Vivienne Westwood’s legacy continues

Photo by Jiroe (Matia Rengel) on Unsplash

By Divine Hanna

December 29, 2022 marked a day of sorrow in the fashion community when Vivienne Westwood passed away surrounded by family and loved ones in London. Fans of the fashion designer paid tribute to Westwood outside her stores around the world. Although these locations have closed until further notice, there are bouquets of flowers, candles, and posters in respect for Westwood. 

Fashion designer and punk icon. Westwood paved the way for edgy fashion in England and the rest of the world since the 1960s. She made an incredible name for herself through her clothing designs and accessories that are cherished by people worldwide. She even contributed to environmentally friendly fashion to help combat climate change. 

Although she will be dearly missed, the legacy she has led on will continue forever. Starting at the age of 30, Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren, the manager for the Sex Pistols, opened her first store, SEX, in London. Selling teddy-inspired fashion of the 1950s and “fetish wear,” this store gained recognition for being unconventional and taboo. 

After her first store’s success, Westwood opened up an additional four locations in London and began designing clothing under her own name. Influenced by rock and roll and punk-English bands specifically, her androgynous style changed the game of fashion.

Within a matter of years, Westwood became the mother of punk era in fashion. From fishnets to corset style dresses and tops, the name of Vivienne Westwood rapidly gained global influence. The 1990s UK punk scene saw Westwood’s involvement with the Sex Pistols, where she combined music and fashion. The saturn orb logo became synonymous with Vivienne Westwood.

In recent years, Westwood’s pearl necklace has become extremely popular in Gen Z fashion. As with most fashion trends, dupes of this necklace have been sold everywhere. This genderfluid accessory looks chic and elegant at first, but can be styled in much more edgy ways, just as its designer intended. Westwood’s “rebirth” in the teen world matched the grunge style in our current generation well.

Alongside curating pieces based on music, Westwood was an extreme activist. She supported NGOs, grassroot charities and campaigns such as Amnesty International, War Child and Liberty. She launched her own campaigning movement called Climate Revolution, where she raised awareness about climate change through fashion and more. She has designed several campaigns and collections that illustrate the importance of the current environmental state. Westwood used her platform to influence her fans and followers. 

From runway looks to streetwear to wedding dresses, Vivienne Westwood has done it all. Her legacy will last forever.