At Pitti Immagine, one of the largest fashion trade shows in Florence, Dame Vivienne Westwood debuted her second Ethical Fashion Africa Collection in partnership with the International Trade Centre. The first, back in February, was a small offering of three tote bags, but for her sophomore effort she came back with a fuller collection of totes, handbags, duffles and key chains. Though she says of Africa, “I’ve never been before, [and] I shall probably never go again … ,” she appears to be getting a lot accomplished in this one shot.
All of the products are created from 100% recycled materials, including old safari tents, roadside advertisement banners and electrical wiring. The bags are handmade in Nairobi, Kenya by the same marginalized people (single mothers, widows, HIV/AIDS victims) who this effort seeks to benefit. The rugged, outdoors vibe of the bags’ original materials shines through in the final design, with canvas tans and browns forming the base for the majority of the bags. Screenprinted logos and text heighten the well-traveled luggage aesthetic.
The bags’ designs still fit perfectly into the Westwood mold; they’d look right at home hanging beside pirate squiggle shirts and alien jackets at her World’s End shop on Kings Road. The bold graphics utilize the designer’s signature iconography: eagles, monkeys, clocks, the slogans “Too Fast To Live, Too Young to Die” and “Let it Rock” as well as her iconic orb emblem, of course. The bags have a fun, pop-ethnic feel and a reasonable price point ($49-$339), given that they’re not factory-produced.
Westwood’s African adventure, embarked with her husband Andreas Kronthaler, is part of their continuing effort to stop climate change and rescue the planet. Save for the plane ride over from the UK, the operation seems fully green, and even more beneficent is the employment of some 7,000 women who would otherwise be jobless. “It’s incredible to think you might save the world through fashion,” the designer muses on the project. Surprisingly enough, in this case, the grand statement might actually have a grain of truth to it.
It’s easy to be critical of these charity fashion enterprises, but given that the World Trade Organization and the United Nations back it, everything seems legit. It’s hard to believe that these bags will save the melting Kilimanjaro, but it’s probably one of the more ethical charity projects the fashion world has seen. “It’s not charity, it’s work,” she confirms. And it’s not just sloganeering t-shirts, either.
Our favorite US shows of 2021, brought to you by the writers and editors of Hyperallergic.
Naito’s Op-inspired abstractions might have been an oblique way of dealing with feelings of displacement after moving to the United States.
BIENALSUR, the International Biennial of Contemporary Art of the South, has returned to Saudi Arabia for an exhibition presenting more than 20 international artists, including Filwa Nazer, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Tony Oursler.
Braque’s paintings speak of self-containment, of a quietly impassioned, ongoing dedication to the task at hand.
In Amber Robles-Gordon’s artwork, the borders between states matter less than the overlapping territories of self, the never-ending negotiation of identity.
Schulte seems at once focused and restless, determined and open.
The archive kicks off an initiative by the Met Museum and the Studio Museum to conserve and digitize his works, and research the context of his photographs, his singular photographic techniques, and his life.
On view in Abu Dhabi until February 5, 2022, the paintings and sculptures in Modernisms shed new light on artists like Parviz Tanavoli, Fahrelnissa Zeid, and M.F. Husain.
In 1996, Nez Perce Tribe members had to fundraise hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the Ohio History Connection to secure artifacts that were rightfully theirs.
Andrew McCarthy used a modified telescope to take over 150,000 images of the sun, combining them to create the stunningly crisp photo.
The city brought shows to life that will be talked about for years to come.