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DYK? Vivienne Westwood Was a Punk Before She Became a Fashion Icon

Fashion legend, Dame Vivienne Westwood, has courted controversy over her decades-long reign as a fashion icon. She’s been creating trends, upsetting the more conservative minded, and leading the

vanguard for sustainable fashion. Her 2019 spring collection was shown by video and digital lookbook, and is not only a testament to her sustainable fashion but her desire to push us all out of our comfort zones.

Over her 40-year career, Westwood has arguably done more for fashion and popular culture than many a designer.

Here are a few things that you might not have known about this bold print, and colour, loving icon:

She helped create the punk movement.

Westwood not only dressed the infamous punk band, the Sex Pistols, but the band members were all her customers. Johnny Rotten and crew all frequented Westwood’s and her partner of the time, Malcolm McLaren’s shop.

Westwood and McLaren’s London shop was called Sex.

Their King’s Road shop was once called Sex – they’d change the name to match the current clothes that they were selling.

She was a school teacher. Yes, really.

Before she was the Priestess of Punk, Westwood taught primary school. She stopped teaching after meeting McLaren.

Westwood collected her OBE without wearing knickers.

Yup, that’s right. She received the honourable Order of the British Empire, and met the Queen, sans panties.

She’s a vegetarian.

Westwood is a stout environmentalist and activist, famously shaving her head to promote climate change. Her belief in living sustainably not only extends to her fashion line, but to her personal life. She gave up eating meat, due to the amount of water used by the beef industry.

The Romantic movement of the 1980s? Westwood was responsible for that too.

Not content to be seen as just a token rebel, Westwood’s first show in Paris, called Pirates, ushered in the New Romantic Movement.

Anarchic, rebel, icon, activist. These are all words that describe one of the most influential women of our times. At the age of 78, Westwood is still very much a punk at heart today as she was during the 1970s.

Watch the documentary called Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist on the DStv Now app. The app is basically the online version of your DStv. There are all the same channels you have on your decoder, except you can watch on your phone or laptop while you’re midnight-snacking in bed or having a lazy Sunday.


Written by How South Africa

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