Victoria Beckham, an icon of British culture

Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham, Photograph: Carlo Allegri

When the New Years Honours were announced in January it was no surprise a host of sporting stars featured after Great Britain’s best Olympic games performance in the previous summer. But the honours were about more than just sport. 1,197 people across the country were commended for their services to British industries. Including arts, sports, business and fashion, the list features celebrities to unsung community heroes and is a celebration of the commitment they have to their profession. One person who has been recognised for their contribution to the fashion industry is former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham. At forty-three years old Beckham has had an enviable career, but not without its challenges. Here we celebrate why Beckham has finally earned her honour alongside cultural acclaim.

Spice Girls
Spice Girls, Photograph: Carlo Allegri

When Beckham debuted in the Spice Girls first ever single Wannabe, it would have been unthinkable that 21 years later she would be recognised as an OBE winning British Fashion Designer. But that is not to say that the Spice Girls were short of fashion moments. Their 90s trendsetting contributed to their cultural impact and legacy and Beckham was trademarked as the Posh Spice, known for her statement little black dresses always teemed with the highest heels. Throughout their career the Spice Girls were advocates of the “girl power” social phenomenon and the revival of global pop music and Beckham as member of the band would always be celebrated as a 1990’s music icon.

Aiming to continue with musical success, Beckham spent four years attempting a solo career after the Spice Girls disbanded in the millennium. However a noughties musical icon she was not. After much critique from the UK media the singer turned to fashion to save a dwindling reputation.

The launch of an eponymous fashion label was the start of a new career path for Beckham, and with the UK Fashion industry having a “unique spirit and energy that ignites the imagination of the world” a career in fashion presented a perfect opportunity for Beckham to reinvent herself as a cultural icon for a different reason. Her first collection received glowing appraisal with Vogue commenting “it’s one of the hottest things going in New York this week.” Of perhaps most important to Beckham was that her designs were a hit for their stylish appeal and not because of her celebrity association and, after her collection debut in 2008, the British fashion designer has never looked back. Nearly a decade later Beckham is now gracing the high street with her designs, giving the masses a chance to purchase award winning fashion at affordable prices.

Over the past twenty-one years Beckham has overhauled her career, alongside raising four children and moving across the world in support of her husband as a professional footballer. Throughout all this she’s been under the media spotlight, a spotlight that can be unforgiving when mistakes are made. Therefore, the OBE she received a few weeks ago was the icing on a cultural cake for Beckham who has battled to achieve her successes in the creative industries that are always open to critique. The solo career slump only made Beckham more determined and she can now enjoy her new honoured status knowing that any challenges she faced contributed to her ultimate success.

From musical girl power to fashion icon Beckham is a celebration of culture in Britain and her OBE is well deserved, if not a few years late.

Photo Credits: Carlo Allegri/Reuters, The Guardian.

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