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Vivienne Westwood: A local icon's legacy

In the world of fashion, certain designers transcend trends and leave a mark on the industry. Vivienne Westwood is one of those. Westwood's impact is not only seen in her unique fashion designs but also in her advocacy for environmental and social causes. 

Dame Vivienne Isabel Westwood was born on April 8th, 1941 in Tintwistle. She and her family eventually moved to Greater London where Vivienne took a jewellery and silversmith course at the University of Westminster. However, she left after one term, saying: "I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world".

Vivienne Westwood rose to fame in the 1970s as one of the key figures in the punk rock movement. Her collaboration with Malcolm McLaren, manager of the Sex Pistols, resulted in the opening of a boutique in London. 

Her designs challenged the status quo, embracing provocative elements that mirrored the rebellious spirit of the punk era. She played a vital role in shaping the punk aesthetic, incorporating elements like safety pins, tartan, and distressed fabrics into her designs which many fashion lovers remember her for.

Throughout the decades, she continued to evolve as a designer, exploring various styles that ranged from historical references to modern, edgy couture. Vivienne’s runway shows became a platform for artistic expression, where her designs challenged society and pushed the boundaries of fashion.

Vivienne Westwood is also renowned for her activism and dedication to environmental and social causes. In recent years, she has became a voice in the fight against climate change and sustainable fashion.  Because of this, many praised her for her outspoken nature and fearless approach to tackling societal problems. 

Vivienne passed away in December 2022 at the age of 81 and following her death came pouring in a number of tributes from stars such as Paul McCartney, Boy George and Holly Johnson. As well as thousands of mourners taking to Facebook, comments consisted of: “An icon and a powerhouse. RIP”, “She changed the world with her working class attitude and style, she’ll never be forgotten.” and “Such a legend, a huge inspiration, brilliantly creative and always a committed activist for people and planet.”

A service of Thanksgiving of Life was held for her at Christ Church in Tintwistle on 9 January 2023. The church was dressed with Harris Tweed and flowers were arranged and displayed by Glossop's Norris Floristry.

Following her death, her self-titled fashion brand shot the 2023/2024 autumn range shoot in her home town of Tintwistle. Local residents took pride in this saying: “So delighted you came to the village with this collection. Just perfectly surreal and wayward. Thank you”.

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