Tomorrow night fashion’s favourite environmentalist, Dame Vivienne Westwood, will co-host a one-night-only event with fellow activist and designer Joe Corré to raise awareness for We Need To Talk About Fracking,
The event, set to take place at iCan Studios, will see the worlds of fashion and music collide, Westwood will discuss her politically charged campaign both on and off the catwalk, alongside a top-notch programme of performances and sets from entertainers, cabaret superstars and DJs.
There will even be a chance to win your very own Westwood bag and a signed copy of the legendary maverick’s forthcoming biography in a designer raffle, or why not embrace eco fashion via the “Trashion Show” of recycled garments modelled by East London’s alternative drag scene?
Ahead of the event, we caught up with Corré to talk political fashion, Vivienne Westwood, and why it’s important to fight fracking.
What are the aims of ‘Fracking Hell…I’m Handsome’? What do you hope people take away from the event?
We are working on a number of initiatives to create awareness around the issues of fracking in the UK. The true effects of this industry will start to show themselves ten years from now when it will be far too late to do anything about them. People need to inform themselves now about the facts so they can make a decision at the ballot box in the upcoming election because the current government has no democratic mandate to be pushing fracking through.
Why did you feel like this was a particularly appropriate way to raise awareness?
We are reaching out to as many sections of the community as possible. Fracking is set to roll out over 65% of the UK landmass including Croydon & Streatham in London, this is going to effect everyone so we have to inform ourselves.
Are you hoping to inspire others to host similar events?
A year ago there were probably three or four anti-fracking groups around the country, today there are over 250 – people are waking up to the fact it is happening on their doorstep. The more people inform themselves about it, the more shocked they become and realise they have to do something and get involved.
For those who might not know, can you explain why the issue of fracking is such an important one now?
We are in the last chance saloon with regard to being able to halt catastrophic climate change. All the world’s top scientists agree on that. They say that out of all the known conventional reserves of fossil fuels oil, gas and coal, 80% of it has to stay in the ground in order to stop a two degree rise in global temperatures. If we don’t stop the temperature rising by two degrees then we will have a snowball effect of runaway climate change that we will be powerless to stop. If this happens, you can draw a horizontal line around the planet in line with Paris, everywhere under that line will be uninhabitable. Fracking more fossil fuels is just plain crazy! However the fossil fuel industry has trillions of pounds invested in extracting and burning the world’s reserves of fossil fuels, the American economy is inextricably linked to that via the Petrodollar and most people’s pension funds are invested in this Ponzi Scheme where the investment can never be realised unless we destroy the planet. This has to change.
We can have a renewable energy-based economy. Germany is already doing it. Interestingly the Rockerfellers have just announced they are withdrawing all their investment from fossil fuels which is where they made all their money from in the first place. The writing is on the wall and we have to act now, but the government is only listening to the extremely well resourced lobby from the fossil fuel industry. This has to stop, we have to use our democracy to do that, we have to organise ourselves and defeat them.
One thing everyone can do is change their energy supplier to a green one like Ecotricity or Good Energy. By the way, if you are on a key meter the Green Energy companies are the cheapest. Some of the other side effects of fracking that are now emerging from the USA and Australia are the following; serious health issues including clusters of rare brain cancers around fracking sites. Numerous intestinal diseases, nausea, vomiting and nose bleeds, stunted child development, miscarriages. Wildlife and livestock death and disease. Destruction and poisoning of local environment and water supplies, collapse in property values creating misery and poverty to name a few.
What role do you think fashion has to play in political activism? Is it an effective means of political expression?
We have to start somewhere and if we work in fashion then we start there. What you wear, where you choose to buy it, if you choose to create or make your own clothes, what you eat, what you dispose of, how you dispose, basically everytime you buy something you make a choice. The choice collectively can make a huge difference and can be a very powerful thing.
Do you think that fashion today should be more political?
It’s only interesting if it is political, or are we really saying this season’s silhouettes are more important?
The concerns over fracking are principally environmental. Should the fashion industry itself change to become more environmentally friendly?
[Dame] Vivienne Westwood has long been a pioneer of protest fashion; to what extent did she inspire you in early life to take up similar causes?
I guess it’s what I’ve grown up with however it is really up to the individual to decide to make a stand about something or not, regardless of who or what your influences are. I grew up with a healthy mistrust of government, which has made me sceptical of what I hear and read in the media. It has encouraged me to delve further into the propaganda and spin so I can ascertain the facts and make an informed decision about what is really going on.
There are so many issues that need more attention from society but it’s impossible, especially when you are running a business (e.g. in fashion), to devote time to all of them. Does this concern you? How do you decide what to spend your time on and in turn to encourage others to do so?
We all lead busy and distracted lives and it is difficult to know what to do about all the political, environmental and humanitarian issues that face us every day. I believe the government and the corporations who pull the strings are happy for us to be distracted. In fact I believe that most of the time they create the distractions. This is so that we don’t look at what they are really up to behind the distraction and object to it. For example the current issue with Islamic state which is an army actually created by the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar that we are now apparently at war with! You can check this out for yourself with Reuters who have reported on the information leaked from Jordanian intelligence and see the pictures of a US Senator shaking hands with I.S. leadership. Many people I talk to are very aware of these issues and no longer trust the mainstream media for these reasons. As I said before, we make choices all the time of how we lead our lives, and where we spend our money. We have a democratic system that could work for us if we use it. If we don’t then we will lose it! That is the message.
Fracking Hell will take place at iCan Studios, 35 Monier Road, E3 2PR on Saturday 4th October, 9pm – 6am. Click here to buy tickets.