The sustainable initiative behind Vivienne Westwood’s Made in Kenya collection

THE BRITISH designer has long been and advocator for social and political change, especially in regards to the health of the planet, and this ethos has continued following the appointment of Andreas Kronthaler as creative director. However, we are now at a point in time where actions speak undeniably louder than words, and Vivienne Westwood’s continued collaboration with Artisan Fashion is doing just that. 

Westwood has been producing accessories in Kenya since 2010, joining with the EFI (Ethical Fashion Initiative) social enterprise Artisan Fashion in 2015. However, Kenya remains a major importer of second hand clothing, distributing 200,000 tons each year to be sold at famous Mitumba markets, the fallout often being dumped in landfill sites, burnt in mass fires or tossed into rivers that lead to the ocean.  

Vivienne Westwood KenyaViolet, Artisan Fashion’s community officer, developing the large macramé bag

Vivienne Westwood KenyaReel Macramé Bag

For the Autumn Winter 2022 collection, Kronthaler wanted to incorporate this wastage and give it a new life with a circular design process. 

Upcycled denim is a key feature, with large rolls screen printed with the Westwood monogram or constructed into shopper bags. The wider collection is likewise infused with a plethora of recycled elements, with brass, aluminium, coffee sacks and bottle tops all making a feature. A modern take on luxury fashion, and hopefully one to become more frequented sooner, rather than later. 

by Ben Sanderson