Dame Vivienne Isabel Westwood


Photo by Courtesy of @viviennewestwood on Instagram

Photo of Vivienne Westwood posted by the brand’s Instagram as a tribute to her.

Ava Trandel, Managing Editor of Features

Dame Vivienne Westwood, the pioneer fashion designer known as the “godmother of punk,” died December 29, 2022 at the age of 81. The fashion industry has been deeply devastated by the news, both by the loss of a talented designer and highly influential person. 

For over 50 years, the self-taught designer has been revolutionizing the fashion industry and using her platform as an activist, often bringing awareness to global issues and politics through her designs. Messages protesting war and climate change are often seen both on the Vivienne Westwood runway and in stores. One of the defining characteristics of the brand is that the radical designs aren’t reserved for the inaccessible runway: they’re meant to be worn on the street by anyone. She is credited with changing the nature of streetwear in the 70s, bringing punk to a scene that at the time was dominated by flower power. Westwood, in all aspects of her life and career, defied convention and conformity, and made fashion political when it never had been before. 

Westwood has supported many human rights, anti-war, and climate change organizations over her years as a designer, including the Humane Society International, War Child and Liberty, and Climate Revolution: a campaign she spearheaded. 

Immediately following her death, Vivienne Westwood closed all of its store locations and website in her honor. The brand recently announced the establishment of The Vivienne Foundation, created to preserve her legacy and “create a better society,” by means of continued activism and making an active effort to stop climate change, a cause Westwood was passionate about.