Dear Vivienne

Dear Vivienne,

My name is Jaz, I am a fourteen year old girl, I am writing to tell you about my encounter with the deputy headmaster at school.
On own clothes days, pupils wear their own clothes, pay £1 and the proceeds go to a charity of the schools choice.
On this particular own clothes day I thought I would wear my ‘ I love (love heart) CRAP’ tee shirt with a plain skirt. Big mistake!

I was taken to one side by the deputy headmaster Mr — . He told me that my tee shirt was inappropriate. He said any self respecting person with a brain would read it as ‘I (love heart) faeces’ and that it was disgusting. He told me to cover it up or go home, I did neither.
I explained to him that ‘crap’ referred to junk, litter, trash, rubbish, etc and that I was sure most people would read it as that. I also told him that my parents were respectable people with brains otherwise they would have told me the tee shirt was unsuitable.
No other members of staff mentioned my tee shirt, so I’m assuming no one else had a problem with it.
Mum came to collect me from school that day and as I was leaving Mr — came running towards me, shouting about my tee shirt. Mum told him he must have an awfully large brain to hold so much ignorance. She said he should be more concerned with the young girls who were wearing next to nothing, flaunting their sexuality and finding out who was selling drugs, cigarettes and alcohol on school premises, during school time.
The next day mum received a letter from Mr —. It said that he was shocked by his encounter with her. Again he mentioned my tee shirt saying the word ‘crap’ referred to’ faeces or defecation’. Mum tore the letter up, put it in an envelope and posted it back to him.
On another occasion, I was wearing my giant skeleton necklace and Mr — told me to take it off. He said it was vulgar and that it looked like I was carrying the remains of a dead baby around my neck. I didn’t take it off.
I hope I haven’t bored you, but I wanted to write and tell you about Mr — and ask, ‘have you got any advice for me on how to deal with him next time he has a go at me?’
My parents work hard and I save my pocket money to enable me to wear your designs.
They have always encouraged me to be me and not to seek to be like everyone else.

Yours faithfully

Jaz

Vivienne’s reply:

Think your reply was intelligent & civil. Of course crap refers to shit – he’s right but the design is an ironic attack on the consumer society. ‘I (love heart) crap’ alludes also to ‘I (love heart) NY’,’I (love heart) London’: these cities are full of tourist consumer rubbish.

Sending you a ‘Climate Revolution’ tee shirt. Read my diary & the new Climate Revolution website.

From Vivienne (love heart)

Ben’s comment:

Hope the new tee shirt doesn’t get you into trouble again. You’ll probably be branded a ‘terrorist’ or something :-) I’ll put it in the post tomorrow. Good luck.
Climate Revolution website at www.climaterevolution.org.uk  (It’s not online yet, but will be soon)
Vivienne’s diary is at http://www.activeresistance.co.uk/ar

 

Vivienne Westwood World's End shop

I Love Crap artwork.

 

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19 thoughts on “Dear Vivienne

  1. Such a shame that wear your own clothes is really wear a different school uniform, and if the tee-shirt does offend some why not offer to make a school lesson out of the message. This would be a much more postive result. I fear the mother was right. I also fear for the children!

  2. Hey Jaz,
    Same thing happened to me in the royal exchange theatre in Manchester
    an usher decided that he wanted to chime in on what he thought of my I <3 crap tshirt just before i sat down for a performance, I politely told him that what I wear on my body has no impact on him and that he should learn that if he can't say something nice then he shouldn't say anything at all.

    I'm sure that most of the readers of the blog have had the same thing, this happens when small minded people with nothing better or bigger to worry about decide that it's their place to impart some nugget of wisdom to you.

    Pay it no mind, live your life, be happy, be kind to others and the planet, be socially aware and only good things will come to you.

    Regards
    Anthony

  3. Sorry to say but Jaz sounds completely tedious. How ridiculous to think that people won’t take the t-shirt literally and I find it beyond belief that her parents would allow her to wear it to school. There is a time and place for everything. Obviously she gets it from her mother who seems to also believe she can do what she wants without thought to the consequences or other people’s opinions. Rewarding her with a t-shirt is the last thing she needs a bit of respect, some manners and ridding herself of the notion that she is entitled to do what she pleases would make better use of her time.

