Vivienne Westwood is outspoken. It’s no surprise when the British designer says something shocking or off-color. But the fashion icon went a bit too far on Sunday when she said Americans “are the ultimate terrorists” and President Barack Obama is “a creep” in an interview with the U.K.’s Metro.
The shocking comments came after her Spring 2014 Red Label show during London Fashion Week, which the designer opened with an interpretive modern dance by model Lily Cole. The designer told Associated Press the theme of the show was to highlight her concerns about climate change in an allusion to Hans Christian Anderson’s Danish fable “The Red Shoes,” in which a dancer is stuck in her red shoes. Westwood said humans are the dancer and destruction is the red shoes.
"I just use fashion as an excuse to talk about politics," she told AP of her fusion of activism and fashion. "Because I'm a fashion designer, it gives me a voice, which is really good."
But in a separate interview with British tabloid newspaper Metro, Westwood made inflammatory remarks about America’s hand in global politics and conflicts, specifically recent events in Syria.
“No one can say what to do in Syria and I certainly can’t. Everyone can say where the original source of the problem comes from, and it’s American involvement in everything bad in the world for their own interests,” she said. “They’ve got the greatest war machine in the world; they do what they want. If they tell us there are all these terrorists, we believe them. They don’t stop and think, ‘Well, maybe we’re the worst terrorists – don’t do that.’ They’ve got nothing to give us and they are so destructive.”
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The designer went on to call President Obama “a creep.”
When asked if she was anti-American, Westwood said, “Absolutely anti-American. They’re the scourge of the Earth. I’m not the only one, either, because so many journalists are now saying that they are the ultimate terrorists, the Americans.”
At the close of her show Sunday, Westwood continued her political rant, appealing to her audience to sign a climate-change postcard addressed to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. While some obliged Westwood, AP reporter Sylvia Hui overheard a show attendee say, "This is getting really awkward.”
The designer also told The Telegraph that “poor people” should “buy less” or not spend so much money on clothes.
"Buy less. Choose well. Make it last. Quality, not quantity. Everybody's buying far too many clothes,” she said. “I hate having too many clothes. And I think that poor people should be even more careful.”
Westwood went on to give shopping tips, adding, “People should invest in the world. Don't invest in fashion, but invest in the world."
Of course, this isn't the first time Westwood has made headlines for her activism. For the Fall 2013 season, she campaigned for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange in her catwalk show. Most recently, she was “denied her punk moment,” in the words of New York Magazine’s The Cut, when she championed the cause of Bradley Manning.