Vivienne Westwood: The Creator of Punk

Vivienne Westwood revolutionized fashion and the punk movement forever.


Seth Whales, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

An iconic Vivienne Westwood store filled with Westwood’s unique and creative designs.

 According to Wikipedia, Dame Vivienne Isabel Westwood was born on April 8, 1941, in Tintwistle, High Peak, Derbyshire, to Gordan and Dora Swire. In 1958, the Swire family moved to Harrow, Middlesex, where Westwood took a jewelry and silversmith course at the University of Westminster. Westwood eventually began working in a factory and became a primary school teacher shortly after. In 1962, Westwood met Derek Westwood, and they married on July 21, 1962, where Westwood made her wedding dress. Later, in 1963, the Westwood’s had their first child, Benjamin Westwood. Eventually, Vivienne and Derek’s marriage ended after three years when she met Malcolm McLaren, with whom she had her second child, Joseph Corré, in 1967.

Westwood created clothes that McLaren designed. In 1971, McLaren opened a boutique filled with Westwood’s designs and vital for the punk movement. McLaren became the manager of the punk band, the Sex Pistols, who wore Westwood and McLaren’s designs.

After working alongside the Sex Pistols, Westwood released her Pirate collection and was consistently ahead of her times regarding fashion. Westwood is ambitious in her approach, not only to style but her work. Once, she imitated Margot Thatcher on a British magazine cover by wearing a suit Thatcher had ordered but not worn yet.

Westwood’s straightforward approach has earned her the title of British designer of the year twice and being awarded the O.B.E., Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 1992. That same year, Westwood married for the second time to her assistant, Andreas Kronthaler, who is now her design partner.

In 2008, Westwood’s designs were featured in the infamous show Sex in the City, where Carrie is gifted a Westwood dress with a handwritten note from Westwood. She is also a co-author of the novel Fashion in Art: The Second Empire and Impressionism, where she explores the intersection of fashion and the arts. For over thirty years, Westwood lived in the same London apartment, paying a monthly rent of $400 and bike riding to her Battersea studio.