Westwood: Punk, Activist, Icon

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Amongst the punk purveyors and Vivienne Westwood worshippers, I sat inside the Barbican Centre theater in London to watch the latest buzzed-about fashion documentary, Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist. As a fan of Vivienne Westwood and fashion documentaries, I felt it was my imperative duty to go see this film-plus the theatre was only a 20 minute walk from me so I thought this would be a nice way to spend a Tuesday evening.


Unlike most fashion film documentaries where visuals are at the forefront, Westwood focuses on the raw realities of her company and her personal life. Appearances by those closest to her include Vivienne’s two sons Joe Corre and Ben Westwood, members of her design team, her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler, and the punk dame herself.

The documentary opens up with a visibly exasperated Vivienne Westwood recounting her punk roots again for the umpteenth time. Although the film touched upon Vivienne's hand in the punk movement through her radical clothes, the film focused more on the frustrations and struggles that she deals with every day. 

Watch the trailer below:

Vivienne was and has always been a fearless person following her intuition. When she decided not to be the perfect housewife, she ran away to London to find her life’s calling. When she wanted to prove she possessed talent as a fashion designer, she moved away from the punk scene and showed her collection in Paris. Now, Vivienne uses her fame to shed light on her environmental activism in the fashion world and beyond. 

Scroll through the gallery:

Vivienne’s story reminded me of all the talented girls I know who are stifled by men. Boyfriends or men who claim they are “just looking out for them” and either want to take their partner’s power or stifle it to compensate for their own insecurities. Before I am thrown on a stake for what I’ve just said, Vivienne’s words about her toxic relationship with Malcolm Mclaren made me feel for her: the way that he stopped numerous business deals that would have catapulted Vivienne’s brand and even his indifference in their family life. In my eyes, it seems like she’s taken advantage of by men who claim to love her. For instance, her current marriage to Andreas Kronthaler. I can agree with what some of her design team member’s said, and I’m also skeptical about the marriage. When asked “Why do you love her?” Kronthaler paused for a long time and finally answered a lofty “I don’t know.” That last one is more speculation, of course, and is solely my personal interpretation. Still, their relationship seems quite distant and Andreas seems to have gone up the ranks a little too conveniently.

 Vivienne and husband/creative partner Andreas Kronthaler

Vivienne and husband/creative partner Andreas Kronthaler

The film was funny, chaotic, and enlightening. I feel like all of us can resonate with the underlying sentiment of the documentary which is to persevere for what you want. It shows that even with all the accolades and fame you acquire, your hustle never stops. Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean it’ll be happily ever after and your story ends. You must continue to thrive and push yourself and constantly fight for what you believe in. I feel like she really is the last punk in fashion, always pushing the boundaries, and fighting for what she believes in.

Do go and check out showtimes and theater locations near you so you can make your own opinions about the film.  Am I wrong with my interpretations? Do you agree with me? Let us know on twitter or instagram

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