24 Jul 2013

Inspire Aspire - Vivienne Westwood

Her eccentric style and sometimes far-fetched creations mean that she may not be everyone's cup of tea, but Vivienne Westwood is certainly a cut above fashion glitterati! To her credit, she has inspired countless designers and artists in the making to go off a tangent to explore their passions rather than follow the mainstream avenues of formal education in order to get a foot in the door and get noticed. And to me, this is all down to one word which has been a driving force for the fashion darling.

(Pict source)

I remember quite vividly watching a fascinating TV documentary back in England a good four years ago. I found it enlightening and inspiring, to the extent that four years on it still plays in the back of my mind whenever I harbour a doubt as to my next direction in life, and whenever I try find a reason why I can't make it.

Casually and very humbly, Vivienne mentioned a couple of times during the programme that she was self-taught. Yes that's right, a self-taught fashion designer and seamstress. She wasn't fresh out of Central St Martins College, and she didn't have the family connections to get that red carpet out and ease that ambition up into the fashion circles. The woman who famously said: "I didn't know how a working-class girl like me could possibly make a living in the art world" thought outside the box. She came from punk, she came from that clothes shop on London's Kings Road outrageously called 'Sex' where she designed crazy outfits for the likes of The Sex Pistols. As far away from the lofty French fashion houses in Paris VIII as can be... And the irony of it all would be that years later those very same individuals who sniggered at her origins would cram up into her fashion shows and shell out the dough.

Anglomania Collection - AW2013-14 - Look-091

To some, self-taught might mean a roundabout last chance saloon way of getting from A to B. To Vivienne, it was a successful means to an end, where theory was experimented upon, fun was had with swathes of fabric, where ideas could just flow without the restriction of dos and don'ts, and opportunities seized in a 'right place, right time' mode. Carpe Diem. Self-taught is the best out of the school of life. And closer to us, self-taught has seen bloggers turn household names and YouTube sensations set up shop very successfully, and I can't resist the thought of this other self-taught guy - Sir Richard Branson - the very boss of the airline company whose flight uniforms are being designed by our Vivienne. How ironic indeed!

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