Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Vivienne Westwood.. A Rebellious Legend..
Choosing an Important figure in the Fashion Industry in the UK isn't a very easy task, but when i started reading about Vivienne Westwood and how she created and introduced the Punk Fashion I was amazed and proud that a lady did that and she was successful ...
Vivienne Westwood is one of the British most known and appreciated fashion designers nowadays. She has been in the fashion industry for more than three decades, she added a lot to the fashion world, new concepts, ideas and way of interpreting fashion. Vivienne Westwood certainly is a fashion legend. Westwood has always been credited for the creation of “Punk Fashion”, because of how she presented punk style to the public and made it a fashion statement.
She grew up having a unique taste of clothing and a love for arts. As a teenager she made most of her clothes, and she customized her school’s uniform to go along with the fashion trends, by her way of dressing I think Vivienne Westwood made a statement that she will be a part of the fashion world, although she didn’t really realize it until later.
Furthermore, she started her university life by joining the Harrow School of Art, following her interests and studying what she really liked. Later she attended the University of Westminster for one term, and then Middlesex University. However, Vivienne didn’t really get into the fashion and art world after she graduated, instead she worked as a primary school teacher and this how she earned money.
But after she met Life/ Business partner Malcolm McLaren her life totally changed. McLaren had just opened his shop selling Rock and Roll gear, and Vivienne started designing clothes for the shop. Her designs reflected the turmoil of those rebellious times. Also, introducing the punk fashion meant that she was mirroring the social movements and groups that existed and still exist in the United Kingdom, as the punks were some kind of a popular social group. After that, Westwood and McLaren got into everything in fashion, clothing, shoes, jewelry, perfumes, underwear and all sorts of things. Moreover, this might have made them weird since they started all this in the 1970’s when people were partially conservative and not as open-minded as now, and that makes it hard for Vivienne’s designs to be accepted. But! They had faith in what they were doing and so in 1975 they opened the first punk clothing shop in London “Seditionaries”. They were presenting their fashion as the modern 70’s look. In 1981, Westwood showed her first seminal collection in London, and she called it “Pirate”. That collection was a success and it pushed her even further in the competitive world of fashion. Westwood made a huge movement in the fashion industry with her collections and stunning shows. Her wild fashion shows affected the show styles of the other designers.
After that, Westwood kept on expanding as she opened a new shop called “Nostalgia of Mud”, and it consisted of wild and unique fashion pieces like torn t-shirts, bras worn outside disheveled clothing and many more.
Unfortunately, Westwood and McLaren came to an end, but Vivienne kept on going and she didn’t stop. Westwood had goals and love for the fashion more than anything else and that was motivating her. She came up with a new collection called “the witches” in summer 1983, and that was the first time for her to be completely independent. Vivienne was away from the fashion world for a few seasons, but she came back after that powerfully with new concepts and new outrageous designs. Then in the 1990’s she was known as the Queen of Punk.
Success leads to another, Vivienne Westwood continued being creative and satisfying her customers, and in 1990 she decided to expand her customer’s circle and attract more people, and so she launched a menswear collection in Florence. Following that, in 1990 and 1991 she was named British Designer of The Year! In addition, in 1998 Westwood won the Queen’s Export Award. Many more successes followed until recently in 2007 she was awarded for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Design at the BFA.
I personally find Vivienne Westwood a very important and interesting figure in the fashion world as she added and created so much for fashion. Alongside to her unique fashion, she had unique aims, she once said, “ My aim is to make the poor look rich and the rich look poor”. Furthermore, the way she developed and expanded shows how clever she was and although she had to go in separate ways with McLaren she remained strong and got even more successful and went international. Vivienne Westwood’s rebellious nature influenced everyone especially other fashion designers and so she opened the door for everyone to be innovative and to be unique.
Westwood thinks being dressed very nicely and formally is boring, people have to be unique to be noticed and to feel special. She believes that the way people dress can change the way they think about themselves, and she has a faith in fashion being a personal propaganda and that it manipulates how people direct their social, education and work lives.