Dame Vivienne Westwood is one of the global fashion industry’s true originals – a powerhouse of inspirational and radical design and polemic. Her immense influence on the contemporary British fashion industry and on decades of fashion students  is acknowledged and celebrated as Graduate Fashion Week welcomes her as a lifetime patron as part of its 25th Anniversary celebrations.

The announcement comes at the same time as the annual GFW Ethical Award is to be renamed The Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award – a competition open to all students and Graduate Fashion Week member universities with projects that have roots in ethics or sustainability.

“Buy less, choose well, make it last. If people bought only beautiful clothes that would be Climate Revolution. Let us cultivate talent.Thank you Jeff Banks, I am delighted to become a patron of Graduate Fashion Week and to create the Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award” Vivienne Westwood.

Vivienne is one of the most inspiring individuals in the British fashion industry. She proves that design talent, vision and commerce make for a great mix, and propagate strong ideas. Her work has influenced, and been worn and loved by, fashion students in the UK since the 1980s. She is a design genius – an icon of style and a national treasure. The way she developed her business, attracting the press, collaborators and investment, has created a template for generations of students. As her business continues to grow, without compromise, she is more exciting, inspiring and relevant than ever.”- Mark Newton-Jones, Chairman of Graduation Fashion Week.

Westwood’s support of environmental issues has become as much a motif of her contemporary work as punk and new romanticism was in her pioneering 1970s and 1980s collections.

Vivienne Westwood’s support of the Ethical Award signifies the importance and awareness of ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry today, and we are delighted to partner with them to support the next generation of designers”. - Tamsin Lejeune, Ethical Fashion Forum Founder and CEO.

The winner of the Vivienne Westwood Ethical Award in association with the Ethical Fashion Forum will receive an internship at Westwood’s studio in London – one of the most revered ateliers in the world, while a separate award of a year’s free membership to the Ethical Fashion Forum’s online platform will be awarded to the three top students in the competition, granting 12 months access to premium sustainable fashionable intelligence and information. The entries will be shortlisted by the Ethical Fashion Forum team and the final winner will be selected by Head of Couture, Brigitte Stepputis, and Tamsin Lejeune, CEO of the Ethical Fashion Forum. 

Photography: Juergen Teller

Photography: Juergen Teller