Vivienne Westwood a former teacher who was introduced intothe creative industries by her late husband Malcom McLaren. Westwood is knownfor her true Britishness shown within each of the collections, along with bringingmodern punk into today’s mainstream fashion. Winning British Fashion Designer ofThe Year 3 times she also has under her belt being awarded an OBE in 1992 fromthe queen herself. Westwood’s first job working in a factory in Harrow is theopposite end of the spectrum to how she works now with luxury fashion, and saidhow she “lived in a part of the countrythat grew up in the industrial revolution” (1), which was far from London’s high life. The world she wasintroduced into by McLaren was a platform which she could express her creativefreedom and showcase the power of art onto a political landscape.
Herself andthen partner McLaren opened a shop on 430 king’s road in 1971, this started offwith selling records and followed with being full of Vivienne Westwood’sdesigns. ‘SEX’ was an important part of the punk movement in the 70s with McLaren creating the Sex Pistols in 1975,wearing her designs helped to shape the sex pistols identity along with othericonic music legends, which kick started the brand into recognition. The storesname has changed 5 times, being first called ‘Let it Rock’, then ‘too fast tolive too young to die’, ‘SEX’ ‘Seditionaries’ and reinvented to the current ‘WorldsEnd’. Always being ahead of the curve on fashion, as Jasper Conran said, ‘Viviennedoes as others follow” (2) and sometimes dictating it also, she showsfearlessness in her personality which expresses into her work along with herunconventional style sense. Westwood and McLaren were rebellions of their timeand not slightly interested in the fading fashion of the hippie movementpushing into the late 60s.
Inspired by the 50s music and clothing they began torecreate original teddy boy clothing to advance her tailoring techniques andwas showcased in their store ‘Let it Rock’. 1972 was when the tables turned to creatingfashion for the ‘Punk Rock’ era using zips, chains, safety pins, tartan andleather a style shift to fetishism biker clothing, which was rebranded withskulls and cross bones and changing their title for the second time. T-shirtswith provocative messages displayed across them was one of the reasons thebrand was prosecuted with an obscenity law and changed the brand name again in1974. This ‘Punk Rock’ trend was a key part of her timeline which transformedsexual fetishism into fashion, and was described as ‘rubber wear for the office'(3).
When the sex pistols collapsed,seen as they were the soul of the punk idea, they renamed the brand ‘Worlds End’and within the period of 1988-1992 it went from punk to ‘tatler’ girls. The inspirationfor this upper class clothing was the most important and influential HarrisTweed. The brands first collection launched in 1981 shown in Paris titled ‘Pirates’which the use of tartan is now synonymous with the brand.