Lily Cole and Vivienne Westwood at EJF event at Selfridges
Feb 13, 2014

Lily Cole and Vivienne Westwood at EJF event at Selfridges

By EJF Staff

EJF was delighted to take part in the Selfridges 'Festival of Imagination' last week, an inspiring series of events and talks, held in an exclusively-designed modern adaptation of an amphitheater by award-winning architect Rem Koolhaas. EJF Executive Director Steve Trent was joined by three inspiring women: Vivienne Westwood, Lily Cole (EJF Patron) and Lorna Tucker, who discussed the importance of creativity and the use of our imagination in the fight against climate change.

The event heralded the first public screening of the Red Shoes film, a collaboration between the three women in support of EJF’s No Place Like Home campaign for climate refugees. The event was an opportunity to discuss their inspiration behind the film and it's premise, which is an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's tale of 'The Red Shoes', reworked as metaphor for the dance of despair that climate refugees have to endure.

“The story is about this incredibly arrogant girl whose shoes are enchanted by a stranger, and she becomes trapped in a dance of the red shoes – she’ll die if she stops dancing. She goes through this terrible landscape getting torn with thorn bushes and there are storms starting to rage and everything. Eventually she gets her feet chopped off and that’s the only way she can get rid of the shoes. I just thought it was a brilliant metaphor for the people who have to leave their homes, they are trapped by their environment which is degrading them, maybe its the water or a terrible disaster, and they can't survive there anymore. There are different ways that people are being forced off their homeland now, just like animals, You have to go because to stay there is death." Vivienne Westwood for Dazed and Confused, December 2013

Vivienne Westwood and Lily Cole shared their experience of using their public profiles to highlight environmental and human rights issues that they are passionate about. For example, in 2013, Vivienne Westwood showcased EJF's ‘Postcards from the Frontlines’ project at her Spring Summer 2014 show, with Lily opening the event with a dance inspired by their 'Red Shoes' film.

Prompted by questions from the audience, Vivienne Westwood talked about her experience as a school teacher and her thoughts on how to engage young schoolchildren on combating climate change, and was joined by the other speakers in stressing the need to reduce our consumption of meat.

The event came to a close with all speakers agreeing that we should educate ourselves and do what we can as individuals before the audience were invited to take part in EJF’s ‘Postcards from the Frontlines’ project by sharing their thoughts about what home means to them on a postcard.

EJF would like to extend our thanks to Selfridges as well as our three panelists for taking part in the event.