Vivienne Westwood: Youth Is Revolting

by MR Magazine Staff

“I think all activists are motivated by the same thing,” says Dame Vivienne Westwood, forking a slice of Victoria sponge. “It’s just who you are. The human race, they really do care about other people suffering, don’t they?” This is phrased as a question but feels, as with most of what the designer utters, like an imperative. “We help each other. Different people obviously feel responsible to different degrees. But I have always felt that, if nobody else is doing it, I’ve got to do it.” Westwood is discussing the empathy that is at the heart of her activism. She’s taking a break from climbing hills in a south London park, where she was surrounded by the young activists, students, and artists you see on these pages, as well as several buggies and smartphone-holding bystanders. (Much like Westwood has done ever since she began selling her incendiary designs on the Kings Road in the 1970s, the group defied what might be deemed appropriate to wear in a public space). Westwood is the first lady of punk, the first designer to make bondage gear, corsets, and Harris tweed desirable everyday wear, and almost definitely the first woman to ever shout “frack off!” from the seat of an army tank at David Cameron’s front door. Without Westwood’s ‘firsts’, it’s difficult to imagine how the nonconformist perspectives and styles of many of the group gathered here today would have been fostered. Westwood, a former teacher herself, provided the textbook. Read more at Dazed.