Vivienne Westwood, fashion designer and inspiration to fashionistas everywhere has really dipped below the belt. Westwood's menswear fashion show in Milan this last week featured men in overly priced clothes acting as homeless men. Some carried bedrolls, some were "sleeping" in cardboard boxes, some pushed carts and carried plastic bags. Men were seen wearing what appeared to be makeup that looked like frostbite and walked up and down a runway covered in cardboard boxes.
The Times online writes:
Last night the press release for Westwood’s menswear collection, for Milan Fashion Week, declared: “Perhaps the oddest of heroes to emerge this season, Vivienne Westwood found inspiration in the roving vagrant whose daily get-up is a battle gear for the harsh weather conditions . . . Quilted bombers and snug hoodies also work well in keeping the vagrant warm.”
Yes, because as Westwood would clearly understand, those quilted bomber jackets she makes for ridiculous prices would be the first thing that so called vagrant would wear...not clothes that they picked up at say Salvation Army for free or dug out of a garbage can because they have no other choice.
The Times also adds,
Westwood conceded that she herself had no experience of being homeless. “The nearest I have come to it is going home and finding I don’t have my door key,” she said. “I mean, what a disaster that is, dying to get in your house and you can’t. And what if it wasn’t there any more?”
Good point Vivienne, you're really on to something there. Lets capitalize on it shall we?
Homeless people are not a fashion statement, they are our fellow human beings, moms, dads, sons and daughters and they need help; if you find this so inspiring why don't you go volunteer at your local soup kitchen, or donate all the money you make from this free inspiration to a homeless cause, instead of make a hoodie and play with the "fun" theme of “like they were sleeping rough and they’d got frost in their hair”? I feel that using the suffering of others to make money is not inspiring, it's just plain cruel. I have lived in downtown Sacramento for a while now, somewhere that has had national coverage recently on the homeless epidemic. I see these men and women, sometimes even children every day and they are suffering. They sleep in bushes and under overhangs that smell like urine; they get harrassed by sh*t punks all the time, and it certainly does not look like a fashion show to me.
Based on the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) released by HUD in July 2009:
Nearly 1.6 million people use emergency or transitional housing programs over the course of a year; and
On a given night, approximately 664,000 people are homeless. Of those:
More than 124,000 are chronically homeless;
36.5 percent are chronic substance abusers;
26.3 percent are severely mentally ill; and
About 15 percent are veterans.