    • David, it’s been lovely hearing from you there in the 1940s. You’re right, there’s a time and a place for everything…and that (with the usual caveats) should be determined by Jaz.
      The truth is as you have or will find out, breaking the odd rule is fun and necessary for ideas to flourish and things to move on. As rule breaking goes, this is pretty innocuous.
      The head teacher would have shown himself to be more of a thoughtful person if he’d engaged with the ideas.
      Jaz, have fun with clothes…I’m nearly 50 now and still get looks and idiots saying things about what I wear. I genuinely feel sorry for them, you should too.

      • Ok,Ok,That’s enough :-) … David’s is allowed his opinion (Thank you David…You have been the ‘Agent Provocateur’ to an interesting debate)… The point of the t-shirt print is to criticize societies pointless coverting of glossy but meaningless & ultimately empty material distractions… CRAP … Consumer behavior is largely irrational & unconscious just like the digestive system. The t-shirt asks you to think… Vivienne is brilliant at provoking that…

  4. I think that the above response is quite harsh. I think there are a huge swathe of people, who at one time or another have had a similar experience. It reminds me very much of Ben’s story about the “terrorist” t- shirt at the airport.

    As long as what you wear is not offensive or inflammatory in any way, in regards to issues of human identity, racist, homophobic, ect, then I really don’t see a problem.

    I teach. I carry my “climate revolution” bag to school every day, I wear AR badges and they provoke talk, they make people think and hopefully consider a different point of view. What people really need to get into their heads is that they have a lot of rights, but they don’t have a right not to be offended. We’d never make it out of the door if we began to object to everything that offends us.

    I’d say you go for it. Just because a twit in a position of authority wants to moralise, and obviously has no sense of irony or ability to pick a simple statement apart shouldn’t stand in your way. It’s his narrow mindedness, not yours. Go out and buy some plain white teachers and marker pens and start scribbling your own slogans to wear.

    My philosophy is that education should encourage independence, free thinking, curiosity and questioning, and part of that is provoking, after all it gets a response, it forms and changes opinions.

    Imagine what he’d do if you wore a “blow me up”, “fuck everyone except us” or even a “tits” t- shirt to school. Blow his mind, he sounds like he needs it.

    Good luck.

  5. If Jaz had worn the Naked Cowboys shirt to school, then yes, I could see a problem.

    But the I heart crap? It’s 2013, not 1950!

    Jaz, if you’re reading this, be happy and free in what you wear, the only limits to what you should or shouldn’t wear are in your head.

    Good luck with the nasty deputy principal!

  6. I think this is so funny that a headmaster should get offended by that, because i wore a tits shirt to high school all the time and i never got bothered for it…

  7. Tedious! i dont think so,far from it……………It seems to me the deputy head made an elephant out of a fly.As far as i’m concerned the I(love heart)crap tee shirt is NOT offensive.I suppose it depends on how small minded some people are.We should be encouraging kids to be individuals,know their own minds & develop their own sense of style…………….sounds like there’s more going on in the school for the deputy head to worry about other than a tee shirt. I’d rather see my daughter in a I(love heart)crap tee shirt,than wearing something thats showing too much flesh.Its not offensive…..read into it what you will! I hope Jaz enjoys the tee shirt you sent her Ben………..good for you!

  8. jaz, well done and very cool! this whole fuss about your t-shirt is such a joke, i can hardly believe it. enjoy your clothes and have some fun – enough crap and idiots in this world already ;-)

  9. Keep it up Jez! I have been wearing Vivienne’s clothes for 30 years, and have recieved every kind of response from repulsion, violence, and disgust to admiration, laughter (yes, I had the fig leaf leggins) and everything in between. Be fearless and express yourself in whichever way you see fit!

  10. Personally, I would have asked the headteacher if he wanted me to take my shirt off, which subsequently he would say “yes” to, at which point I’d scream at the top of my lungs that the headteacher is a pervert and wants me to take my shirt off ;) Raise some anarchy!

  11. Very late seeing this, but would love to comment on the I love crap t-shirt incident. I work in a school and have on numerous occasions worn Westwood to work, but only smart stuff as we have a dress code. The funny thing is, if it try to look on the Westwood site on my school computer, it is blocked, saying it is a terrorist web site. The funny thing is, we are a performing arts school! Makes me feel proud to be British, 57 years old, and still annoying people by wearing her clothes!

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