BRITISH fashion has lost one of it’s most notable, authentically grounded designers, innovators and activists.

Never one to shy away from controversy in her designs, her ecological crusades and in her politics, Vivienne Westwood was an inspiration for more than five decades.

Often heralded as the “Godmother of Punk”, she gained notoriety in the 1980s through her themed catwalk collections. It is hard to imagine the fashion world without her in it.

Her dramatic and exaggerated silhouettes will be missed, but her legacy will continue. Itseems we are losing so many greats. was interesting to hear Viviennethat Westwood planned as well as she designed, leaving her husband with a significant list of visions which she had yet to undertake.

The National: Vivienne Westwood incorporated tartan into some of her most iconic designsVivienne Westwood incorporated tartan into some of her most iconic designs

I guess she was always working and was reallyactive until the end. I hope we learn from her eccentric ways and hopefully there is more to come from her hard-working team, who I know all respected her so much.

From the early 70s, running up teddy boy and 50s-inspired outfits on her sewing machine from the back of Let It Rock on London’s King’s Road with Malcolm McLaren, to a few years later, when the first tartan bondage pants struggled out of the same shop doors, Westwood embraced subversion.

Yet no matter how subversive, her style gave salvation to those looking for an alternative to the disco fashions of the late 70s. It seemed she was never interested in what other designers were doing, she created for herself.

Her Pirates collection in the early 80sof pirates in asymmetrical t-shirts, followed by tartan-clad cowboys later in the same decade, the designswould never be mainstream and would certainly raised many eyebrows.or attract comments.

Westwood was consistently inspired constantly by historical garments and the reworking of classic ideas – her 1987 collection Harris Tweed was inspired by a series of photographs of Queen Elizabeth when she was young, constantly challenging our preconceptions of what fashion should be.

After her Seditionaries design statements, Westwood figured that attacking the establishment would only make her a victim, and the only true way to make a difference was through ideas, not rebellion.

Her subversive tendencies still echoed through her collections, using Tweed with exaggerated proportions and armour-like structure along with Rose Chintz patterns printed on latex. And the creation of the Mini-Crini in the mid 80s – made from deep red heavy barathea – was an icon of the time.

The tightly corseted torso with the faring out of the bell-shaped skirt ideas which would be misunderstood at first, are now recognised as ground-breaking and pioneering.

As the world moves onsadly, I will take wisdom and ideals from her work and keep designing in tweed and tartan in a new way and approach. She was a wonderful, iconic and powerful woman. In many ways Westwood was the first designer to reinvent tartan, stripping back all the formality and making it a rebel with a cause.

After all, it was all about rebellion, fighting back, showing unity and belonging, – it’s the only cloth to be banned by an act of parliament. She made it fashionable for the first time since 1820!

There are many tartans registered by Vivenne Westwood, such as Gordon pink, immortalised by the supermodel Naomi Campbell in 1993, being the skirt she was wearing when she fell in those incredible platforms.

Other creations include MacStone, Metropolitan, MacSky and MacAndreas, all interpretations or reinventions of classic patterns – but with her naughty twists and quirks.

The National: Vivienne WestwoodVivienne Westwood

Today, people celebrate tartan and tweed all over the world, and I love that she introduced them to a whole new audience, rather than just being for ceilidhs, weddings and clan gatherings.

Her passion and naughtiness has always inspired me, as has her love of pushing boundaries and supporting local communities. But most of all, not taking fashion too seriously. Scottish fashion has never been pretentious (neither was shebut Scotlandit needed someone to start ripping up cloth and breaking the some rules.

We should all take note of her everlasting voice in this fast paced, profit-hungry world, that is: “Buy less, choose well, make it last”

From her humble beginnings, she became the head of a hugely successful company spanning couture, ready-to-wear and menswear and accessories.the world overBut She did managed to do all this without selling her soul, staying true to what she was.

Honestly, I loved her mostly because she was naughty. I respected her greatly because she worked so hard in the fashion industry and continued to be a huge supporter of Scotland. I’ll cherish her – both personally and in my work – for moving the mainstream and pushing boundaries in a conservative world.

Vixy Rae is a fashion designer, owner of Stewart Christie & Co, and author of The Secret Life of Tartan.