Punk icon Vivienne Westwood hails 'wonderful' Corbyn

LONDON: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn's success in last week's general election is a signal of hope for Britain, rebel fashion designer Vivienne Westwood told AFP on Monday at the launch of her latest collection.

Corbyn's Labour Party came second in the parliamentary race but with a large increase in seats, while Prime Minister Theresa May's ruling Conservatives lost ground after calling the snap election in a bid to increase her majority.

"This is wonderful. He really gives us hope," the 76-year-old Westwood, a founder of the punk movement in the 1970s, said of Corbyn, speaking shortly before her label's catwalk show at Men's Fashion Week.

"I do belive that it's the only party that is a strong opposition and they've got it right," she said.

She called Labour's leftist manifesto "brilliant" and underlined 68-year-old Corbyn's appeal to a younger generation inspired by his firebrand politics.

"The main thing to realise is young people voted for him. Jeremy Corbyn won the future," she said.

Thursday's election saw a surge in youth turnout, mainly fuelled by last year's shock Brexit vote.

Westwood is well known for her campaigns, particularly on environmental and social issues.

In 2015, she rode an armoured vehicle to then prime minister David Cameron's constituency home near Oxford in a bizarre protest against fracking.

Later that year she transformed the catwalk into a protest march, blending style with politics and sharp tailoring with anti-austerity placards.

Last year she joined a junior doctors' pay protest.

She is also an outspoken supporter of WikiLeaks founder and digital rights campaigner Julian Assange.

She is as outspoken in her designs as she is in her politics and her collection on Monday used recycled materials – including sandals made of plastic water bottles in a statement against pollution.

"It's against plastic because plastic in the ocean is probably the worst polluter in the world," she said. — AFP