Memory of Vivienne Westwood, queen of punk fashion design, friend of Ukraine

My journey to Westwood was born the day I walked past Vivienne Westwood’s Anglomania collection at a fashion show in Las Vegas. That’s when I decided to add the brand to our assortment when I was head of Zappos Couture in 2008.

Years later, the decision to buy her brand that day eventually landed me the most wonderful position as President of Sales for Vivienne Westwood America. I was blessed to work for a true icon and legend in the fashion industry.

Vivienne made punk rock fashion a phenomenon, reinvented the corset and was always years ahead of her time with each collection. Her styles were not created for mass market clients, but for those of us who want to make a statement and who dare to “live fast and die young”, one of her most famous sayings.

She has changed the way we look at fashion and has been incredibly influential, focusing on environmental issues throughout her career. Her message spoke loud and clear about her designs: Vivienne inspired her customers to focus on important messages through her collections such as Stop War, Climate Revolution, Politicis are Criminals, Save the Arctic and more.

Vivienne and her team at Westwood despised war – especially that in the Ukraine – and she spoke many times throughout her career about war being the biggest polluter.

Plus, she wrote a daily blog, “Climate revolution where Vivienne introduced me on the day of the 2016 US election when I spoke to her about how America needed to “wake up” and not vote for Donald Trump.

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I was lucky enough to spend time with her in Paris, Milan and London where she taught us all how corrupt the world and people can be.

Vivienne was so passionate about saving the environment that she would literally rather reuse her tea bags. When we were in the Paris showroom we had to leave a note on them to tell the staff not to throw them away so she could use them a second or third time. She would be upset if someone destroyed them because she was totally committed to recycling.

Vivienne Westwood. Photo by Jen Sidara

I also vividly remember watching her perfect the outfit. She would see every detail and change only the smallest part to make the design perfect. All my friends who worked directly with her on the design process said they learned so much working with Vivienne and that she was their main teacher. There was nothing better than watching her work and until recently she was still riding a push bike to a design studio in London.

To this day, about half of my wardrobe is filled with Vivienne Westwood designs and the other half with Ukrainian fashion designs. I would say my wardrobe is perfection with a mixture of such talent.

Westwood had some of the most unconventional staff and I fit right in. Fortunately, I still have a Vivienne Westwood team of people in my life who live all over the world, so we will fight to uphold her values. together for future generations. Without her daily activism and influence, the world will be less informed. She was a true legend; the biggest disruptor and will be sorely missed.

Vivienne died on December 29.

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Only Sidary she has led and executed partnerships between brands and established retailers around the world with a career spanning more than three decades.

Founded by Sidary in April 2022 a multi-brand fashion eCommerce website to support Ukrainian designers and their companies to survive the war. She collaborated on several ambitious projects YOU SAID Competitive Economy Program as a fashion industry expert presenting Ukrainian brands at New York and Paris fashion weeks.

Prior to her work with Ukraine, Sidary was previously president of sales for Vivienne Westwood America and head of Zappos Couture.

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