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Vivienne Westwood Debuts Upcycled Bags for Ethical Fashion Africa

by Kestrel Jenkins

British ruffian designer Vivienne Westwood is back on Yoox’s virtual store shelves with an expanded collection, unveiled at Pitti Immagine in Florence this week, for the Ethical Fashion Programme in Africa. Exclusive to the online retailer, the line is handmade in Nairobi from 100 percent recycled materials, including roadside advertisement banners and old canvas safari tents. Infused with Westwood’s eccentric-cool aesthetic, the bags and accessories are as one-of-a-kind as their designer.
The Autumn/Winter 2011 range carries 14 different styles of bags and accessories, for men and women. By working with the United Nations International Trade Centre, Westwood and Yoox are creating dignified, sustainable employment while minimizing their ecological impact. “It gives people control over the lives,” Westwood says of the project. “Charity doesn’t give them control. It’s the opposite; it makes them dependent.”
As a climate-change campaigner, Westwood believes in creating options that don’t exploit the environment. “It’s quite incredible to think we might save the world through fashion,” she adds.
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