Clothes and food are too cheap in Britain, says Vivienne Westwood

Controversial fashion designer says prices of products do not reflect their true impact on environment

Clothes and food should cost much more than they do in Britain to reflect their true impact on the environment, Vivienne Westwood said on Wednesday night.

Speaking at a Guardian Live event at Chelsea Old Town Hall hosted by columnist Deborah Orr, the controversial fashion designer said: “Clothes should cost a lot more than they do – they are so subsidised.

“Food should cost most more too – you know something is wrong when you can buy a cooked chicken for £2. The world runs on debt and that’s why nothing costs what it should.”

Westwood’s stores in Paris display the motto: Buy less, choose well and make it last – but she has not yet brought the slogan to her UK outlets.

She told the audience of about 300 people that she wanted to reduce the size of her company, which employs 300 people, and its product range.

“I’m trying to pull the collection back to things I really like … I think this is the most environmental thing we can do … I only need to make the clothes I like. I have the money, so I don’t need to make things I don’t like.”

Westwood also declared that capitalism was over and that “austerity is just a cover-up for the Ponzi scheme”.

She added: “Capitalism is a war economy, it is there to suck everything up for the people with the most power … never trust the government – they never work for you. They work for this terrible machine system.”

There was a lack of talent among fashion students, Westwood argued: “There are a lot of people who are there just because that is what they want to be [fashion designers]. You can do anything and you can be what you want – that’s what fashion schools teach and it’s wrong.”

Powered by article was written by Sian Cain and Chris Johnston, for The Guardian on Thursday 16th October 2014 01.06 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010