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The Godmother of Punk: Dame Vivienne Westwood

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“This woman was once a punk”
Remembering Dame Vivienne Westwood “the undisputed Queen of fashion”.

One of Britain’s most celebrated designers, blending historical references, classic tailoring and romantic flourishes with harder edged and overtly political messages, Vivienne Westwood was known not just for fashion but as a determined social justice and environmental campaigner.

A self-taught designer with no formal fashion training, Westwood learned how to make clothes as a teenager by following patterns and by taking apart secondhand clothes she found at markets in order to understand the cut and construction.

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Vivienne Westwood, portrait, London, 1982. (Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

 

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Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood poses with models during the Vivienne Westwood Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 1996/97 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 15, 1996 in Paris, France.(Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Sygma via Getty Images)

 

In the mid 2000s, Westwood turned her focus towards the climate crisis, publishing the manifesto titled Active Resistance to Propaganda, in which she wrote: “We have a choice: to become more cultivated, and therefore more human – or by not choosing, to be the destructive and self-destroying animal, the victim of our own cleverness (To be or not to be).”

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LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 15: Dame Vivienne Westwood arrives with models in the #INEOSVTHEPEOPLE catwalk presentation outside INEOS headquarters in Hans Crescent on February 15, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Ki Price/Getty Images)

 

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OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 01: In this image released on December 2nd, Dame Vivienne Westwood speaks during BoF VOICES 2021 at Soho Farmhouse on December 01, 2021 in Oxfordshire, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)

 

As an anti-consumerist, Westwood gleefully undermined her own business interests stating “I just tell people, stop buying clothes. Why not protect this gift of life while we have it? I don’t take the attitude that destruction is inevitable. Some of us would like to stop that and help people survive.”

Dame Vivienne Westwood was a truly revolutionary force, her rebellious punk style rewriting the rule book over and over again, but always staying true to her values.

 

8 April 1941 – 29 December 2022

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ROME, ITALY – JULY 17: British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, attends the High Fashion Fall – Winter 1996/97 ‘Donna Sotto Le Stelle’ (Women Under The Stars) show at the steps of Trinita dei Monti on July 17, 1996 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

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