British Fashion Designer Dame Vivienne Westwood Passes Away at 81

Dame Vivienne Westwood, the British fashion designer who introduced punk and politics to the world of high fashion, passed away at age 81 on December 29.

By Kavya Pillai

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Dame Vivienne Westwood, the British fashion designer who introduced punk and politics to the world of high fashion, passed away at age 81 on December 29. A representative for Westwood confirmed that in her last moments she was surrounded by her loved ones in Clapham, South London.

The Westwood fashion label's Twitter account wrote, "Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London. The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better."

"We have been working until the end and she has given me plenty of things to get on with. Thank you, darling," said her husband and creative partner Andreas Kronthaler.

Vivienne Isabel Swire was born on April 8, 1941, in Tintwistle, Cheshire in a humble family. Her father worked in a sausage factory and her mother was a greengrocer's assistant. She did her schooling at Glossop Grammar School and later moved to the suburbs of London in 1957.

Westwood has always had a great edge in the world of fashion whether it was almost breaking Supermodel Naomi Campels ankles with nine-inch platform heels or sending Kate Moss down the runway with just a mini skirt and ice cream.

By the 2000s she was an established celebrity and her label was described as a "true revolutionary and rebellious force in fashion" by London's Victoria and Albert Museum. The cultural secretary Michelle Donelan said Vivienne was a towering figure".

Westwood pronounced her political activism in later years by advocating against nuclear weapons, arbitrary detention and tremendously supporting environmental causes and groups like Greenpeace.

There is no debate that Westwood engaged humanity with the world of high fashion and couture mourns the death of another legend.

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