LONDON — Few designers so consistently mix fashion with politics, or manage to secure her fans' adoration with the same looks almost every season. But Vivienne Westwood is not any designer.
The flame-haired grand dame of British fashion on Sunday sent her models marching down the catwalk in her signature tight-fitting dresses and nipped-in jackets, then in the finale joined them wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a giant image of her own face and a slogan that reads "I'm Julian Assange."
Westwood, 71, has been selling the Assange T-shirts to raise funds and support for the WikiLeaks founder, who is living in Ecuador's embassy in London and trying to avoid extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault questions. The designer recently wore the shirt when she visited Assange in October.
As always, Westwood was less interested in talking about her designs than about climate change, a subject she has long campaigned about.
"There's no latest thing, it's all rubbish," she said, brushing off questions about fashion. Instead, she patiently explained to reporters why she feels so passionately about her climate change campaign.
"Every small thing you do can really change your life," she said. "And the first thing they must do is inform themselves, believe the scientists ... then they'll stop being consumers and start being more interested in the world."