The Revival of Vivienne Westwood and NANA

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Perhaps we can’t call it a “revival,” because neither Vivienne Westwood nor NANA have ever faded from the spotlight. However, there has been a recent resurgence of interest in an intersection between the English punk fashion brand and the Japanese shōjo manga series — an unlikely combination at first glance, but completely understandable upon further research. 

NANA follows the unconventional friendship between two women both named Nana, who both move to Tokyo at the age of 20, fueled by love and ambition. Nana Komatsu drops everything to pursue a life with her boyfriend, while Nana Osaki aims to become a professional rock musician with her band. After a fateful encounter on the train and during apartment hunting, the two become roommates while struggling to fight for their dreams. 

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Vivienne Westwood’s designs made modern punk and new wave fashions mainstream, starting in the 1970s. Her style is deeply connected with music and the idea of showing off imperfections and the inner workings of one’s mind. Her iconic orb logo can still be seen in many jewelry boxes today. 

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So what is the connection between the two? Ai Yazawa, the creator of NANA, attended a fashion school before becoming a manga artist; NANA was a love letter to the London punk scene and the rebellious spirit that Vivienne Westwood embodies. Nana Osaki is stylish, headstrong, and reliable; she is the vocalist of a punk rock band, Black Stones, and she is a fan of the Sex Pistols, the band managed by Westwood’s ex-boyfriend Malcolm McLaren.

Many of NANA’s characters can be seen wearing iconic Vivienne Westwood pieces. During their first encounter, Nana Osaki is seen wearing the Armour Ring, and Nana Komatsu points it out as a limited edition version. Items such as the Love Jacket, Three Row Bas Relief Choker, and Yasmine Bag all make an appearance throughout the series. One of the most iconic items of NANA is the Orb Lighter, which symbolizes the relationship between the characters Shinichi Okazaki and Layla Serizawa. Westwood’s name is even written into one of the most iconic lines of the series: “Vivienne Westwood, The Sex Pistols, Seven Stars, coffee with milk and strawberry cake. And Ren flowers. Nana’s favorite things never change.”

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The two have become increasingly popular on TikTok, with many being inspired by Vivienne Westwood’s style, especially those showcased in NANA. Why you may wonder, is a brand from the ‘70s and a manga series on an infinite hiatus since 2009 gaining traction now? Perhaps it’s because both had futuristic approaches and a distinct style that they managed to stay unique and irreplaceable, and with the rise in popularity of the Y2K and retro aesthetic, people are looking to bring back style from the past. The intersection of Vivienne Westwood and NANA revolutionizes fashion while making a statement for itself: unique style will make an impact in any decade, in every form.