Punk's not dead - RIP Vivienne Westwood
RIP Vivienne Westwood!
What a month it's been in the world of punk. Not only does January mark the birthdays of punk legend and pioneers, John Lydon and Malcolm McLaren (RIP) but we lost our beloved Dame Vivienne Westwood, reigning queen of punk fashion since the '70s. We here at Goldsmith Vintage are huge fans of the punk movement and it's enduring fashion legacy which would not exist without either of these three legendary characters. So let's take a brief look back at their inspiring contribution to British music culture and fashion. And don't forget to check out our staff's favourite punk picks at the end!
Dame Vivienne Isabel Westwood (8/04/1941 – 29/12/2022) was a British businesswoman and clothing designer who first came to light in the mid-seventies. She was a major contributor to the birth of the punk and new wave movements and along with Malcolm McLaren (22/01/1946 – 8/04/2010) was a huge influence in introducing these new and radical styles into popular culture.
Westwood and her partner McLaren exploded onto the scene when she created garments for SEX, the punk boutique that they ran together on the King's Road, their visionary designs shaping the punk scene during the 1970s. Westwood was quoted as saying, "I was messianic about punk, seeing if one could put a spoke in the system in some way". The store became a regular hot spot for members of the burgeoning punk scene which led to the couple having a unique capacity to amalgamate their clothing with new and exciting forms of music. This phenomena played a large part in the creation of the Sex Pistols, the punk band fronted by the nihilistic Johnny Rotten (real name John Lydon) that McLaren managed. The pioneering and politically charged group wore Westwood and McLaren's designs and virtually single-handedly changed the face of music forever. Rotten was viewed as a figurehead of the punk movement and due to their controversial lyrics and general disrepute they are, to this day, seen as one of the more scandalous and influential bands of all time.
Westwood's designs were also a big inspiration for many other punk icons, namely Viv Albertine. She wrote in her memoir, "Vivienne and Malcolm use clothes to shock, irritate and provoke a reaction but also to inspire change. Mohair jumpers, knitted on big needles, so loosely that you can see all the way through them, T-shirts slashed and written on by hand, seams and labels on the outside, showing the construction of the piece; these attitudes are reflected in the music we make. It's OK to not be perfect, to show the workings of your life and your mind in your songs and your clothes."
Westwood went on to open four stores across London, eventually expanding throughout Britain and eventually the world. Her shops carried a huge range of merchandise, a lot of which were inspired by and promoted awareness for her political causes such as climate change, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and civil rights groups.
Staff Punk Picks!
Black Ramones Vest
Acid-Wash Studded Denim Waistcoat
Red Tartan Short Skirt
Red Tartan Long Skirt
Black Tahari Leather Trousers
Acid-Wash Cut-Off Denim Shorts
Acid-Wash Studded Denim Shorts
Studded Two-Tone Distressed Denim Shorts
Studded Distressed Raw Hem Shorts
Green Day Black T-Shirt