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Political Style: Vivienne Westwood launches anti-fracking clothing collection

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Vivienne Westwood has launched an a political clothing collection designed to be worn by either men or women.

The British designer has launched a unisex clothing line for AW14 featuring political statements, including those on fracking. The clothing range will feature anti-fracking illustrations, jungle prints and slogans with statements including ‘"What’s good for the planet, is good for the economy, what’s bad for the planet is bad for the economy."

Westwood is a well-known political activist and has campaigned on a range of political issues. In fact, last year she dedicated her spring/summer 2014 menswear collection to Bradley Manning and sent models down the runway wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his image and the words 'truth' underneath.

But is this an appropriate way to get a political message across? Does politics belong in the fashion world?

For years now, fashion has played a symbolic as well as practical role. From army uniforms to the punk uniform of the 70s, to a nun’s habit, right through to big moments like burkha sellers selling clothing in bright colours after the fall of the Taliban, what someone wears has been a way of communicating a message to the rest of the world: be it their beliefs, affiliations of social status (Ralph Lauren polo shirts anyone?)

Of course, you see many people on the high street wearing a such an item because its cool, and not because they believe in it. The messages about worthy causes or political statements become hollow catwalk trends, and are no sooner 'on trend' until they are out of fashion again - though that is quite fitting of the fashion industry.

While many designers hop on a political bandwagon for brand recognition, it's clear that this is not the case for Westwood. From appearing on the cover of Tatler dressed as then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (wearing a suit she had made for Mrs Thatcher but had not yet delivered), her campaigns for Nuclear Disarmament and now her line with anti-fracking slogans, you cannot say that she shies away from controversy or is afraid to put 100% into the causes she believes in.

What do you think - is the catwalk the right place for political messages?

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