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Last Updated on April 20, 2022
Have you ever coveted a garment by Vivienne Westwood and run appalled in the opposite direction after catching a glimpse of its price tag? I confess I have! It is no surprise when one considers how legendary the brand has become and the mystic that surrounds its founder.
Vivienne Westwood is considered one of the most unconventional fashion designers in the world. The identity of Vivienne Westwood as both designer and brand is built on revolution, be it punk, ecological or cultural.
Vivienne has been making waves in the fashion world since 1970 when she helped shape the look of the early punk rock movement in the United Kingdom, and she has since used her expertise to continuously innovate in fashion by joining together historical inspiration and modern savoir-faire to create uniquely shaped garments.
As a brand, Vivienne Westwood is provocative, cutting-edge, and above all unforgettable. Its ability to use traditional tailoring and classic British materials like tartan and Harris Tweed to create deconstructed and scandalous styles is legendary. The brand’s main focus is highlighting the female body, while at the same time creating a shape that exists apart from it and is self-supporting. As a designer, let me tell you this is not an easy feat!
Read on to find out which brands made the cut to be compared to this pillar of the fashion community, be it because of their aesthetics, their values, or their tailoring prowess!
Main qualities of Vivienne Westwood
- Cutting-edge style
- Unforgettable looks
- Historical inspiration
- Traditional tailoring
- Use of tartan and Harris Tweed
- Punk aesthetic
- Raw, deconstructive designs
- Artistic philosophy, revolutionary mindset
Most iconic garments from Vivienne Westwood
- Draped dresses
- Boned corsets
- Exaggerated bust or hip garments
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#1. House of Holland
Overview: House of Holland is a British fashion luxury brand based in London.
Price Range: $$$
Origin and Concept: House of Holland was founded in 2008 by Henry Holland. He designed a full collection for its launch after a couple of t-shirt mini capsules and the brand soon became known for his work with model Agyness Deyn. The next year, in 2009, he did a collaboration with Levi’s and later on Debenhams that furthered the popularity and reach of the brand. It gained global recognition with its 2012 campaign featuring Iggy Azalea, following its eyewear line success. Henry Holland has stated several times that Nicola Roberts, of Girls Aloud fame, is his muse and heroine. Aesthetically, House of Holland favors bold designs, slogan t-shirts, and quintessentially British clothing items, with a dash of striking colors and a rebel yet sexy attitude.
Celebs who are fans: Adele, Alexa Demie, Amita Suman, Billie Eilish, Candice King, Carey Mulligan, Chrishell Stause, and Claire Holt, among others.
Ethical Practices: There is very little information regarding if House of Holland reduces its carbon print and other greenhouse gas emissions. It also uses few eco-friendly materials and there is almost no evidence that they have taken any meaningful action to reduce its use of hazardous chemicals. Things are definitely not looking good.
#2. Alexander McQueen
Overview: Alexander McQueen is a British luxury fashion house that sells high-fashion garments, accessories, perfumes, and ready-to-wear.
Price Range: $$$$
Origin and Concept: The brand was founded in 1992 by Alexander McQueen and soon became known for its controversial collections and shocking content (with items like the super low bumster pants that left the upper parts of the derriere exposed). The brand is recognized the world over for its lavish and unconventional runway shows with innovative inspiration and creative resources that showcased Alexander McQueen’s genius over 36 different collections. After his demise, he was replaced by Sarah Burton who took the company in a more romantic direction, playing tribute to craftsmanship and artisanship prowess, while maintaining a goth and dark allure that is part of the DNA of the brand. Skulls and flowers are usually present in handkerchiefs, jewelry, embroideries, and prints. Many historical and cultural elements of British garment history play a big role in Alexander McQueen’s collections, often with a modern and revolutionary punk twist, like corsets, zippers, ham sleeves, and tight-laced bodices.
Celebs who are fans: Sarah Jessica Parker, Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, Drew Barrymore, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, The Duchess of Cambridge, Jennifer Lopez, Elle Fanning, Katie Holmes, Amber Davies, TK Kravitz, Marion Cotillard, Odell Beckham Jr, and Alicia Vikander, among others.
Ethical Practices: Alexander McQueen is owned by Kering. It uses some eco-friendly materials (like organic cotton). The company has set a science-based target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions (both from its own operations and its supply chain) and it is on track to meet its goal. The brand also has a CanopyStyle-approved policy to prevent deforestation of ancient and endangered forests, but it only covers some of its supply chain. When it comes to their animal protection, they are considered quite good because their animal welfare policy is aligned with Five Domains. They use wool, leather, and exotic animal hair. However, they reduce chromium and other hazardous chemicals from their leather tanning processes and do not use fur, down, angora, or exotic animal skin. Most importantly, they trace most animal products to their first stages of production which ensure materials are sourced legally and comply with their animal welfare policies. Regarding their labor rating, most of their labor takes place in medium-risk countries for labor abuse. There is no evidence that Alexander McQueen ensures payment of a living wage to its suppliers and workers throughout its supply chain.
#3. David Koma
Overview: David Koma is a London-based fashion brand that focuses on party dresses for women.
Price Range: $$$$
Origin and Concept: The brand was founded in 2009 by David Koma after he graduated from Central Saint Martins College of Art in Design in London. The brand has participated in London Fashion Week every time since its creation, presenting its ready-to-wear collections. It specializes in clothing for the nightlife, with an emphasis on sexy attire for parties, clubbing, or what can only be described as noir burlesque. There are slightly punk and goth details here and there that make an appearance in different collections, with recent incursions in daywear and slightly more wearable garments. However, the name David Koma has become synonymous with sex appeal and sculptural statement dresses inspired by women. In an era where clothes are looking to distance themselves from body-hugging designs, the revolutionary idea that is at the core of David Koma is precisely an exaltation of the feminine figure.
Celebs who are fans: Gal Gadot, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Megan Fox, Gwyneth Paltrow, Emily Blunt, Cameron Diaz, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Kerry Washington, and others.
Ethical Practices: There is a surprising lack of information about how or whether David Koma reduces its impact on the environment and on people to guess a verdict. In this day and age, the lack of transparency in its practices doesn’t speak too highly about the brand. On the bright side, I found some ostrich feathers used in a recent collection that were sourced as a by-product of the meat industry.