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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Lasell chapter.

Recently, the fashion community lost one of the most influential modern designers: Vivienne Westwood. She was the queen and mother of punk fashion styles in London, and her influence in fashion, starting in the 1960s, was undeniable. 

Westwood’s most common themes were considered scandalous for her time. They were based around sex, political statements, and pushing the envelope. Her designs enthralled a new, young audience into the beginnings of the punk movement. As stated by Westwood, “‘We wanted to undermine the establishment, we hate it. We want to destroy it. We don’t want it. We were youth against age, that’s what it was.’”

By the mid 70s, Westwood’s designs featuring bondage themes, nudity, and other symbols of rebellion were produced. These raunchy designs were available in the King’s Road shop called “Sex” opened by Malcolm McLaren in 1974. 

As the years went on, the shop took on different names, and the designs inside reflected each change. Popular rock band of the time, The Sex Pistols, inspired t-shirt slogans and collaborated with Westwood and McLaren on one of the store redesigns. The store “featured an interior inspired by the bombing of Dresden in the Second World War and a shelving display that housed a caged live rat”. These details are notable and helped to build the brand’s image. Westwood’s fashion shows had equally edgy and fascinating names, for example, “Savage, Buffalo Girls, New Romantics and The Pagan Years”. Teenagers at the time were given a fashion icon telling them that it was okay to let their anger at the world or their mess of emotions out, in their style. Before the punk movement’s emergence, the “modernist” outfits were clean and tailored. To me, this is the best part of Westwood’s legacy: giving young people fashion freedom. Westwood and McLaren’s deviance from the norm and determination to their craft and message gave inspiration to generations.

I am a junior majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Management.