The last year has been spent in a world of consumerism excess. The job consists of tempting people to buy things that they really don't need and if they do buy them, won't keep for very long before they decide to replace them all again.
That'll be fashion then.
It has served to highlight how silly the cycle is and how much money we are prepared to spend to buy an illusive 'moment' that is as fleeting as it is costly.
It has also made me a bit depressed. My last job in fitness, had terrible pay, but it made me feel good, I helped people to feel better about themselves and everything was positive. Now we make more money by making people feel insecure and we hope that they find short term redemption by buying clothes.
When I started this blog (pre fashion), I was an innocent. I posted pictures of outfits, pleased to share new discoveries, affordable, amazing quality vintage or hand embroidered tunics from India at a fraction of the price you would normally expect to pay. I worked in the fitness industry and when it came to buying clothes, I just chose nice fabrics (linen, silk, cashmere), colours that I liked or suited my skin tone and after years fighting the bulge, I chose shapes that flattered my shape, aiming to trim my thick waist and create the illusion of femininity by disguising my robust shoulders.
The first few months in a high fashion environment were quite an eye opener. To start with, no one looks what the average person might consider to be 'nice'. Beautiful girls hid their natural charms under cavernous layers or scary make up. The one girl in office that I always thought looked the best was written off by the buying team as 'commercial' or 'mainstream'. The rules of engagement were completely different in this world.
Nobody wears what suits them, they just wear what is 'new' and what is 'now'. It felt like we catered for a 23 year old who lives in Shoreditch, earns £100k a year and goes out every night (and of course she is a size 8 and has perfect proportions).
It's been enough to make me completely rethink how I shop, why I shop and how consumerism defines so much of our lives.
1. I have gone full circle from wanting to sell all of my old couture made clothes on Ebay to realising, I will never buy quality like this again. Some of them may be 25 years old, but they ooze quality in a way that even the more expensive contemporary designers simply do not as they chase the ££s selling poorly made items at over-inflated prices.
2. Fashion is a bubble, it exists only in the mind of the beholder. Someone in my team in the office has a completely different take on it to a mum at the school gate. By nature of the job we are buying 12 months ahead of the current season, so our reference points are different to people who aren't particularly interested in the subject. An outfit that I might think appropriate for work would look ridiculous at a sports match where no one would 'get' the boxes that I might be ticking and just think that I look bonkers.
3. The last year has confirmed how I have always bought. It's better to think about 'appropriateness' as the rule of thumb rather than 'Fashion'. By all means go for sequins and thigh skimming Herve Leger in St Tropez, but in the Cotswolds stick to boots, skinny jeans and a jacket whatever is happening 'fashion' is now so quick that it has little effect on real life. All I am ever going to consider when I dress in the future is 'Where am I going?What will the other people there expect? How can I make everyone else feel comfortable?'
4. Ignore what it says on the label about where something is made. Many items are now 'finished' in the country stated and 80% of the work has been done elsewhere. In Italy there are now Chinese factories that are populated with seasonal immigrant workers paid in Chinese currency. In all but name the items may as well have been made anywhere in mainland China.
5. Buy less, buy it to last forever, buy colours and shapes that you love and you know to suit you and your body shape.
6. Buy from shops that you want to support and add a touch of magic to your locality. If you have a great little boutique that adds colour and interest to your high street, you have to spend some money there to keep it.
9. Try to make yourself spend MORE on an item than you are comfortable with. It will make you really think hard about how much you want it.
10. If you have everything you need, intend to buy only 3-5 items a year.
I'm only preaching to myself, so that if I get carried away in the future, I can read this and collect my thoughts. For someone with a really clear vision and a laudably puritanical view to shopping check out Lady Sarah. I hope to reach her purist ideals one day.
What do you think, are you a fan of fast fashion? Is the thrill of the chase too exciting to let go or could you give up buying your fashion fix?