I’d not say this is exactly surprising

Fashion, eh?

Fashion has become a dirty word – and believe me, it hurts. Not long ago, fashion was the VIP room of popular culture and movie stars and politicians flocked to the front row. Now it has come to symbolise everything that is wrong with the modern world – from carbon emissions to global inequality and from crass materialism to unrealistic beauty standards. Fashion is not the only polluting industry, or the only morally dubious one. But even if you love fashion, as I do, it’s hard to deny that it tracks in the 99th percentile for pretty much all of the most problematic contemporary issues.

The actual problem is with fast fashion. That is, it’s cheap. Which means that fashion is no longer performative at its main duty – being able to identify at a glance, the Eloi from the Morlocks, the withit and glam from the proles.

So, of course, fashion is changing so that this base and only important role is reinforced. Concentrate on the price, peasants. For only then can it possibly work as a means of distinguishing those who can afford the price and those who cannot.

14 thoughts on “I’d not say this is exactly surprising”

  1. Price but also quality.
    In my younger days, I bought expensive clothes which then fell apart after first wash/dry clean.
    Lesson learnt, older and wiser. I no longer frequent the achingly hip and trendy establishments such as M&S, Debenhams, British Hone Stores…

  2. It’s not just about money.

    Twenty years ago you could still find cheap knock-offs, but you had to know someone who knows someone. That in itself is a distinguishing feature of Eloi vs Morlocks: the former are well-connected, even if not materially wealthy; whereas the latter are poorly-connected, even though they might make good money.

    Today the catwalk fashions can be ordered online for pennies: you don’t need to know anybody at all.

  3. Does fashion really exist now? There’s all sorts of changes to clothing that happened because of new demands and new technology, but what’s been done since the 1980s? A lot of fashion today just seems to be recycling old stuff.

  4. I once said that I dressed like a ragamuffin and drove an ancient Landrover. “Ah, you must be a Duke” was the reply.

  5. The real divide is surely not between those who can or can’t afford but between those who are or are not so fucking insecure that they give a shit. The coolest fashion is someone gardening in stained dungarees or picking the kids up in their pyjamas because they just don’t give a fuck what some up their own arse fashion victim thinks. Rise above.

  6. Precisely. The word “fashion” has become so synonymous with “tailoring” and “dressmaking” that people forget what it really means. The manner in which you dress, and the way your clothes are made are all about setting yourself aside from hoi polloi. Can’t do that so easily if they’re all copying you the next morning.

    Oh for the days of oriental silks, Belgian lace, and the peasantry clad in home-made sackloth. Hey, what if we put it about that machines are bad, and importing stuff even worse… ?

    “I once said that I dressed like a ragamuffin and drove an ancient Landrover. “Ah, you must be a Duke” was the reply.”

    I always tell people that’s the look I’m going for. Or, as my grandfather used to say when my gran would pick some fault or other with his appearance, “Toffs are careless”.

  7. Off topic but I’m delighted to find out that due to the grasping Scots tax rates, those North of the border will, once the new NIC rates kick in, have a marginal tax/NIC rate between c£43.6k and c£52.7k of 54.25%.

    The wealthy Scottish elite earning such vast sums deserve it.

  8. Thanks Patrick. I’m glad to know that when I mow the lawn in my rotten old shorts held up by the elastic in a torn pair of underpants, I’m the height of fashion.

  9. Our nearest city has what purports to be an up-market department store selling some of the well-known aspirational clothing brands. And the thing is they are universally vulgar. Garish patterns, prominent logos.

    Britain gave up C&A for this?

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