After many years of designing and campaigning, Vivienne Westwood's latest political endeavour is just as much about the planet as her last (but not necessarily about the climate) and it's called CAAT. No, it's not about little furry friends but rather inanimate objects that are heavier, larger, and, to put it simply, much more petrifying than a pet cat could ever be. CAAT stands for 'Campaign Against The Arms Trade', which is exactly what Vivienne Westwood wants you to be preaching about alongside her, to eliminate the use of bombs, guns and other deadly weapons that Governments worldwide spend hundreds of millions on, every year.
The campaign's release marks the British fashion icon's 80th birthday and her message - not a birthday one - is certainly not for the faint-hearted. Having retired from fashion sometime ago, Westwood took her punk-like attitude and turned to political activism, choosing to partake in several protests with dedicating her most prolific activist work to free her 'best friend', Julian Assange. (Yes, this is also the woman who went on BBC news a couple of months ago to scream 'get me out of the cage' while looking directly down the barrel of her camera lens.)
'Don't buy a bomb', 'Don't buy a car' and 'Get a life' are all of Westwood's slogans that appear in her 10-minute campaign film Do Not Buy a Bomb, which will be screened in Piccadilly Circus and has been made in collaboration with Circa. Depicting Westwood performing a rewritten rendition of 'Without You' from My Fair Lady, the designer-turned-activist offers a stark warning of societal indifference to the looming environmental catastrophes, a cry against the arms trade and its link to climate change. In. the film, Westwood challenges audiences to 'Tell the children the truth'. Not specifying which truth that is, it seems Westwood cleverly highlights the brutality of Western governments and their use capitalism as a breeding ground for their despicable lies.
Artistic Director of CIRCA, Josef O'Connor touched upon Westwood's 'Long history of addressing issues including climate change civil liberties and nuclear disarmament' in a written statement, writing that '(Westwood) provokes others to think afresh and reflect or consider their own actions, we are honoured to provide a platform to this British icon on the Piccadilly Lights screen and celebrate her 80th Birthday in style.'
In a written message that appears in the film, Westwood says, 'have a plan 2 save the World. Capitalism is a war economy + war is the biggest polluter, therefore Stop War + change economy 2 fair distribution of wealth at the same time.' She encourages her audience to 'top arms production + that would halt climate change cc + financial Crash.' Explaining that, 'Long term, this will stop war…by talking U will support me in the fight. One day soon U will say the right thing 2 the right person at the right time, make a difference. I have always combined fashion with activism: the one helps the other. Maybe fashion can Stop War.' Although not the most complex of statements (that may or may not lack basic grammar here and there - believe us when we say this was intentional), Westwood has a fire inside her that many people don't have, instilling passion into all those around her to keep her own flame burning bright. Her statement is direct and snappy, and for that, we salute you Viv!
Although revolt is often acquainted with the young, Westwood has maintained her left-wing attitude and kindred passions with age, never failing to surprise, shock and amuse; her passionate rampages serve as inspirations for the young and a reminder that no matter how many priorities we have, our top one should always be to care for our climate. Westwood was a leader for her generation as much as she is for ours and for that reason alone, we'll certainly tune in to watch the film's premier in London's Piccadilly Circus on 8 April, 20:21 BST and we hope you will too!