Hallo my students, today I would like to propose to you the reading of this article about a very famous fashion designer, 100% British. I’m talking about Vivienne Westwood. Enjoy it 🙂
Vivienne Isabel Westwood is a British fashion designer and businesswoman, largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashions into the mainstream, she’s a true living legend.
Westwood came to public notice when she made clothes for Malcolm McLaren’s boutique on the King’s Road, London, which became famous as “SEX“. It was their ability to synthesize clothing and music that shaped the 1970s UK punk scene. She was deeply inspired by the shock-value of punk—”seeing if one could put a spoke in the system”.
Westwood went on to open four shops in London, eventually expanding throughout the United Kingdom and the world, selling an increasingly varied range of merchandise, some of it linked to her many political causes such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, climate change and civil rights.
Westwood was the designer who often let her clothes speak for themselves, as independent designs and as her own statements of culture. This idea that she uses her clothing as a statement of her own is a constant motif throughout her time as a designer.
Vivienne Westwood has always been a mass of contradictions. She hates, with an unswerving passion and excess. Yet she has built a fashion empire. Ask her what she would like to change in the world and she says: “I would get rid of advertising. Consumption is the biggest propaganda. It’s ruined the world.” Yet she herself devises beautiful ad campaigns, with pictures by superstar photographer Jürgen Teller.
Westwood has always been this way. Her clothes are not just pieces of cleverly draped and reconstructed fabric, they are statements. She wants to make women feel powerful, not just want to be thin.
Fiercely independent and self-sufficient, she now leaves the designing of the main collection to her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, while she concentrates on her activism. “I’m proud to be called an activist,” she says. “I have a lifetime of ideas about how to make the world a better place. I’m always worried. I wake up in the middle of the night. But it’s good because I sort things out. It’s been a build-up, having this public face and the opportunity to speak.”
Vivienne Westwood has written a personal memoir, collaborating with the biographer Ian Kelly, to describe the events, people and ideas that have shaped her extraordinary life.