Is Vivienne Westwood an imposter? – The Handlers

Is Vivienne Westwood an imposter?

What is it that gets you excited? I’m talking butterflies in the stomach, twinkle in the eye, childhood dreams coming true kind of excitement. Is it the thought of ditching your 9 to 5 and opening an allergen free bakery? Or do you dream of designing your own range and become a couturier overnight, like Victoria Beckham or Mary Haines of The Women? You daydream and get all excited until that little nagging voice in the back of your mind starts telling you you’re being silly. You’re never going to accomplish that. You’re not even qualified! And even if you could ever muster up the courage to do it, you probably won’t be any good anyway. So why even try?

 I hate that little voice! Who gave it the right to speak up? You did. Every time you get a bright idea or a butterfly in the stomach, the little voice comes past with a big fly swatter and kills your enthusiasm. It may be something someone said to you once, it may be because of the environment you grew up in or it might just be your own insecurities that bring you down. You need to find that little voice and punch it in the face. That’s not the voice of reason speaking, that’s just the voice of a tiny bully you’ve given way too much power.

 A good friend gave me the autobiography of Vivienne Westwood as a gift and I’m slowly working through it (hence all the Vivienne Westwood references in my articles). She has had a very big influence on my outlook on fashion. Not only are each of her creations an incredible, colourful and history-filled appreciation of women, but it also speaks of an eternal, youthful optimism that she lives out every day. I came across this line and it has given me more hope for my future in fashion than any inspirational poster could ever wish to do. It speaks about her schooling and how she ended up doing a jewellery-making and silversmithing course at the age of sixteen: “It remains her only formal training in design.”

To think that Dame Vivienne Westwood, Queen of Punk, has had no formal training in fashion design! Does that mean she’s an imposter? Certainly not! She’s worked her ass off to be where she is today. While most of her peers are now enjoying a quiet retirement, she can still be seen whizzing past on her bicycle, off to work at her studio. She has put everything into her brand, with every design she digs deep into herself and learns from the past to better her creations with each season.

That’s the secret to success and happiness in the workplace, I believe (I hope I’m right!): to do what you love and work at it until you’re the best you can be. I’m not saying to heck with it, quit your job and open a bar on some island just so you can go to the beach whenever you feel like it. What I am saying is, we need to pay more attention to the things that excite us. We need to stop listening to that abusive little voice inside our heads and go ahead, take a short course in design or whatever, see where it takes you. Maybe you do have a chance to follow your dream, or maybe it’s enough to just have a hobby you really love. Truth be told, we all feel like imposters at some time, so let’s just get over it and follow our dreams, give it our all and see where it takes us.

 Are you ready?


Author | Annamé Kleynscheldt

Annamé started her career in fashion as a personal shopper for Stuttafords, before landing a gig as fashion columnist for the lifestyle publication, The Month. Following a successful tenure in freelance fashion styling, working on both local and international publications, she has returned to her roots in personal shopping. Based at Topshop’s V&A flagship, she can be found saving one fashion victim at a time. |  Annamé on Twitter

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