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Vivienne Westwood Red Label AW15
Vivienne Westwood at the Red Label AW15 showCourtesy of Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Vivienne Westwood has some advice for fashion students: copy

Trying to make it in fashion? According to the punk pioneer, you should start by imitating other people

Vivienne Westwood has some advice for fashion students: copy, copy, copy. 

"When it actually comes to the designing, people all want to throw it away and say, 'I've got to do something different,'" the grande dame of British punk said in a Fashionista interview. "I taught fashion, and I started off getting students to copy things."

"That’s the only way to learn things. A young person has experience up to a point, and they can do something and it might be very good, but you can't do something for very long if you don't have the ideas coming, you know?"

In other words: if you run out ideas, there’s nothing wrong with being inspired (read: ruthlessly steal) by some else’s. But the one thing that Westwood is firmly pro is to have some kind of foundation to know where your "deep interests" lie. 

"If you continue to pursue that, that's how you become a designer, if you've got the talent," she said. "It's not just going to come out of you. You get out what you put in."

But don’t expect to make it all by yourself. Remember Anna Wintour’s advice? As the Vogue editor-in-chief told fashion students last year, "I have not seen too many successful designers who’ve managed alone, without their business partner." Westwood's right hand man is her husband, Andreas Kronthaler, who is her design partner and her husband. 

Lesson learned: trying to get into the world of fashion? Buddy up and start practising your copying skills! 

Read the full Fashionista interview here and check out Westwood talking about punk and its influence below.