Updated: Mar 4
“If you can change you, you can perhaps change the world” - Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne, who was born on the 8th April 1941, is a fashion designer and businesswoman from the United Kingdom. She is well known for bringing ‘modern punk’ and ‘new wave’ fashion into the mainstream fashion world.
Vivienne took a jewellery and silversmith course at the University of Westminster, then known as the Harrow Art School, but left after one term. She said, "I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world". After taking up a job in a factory and studying at a teacher-training college, she became a primary school teacher. At this time, she created her own jewellery and sold it at a stall on Portobello Road.
She first made clothes in the 1960s for a boutique in west London which was owned by the musician Malcolm McLaren. Their ability to synthesise clothing and music shaped the 1970s UK punk scene which was dominated by the band McLaren managed, the well-known rock band, the Sex Pistols. This made Westwood’s designs more famous as the band were very popular.
Westwood opened four shops in London and eventually expanded throughout the United Kingdom and the world, selling an increasingly varied range of merchandise, some of which promoted her many political causes like climate change and racial equality.
Vivienne Westwood continues to run her businesses with 63 Westwood outlets worldwide, and Princess Eugenie wore 3 Westwood dresses at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding in 2011. She is also an author of a number of books, such as ‘Fashion in art: The Second Empire and Impressionism’, in which she explores the worlds of fashion and art and links between them. She was awarded an OBE in 1992 by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, and a DBE in 2006 for ‘services to fashion’.
“Confidence is the best fashion accessory” - Vivienne Westwood