Vivienne Westwood: Dead at 81


british vogue

vivienne westwood in british vogue

By Alyssa Tomporowski, Staff writer

Vivienne Westwood was a fashion icon and designer who paved the way for the alt-punk scene for more than 50 years. Westwood brought the modern punk style into mainstream, high-end fashion. She shaped the punk scene in the 70s by using her dramatic style to bring focus to political and environmental causes. She fought against climate change, for civil and political rights, and campaigned for nuclear disarmament.

Westwood was born in Tintwistle, Cheshire, on April 8th, 1941. Westwood had originally taken a jewelry and silversmith course at the University of Westminster, however, she dropped it after one semester. After that, she took a job in a factory and studied in college to become a teacher. During this time, she made and sold her own jewelry.

In 1962 she married Derrek Westwood, and at the wedding, she wore a wedding dress of her own design. She had her son Benjamin in 1963. She eventually left Westwood for Malcolm McLaren, with who she had another son, Joseph, in 1967. In 1971, McLaren became the manager of the punk band Sex Pistols. Because of this, Westwood would stop teaching and began to make clothing for the band to wear which brought popularity to her designs.

Chloe Widita, a sophomore student, is not a big fashion fan. “I don’t follow fashion, I don’t know the high-end, expensive brands. It doesn’t matter that much to me. I remember hearing about Vivienne Westwood, I don’t understand why her designs were so important but a lot of people seem really sad about her death.”

Vivienne Westwood was very passionate about her political involvement. She was a member of the Green party and spoke up often about it. She cut her hair off to speak out against climate change, appeared in a PETA ad, and became an ambassador for the clean energy crowdfunding platform Trillion Fund.

Westwood has been memorated on the Vivienne Westwood website. She’s quoted saying, “Capitalism is a crime. It is the root cause of war, climate change, and corruption,” and “Stop climate change. This is a war for the very existence of the human race. And that of the planet. The most important weapon we have is public opinion, become a freedom fighter.”

Vivienne Westwood was an iconic name in fashion for many years. She made progress towards important causes like climate change and PETA and is an advocate for many environmental efforts. Westwood helped developed the alt-punk community and changed high-end fashion forever.