Vivienne Westwood, Fashion Designer Who Popularized Punk Style, Dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, the English fashion designer who brought punk style to the public, died on Thursday. She was 81.

“Vivienne Westwood died today, peacefully and surrounded by her family, in Clapham, South London,” a post on her official Twitter page reads. “The world needs people like Vivienne to make a change for the better.”

The announcement includes the following quote from Westwood: “Tao spiritual system. There was never more need for the Tao today. Tao gives you a feeling that you belong to the cosmos and gives purpose to your life; it gives you such a sense of identity and strength to know you’re living the life you can live and therefore ought to be living: make full use of your character and full use of your life on earth.”

First rising to prominence in the 1970s as the co-owner of the boutique SEX along with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, Westwood helped to shape the style of the U.K. punk scene.

The shop became a meeting place for punk bands, and Westwood’s creations worn by the Sex Pistols introduced a new style to the world that made use of pinned-together pieces, torn fabric and graffitied t-shirts.

Members of bands including the Slits were influenced by her fashion, and Viv Albertine of the Slits wrote in her memoir, “Vivienne and Malcolm use clothes to shock, irritate and provoke a reaction but also to inspire change. Mohair jumpers, knitted on big needles, so loosely that you can see all the way through them, T-shirts slashed and written on by hand, seams and labels on the outside, showing the construction of the piece; these attitudes are reflected in the music we make. It’s OK to not be perfect, to show the workings of your life and your mind in your songs and your clothes.”

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