Vivienne Westwood Advises Aspiring Designers To Copy What's Been Done In The Fashion World

Dame Vivienne Westwood, known for her fierce and nonconformist style, gave some unusual advice to aspiring designers while in Savannah to accept SCAD’s Andre Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award. In an interview with Eliza Brooke at Fashionista, Vivienne Westwood advises aspiring designers to copy what’s already been done in the fashion world and keep collections compact. Though young creative might scoff at such advice, Westwood made sure to back up her statements with nuanced justifications.

Not just copying successful artists for the sake of copying, Westwood explained that you can’t throw out the fashion rules and create anything different without actually learning them. She admitted “a young person has experience up to a point and it might be very good, but you can't do something for very long if you don't have the ideas coming. It doesn't come just from you. You have to get it from somewhere.”

If you’re embarking on your own fashion design journey, Westwood also advises to take steps even further back from fashion and learn the history of art itself to find out “where your deep interests lie. If you continue to pursue that, that's how you become a designer, if you've got the talent.” Some up-and-coming designers take this advice to heart pretty literally, like Holly Fowler who treats silk like canvas.

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As the fashion world takes a refreshing turn toward sustainability, Westwood also pushed the importance of keeping collections small but high quality. She told Brooke that tiny collections are necessary to ensure the integrity of each piece, as well as an opportunity to teach consumers to “buy less, choose well, and make it last."

And Westwood isn’t just dishing out advice, but making sure to practice what she preaches. By the end of 2016, she hopes to condense her four lines (Red Label, Gold Label, Man, and Anglomania) into two. Good luck to you, Westwood, and every other designer out there whose clothes I can’t wait to wear someday.

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