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  • Vivienne Westwood: The first punk
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  • Vivienne Westwood: The first punk

    Art major to present at April 16 academic conference

    Meghan Feir
    Garbage bag dresses, pirate apparel and industrial-wear are only a few pieces that illustrate fashion icon Vivienne Westwood’s collections. Senior art major Linnea Fitterer plans to highlight Westwood’s influence on Great Britain’s punk movement of the 1980s and the accessibility of her fashion at this year’s Student Academic Conference.
    “I will explore how she made way for that kind of style to be seen alongside other fashion designs – to be appreciated – to be considered a style,” Fitterer said.  “I’m going through the evolution of her career and focus on the ‘80s.”
    Surrounded primarily by male designers, Westwood paved the way for women in the industry, and placed Great Britain on the fashion map. Fitterer is inspired by her designs “because they’re so different than everything else, but they’re not crazy, Lady Gaga-different. They’re very regal,” Fitterer said.  “She made way for this bizarre movement in Great Britain – as a woman collaborating with male designers to get her point across and to get her collections on the fashion runway – it’s really inspiring.”
    Fitterer will also address the accessibility of Westwood’s designs. “The variety of directions she took really surprised me. I was only familiar with her Sex Pistols, punk, kind of rock ‘n’ roll collection.”
    Fitterer doesn’t consider herself a full-out feminist, but she is drawn to feminist movements and their relation to art and design. “It’s interesting to see the development of women in art history and how nobody paid attention to women, especially in the Renaissance period. Men took credit for women,” Fitterer said. “It’s not like they weren’t producing art, but they’ve been erased or covered up. I want people to remove the idea of feminism as a bunch of man-hating, bra-burners, but people who are revolutionizing industries.”
    Fitterer will also emphasize the empowerment that Westwood’s fashions brought to working-class men and women. “The brilliance of her is that she didn’t just keep making ripped up T-shirts or pirate costumes. She moved with the times, and she always stayed one step ahead. She was a real trend-setter.”