The fast fashion backlash
Cheap chic, doncha just love it? Well actually, no I don’t. Where once New Look, TopShop and H&M ruled, now it’s Primark, Peacocks and George that high street snobs delight in flaunting to their pals – ‘Look, £5 from Primarni!’ Yet, multiply those £5 tops and £10 dresses by 15 (two tops on payday, a quick lunchtime fix frock, another Friday evening frock to wear at the weekend…you see where this is going don’t you?), and that’s around £100 a month wasted on throwaway tat that you’ll be bored of before you’ve got it home. It’s not uncommon for many people to find clothes still unworn with tags intact weeks later because they ‘couldn’t be bothered to take it back’. Well quel surpris! At those prices, it’s hardly worth the time it takes. It’s rare to find a cheap-chic piece that you love so much you’ll wear it to death because the throwaway nature of them means they’re trend pieces designed to be worn in the here and now – you know, all those circle print tunic tops, primary-hued trapeze dresses and catwalk copy slogan tees. You won’t want to wear them in the future because their time will have passed. But how will you create your own style if all you buy is 3-month wonders? Surely the joy of having your own look is teaming new pieces with older love-worn staples from seasons past? It’s the difference between Kate Moss, the mistress of mix-and- match and Victoria Beckham, the buy-it-now queen.
In fact, the backlash has already begun. Middle market ranges like All Saints, Karen Millen and Reiss which struggled while the value brands dominated, are on the up again acknowledging that customers have become more discerning and want better quality and more individuality. And the high street is upping its game as well. River Island and Miss Selfridge’s autumn/winter collections are both big on detail and expensive fabrics (the trickiest elements for cheaper brands to emulate) raising their price points slightly to set them apart from their cheap-chic rivals. As the luxury end of the fashion hierarchy targets the uber-rich, so the high street is doing the same lower down the food chain. Surely all this is good for the planet too? You may pay more at the outset but if you’re wearing it for longer there’s less waste involved. Conclusion – buy less stuff, rediscover your old fashion favourites and learn to revive and revamp for an individual new you!
9 May, 2007 @ 11:47 pm
All too true- but the thing about creating fast fashion is that it’s also targeted towards younger markets- those who don’t have the money yet to really buy high end stuff that they’ll stick with. So I think the young and restless will still be fans of cheap and fast, but the more matured will probably start shying away…
PS- I didn’t put Kirsten and Johnny on my list because I didn’t know where to put them. I like Kirsten’s experimenting, and the thing is the color is absolutely gorgeous, but the cut is wrong… I think it was vintage YSL?
11 May, 2007 @ 11:20 am
When I buy something it’s because I love it and want to wear it forever – if it comes from Primark and only cost a tenner it doesn’t loosen my attachment to it so when the sequins fall off or the fabric splits I get depressed.
Of course there are utilitarian basics (tees, vests) that I can replace when they wear out and don’t mourn for but for anything vaguely individual – I’m in it for the long run! Great post.
Mrs F x
11 May, 2007 @ 7:54 pm
Bravo. Well said my dear. I’ve been mulling a piece on my blog on similar lines.
27 December, 2007 @ 7:07 am
u do have a point but for people who cant afford nice long lasting pieces (and cant even afford places like topshop or zara) its better than nothing. and where i live, there are no thrift stores so im pretty much stuck with forever21.com and target.com