to meet Simone Cipriani and the whole ITC team. It made a lot of sense to go with Vivienne to Africa.’
Vivienne Westwood, in collaboration with the ITC, have created a long-term objective to use fashion as a vehicle out of poverty. From the slums of Nairobi to the most barren rural areas, some of the world’s most disadvantaged women, marginalized by illness or oppression and the daily trials of extreme poverty, are empowered by this program. The Ethical Fashion Programme has already helped over 7,000 women to improve their lives. Without the income provided through the Programme, local communities would otherwise be forced to deplete the natural resources around them by cutting down trees to make charcoal to sell. The resulting deforestation is an international catastrophe.
‘What I do, making bags, can make a difference. This project gives people control over their lives- charity doesn’t give control, it does the opposite, it makes them dependant. These people have more control over their lives and can therefore choose not to exploit the environment because they have an alternative way of making money.’
‘Our project enables some of the world’s poorest people to enter fashion’s value chain as producers, while also allowing designers, who want to source ethically, to do so knowing their collaborators in the slums of Nairobi or impoverished rural areas are being paid a fair wage following the Code of Conduct stipulated by the Fair Labour Association.’ - Simone Cipriani, head of the ITC.
Global e-tailer, yoox.com joins with Vivienne Westwood to ensure the programme produces products which are truly ethical and made from recycled materials under conditions of fair labour, reaching customers around the world. Yoox.com is a welcome partner in making fashion fair and available to all.
It’s quite incredible to think that we might be able to save the world through fashion.’ - Vivienne Westwood.
NOT CHARITY, JUST WORK.
Vivienne Westwood Ethical Africa bags are available from www.viviennewestwood.com and www.yoox.com