Vivienne Westwood’s Impact

Vivienne Westwood impacted the punk scene and modern-day fashion in a number of ways. After her passing on December 29, the legacy she’s left behind is a lot to think about. She was an activist, creative, and an inspiration. 

Throughout her life she was creative. At a young age she loved school, she made embroidery, models, and eventually her own clothes. She studied fashion but didn’t like it, she wanted to make clothes, not draw them. She graduated with a diploma specializing in art, became a school teacher, not seeing any jobs for her, and taught for about five years. 

While her now ex-husband, Derek Westwood, scheduled gigs for The Who, Rolling Stones, and Bingo, Vivienne was talking to the bouncers and taking the money, giving her a front-row seat to the industry she would later have a huge impact on. Her brother’s friend, Malcolm McLaren, was a cosmopolitan, anti-establishment manager of the Sex Pistols, and helped her become the person she is today. 

They worked together, McLaren designing the shops, and decorating them, while Vivienne did graphics and prints, designed and made clothes, and invented the anarchy symbol. 

Let it Rock - Vivienne Westwood

They changed the name of their store every time they had a new collection, representing not only new clothes but new ideas. “LET IT ROCK!” was the name they started in 1971. Selling old records and secondhand clothing they deemed “rock n roll” copying fifties style clothes, having a tailor make Teddy Boy suits, clothes consisting of brothel creepers, bootlace ties, and fluorescent socks.

Worlds End ร้านพังค์ของ Vivienne Westwood ที่สั่นสะเทือนสังคมและเปลี่ยนแปลงไม่สิ้นสุด

Two years later the store was rebranded as “TOO FAST TO LIVE TOO YOUNG TO DIE” This collection was inspired by rockers. Clothing incorporated leather, studs, chains, and badges.

Just a year later the new collection came out, “SEX.” Rubber wear, cuts, holes, rips, a seductiveVivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren's fetish store| Dada Magazine | Kids of Dada clothing line overall. 

Three years later the new collection “SEDITIONARIES” came out. Working with McLaren, while he was managing the Sex Pistols, made Vivienne their stylist. Sex Pistols represented 70s punk, and Vivienne created clothes for the look and ideologies of punk. The clothing in this collection was focused on anarchy. A swastika with the word destroy printed over it, Overlapping prints, sleeves that were too long, cuts on the shoulders, and clothes that represented the ideals of punk. “Only anarchists are pretty” printed on a shirt with multiple materials, patches, and designs. One of her most influential collections yet. Shirt Sex & Seditionaries by Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm Mclaren White size M International in Cotton - 27509517Shirt Sex & Seditionaries by Vivienne Westwood & Malcolm Mclaren White size M International in Cotton - 27509404

The fall of punk came in 1979 with the death of Sex Pistols member Sid Vicious. Vivienne was now focusing on romantics, which we see in her first catwalk collection “Pirates.” The store was once again rebranded to “Worlds End” which has been the name to this day. Slowly working farther apart from McLaren, she copied historical cuts, and asymmetrical cuts, she was never inspired by modern fashion. The Story So Far - Vivienne Westwood

 Her designs inspired a number of designers in the 21st century. Her impact on not only fashion but culture as well is astonishing. Playing such a huge role in crafting punk and the clothes we wear today.  Everything she did was motivated by her anti-establishment views. She’s without a doubt a legend, and her work as not only a designer but an activist, won’t be forgotten. And as she states in her autobiography: “It was all about smashing the values. All the taboos of a world that was so cruel; and unjust, mismanaged and corrupt”.

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