Thursday, 18 September 2008

I shop therefore I am

The beautiful Lucy Wills

Equador the magician

CND necklace

Mini fish n chips

The British Library held an event last night as part of London Fashion Week to explore the links between ecology, fair trade, sustainability and fashion. I'm sure it was very interesting. I missed it. Turned up in time for the mini fish and chips in a tiny newspaper cone and the drinks.
My friend Lucy Wills was showing her recycled jewellery designs particularly a beautiful 'CND' necklace. Lucy is trying to encourage people to create rather than consume. Fashion regards itself as a creative industry after all, but so much of it concentrates on a) trying to get people to look the same and b) buy things.
As Vivienne Westwood said:
"People are being trained by the media to be perfect consumers of mass manufactured rubbish".
I wore a vintage Victorian black lace and jet cape which I picked up at a flea market in France this summer for 20 euros. Wearing vintage is one way of recycling. Some anti-fur types for instance, justify wearing fur if it is vintage. 
Clothing is getting cheaper all the time. I admit to liking Primarché (Primark to you darling) just as much as the next girl, but of course to be that price one assumes it is produced by underpaid, underage workers. (However, Primark has a code of conduct regarding these issues.) 
There have been concerns that London Fashion Week will be reduced to 4 days to accommodate the schedules of American Vogue. London is a fashion centre. Trends start on London streets, led by our vibrant tribal youth culture and British tolerance of eccentricity.You can literally wear what you like here and no one bats an eyelid.(1) Many of the Paris fashion houses are headed by English designers. Our fashion colleges are the best in the world... for instance St. Martins where John Galliano, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen trained. 
"Because fashion is so indicative of the political and social climate in which we live, what we wear will always be a symptom of our environment." Alexander McQueen.
The close-up magician Equador was there looking exotic and showing off his tricks to 'modules' (models), tall thin women who are no better looking than you or I except for the fact that they are tall and thin. 

(1) So unlike the years I spent in Paris, cowering under the judgmental stares of the French. I almost ended up wearing padded velvet hairbands, fake Hermés scarves and faux Chanel cardigans like the rest of them.


  1. I agree with Vivienne completely! That's partly why I took to desinging my own T-shirts.

    But if the British are supposed to be tolerent of eccentricity, I dread to think, what other countries are like! (Nicky from Sweden said something about that in my own comments box)

  2. We are super tolerant here. Plus our police are wonderful in comparison with any other police force. No, I'm not kidding. Spend any time in another country and you learn that we are actually damn lucky here.
    Unfortunately Thatcher and Blair have made things worse...ruined what was good about Britain: the BBC, no identity cards, supporting the underdog.
    I think that's changing here. It's all about being a winner now. Ugh so American.
    I'm reading "Lessons from the land of pork scratchings" by Greg Gutfield at the moment. He is an American author who lived in Britain for two years, during which time he grew to love warm beer, grey skies and shabbiness.

  3. Americans appreciate this country more than we do! Especially since the Patriot Acts. Since the Thatcher-Blair regime this Big Brother world has been the bane of my life! We've definitely become not only more used to authoritarianism, but the winner-takes-all social Darwinist ethic. It has left many people destitute without sympathy (See my article "Hard Work by Polly Toynbee")

  4. This very evening I found a suede jacket discarded on the street (at first I thought it was after a mugging, but then I saw a selection of other household goods and realised it was simply left as rubbish). I have yet to decide it is fashionable or not and I guess it is not retro, but I always feel a little proud of saving good clothing that would go to waste - my old leather jacket is on the way out and I would never normally buy suede - but I do like a jacket that will last and last.

    Sorry for long comment - should have put it in my blog over at but not got into swing of blogging and linking fluently (yet).


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