Ashley Rosato


Department of Communication Studies

Advisor: Emilie Zaslow

Document Type



Punk fashion, which helped define the punk movement in the 1970s, has been ever changing as it adapts to modern times. Before it was the watered-down, mainstream mass-produced aesthetic that it is today, punk style was full of counterculture meaning and signs that communicated counter-hegemonic ideologies to the public. Vivienne Westwood, one of the contributors to early punk culture and the mother of British punk style, designed clothing that was central to the ethos of the early punk movement. Through a semiotic analysis of five of Westwood’s designs from the 1970s, this study aims to demonstrate how Westwood’s early punk designs encouraged rebellion against normative power structures. This analysis highlights how her designs challenged dominant beliefs about class, gender, and sexuality.