Tuesday, 27 April 2010

April Comment: Archive and Retrieve

London is witnessing some fine spring weather at the moment. It has warmed up so much that I have finally stopped wearing fur coats (for now anyway) and pulled out the spring jackets and macs from the wardrobe. Whilst getting in the spring cleaning mood I decided to have a sift through my 'Archive' bags (i.e. every item of clothing I have ever owned and loved since 1987) and I was lucky enough to find and still fit into some classic, key items out of the Ikea storage bags hidden under the bed and in the loft. Minimalism is the buzz word for this season and for the coming autumn/winter,with a particular reference to the key designers from the nineties. In my bags unfortunately, I can't boast vintage Helmut Lang (Yes, vintage, as the recent Selfridges exhibition declared 'The Nineties are Vintage') or timeless piece from Margiela, although I did find some on-trend gems in those storage bags. A pair of 1970s St Michael off-white high waisted flares to channel that spring 2010 YSL and Celine vibe. And a peachey/nude silver embroidered Tocca dress from 1996. The colour and the A-line shape of this dress make it perfectly in keeping with the mood of this spring/summer. And it feels so good to revive pieces from my own collection. It cost the earth precisely zero carbon miles for me to climb up a ladder to my loft and it cost my wallet precisely 0.00p also to get a couple of key items for my spring look. No new energy was used nor were any chemicals were pumped in the air today to produce the fabrics or the garments too. It is totally cool right now to retrieve your old clothes and recycle old ideas. If they were stylish and cool back in the day, then why shouldn't they be just as good now? In fact it is being encouraged by those in the fashion industry to delve into the recent past. Just look at next autumn/winter Prada collection. The prints have been sourced from it's 90s pattern archives. Its like saying if you have one in storage don't buy new, start wearing it again. And oddly even those whose livelihood relies on the sales of fashion are steering people away from buying so much. Julie Gilhart, the Fashion Director of Barney's New York said recently 'The rules of what you buy are now different. Buy quality, know what you are buying, buy things that are going to last a long time and that you're going to wear frequently. It's antiquated to say "I'm going to buy my spring wardrobe" now it's "I think I'm going to buy pieces that I can wear for as long as possible" and even our very own grand dame of fashion Vivienne Westwood advised people recently to stop buying more clothes . At last weeks EstEthica question and answer session on World Earth Day, a group of inspirational figures from the fashion industry discussed the need for change in our clothes shopping habits. Grazia's Melanie Rickey, Yasmin Sewell creative consultant/buyer and model Laura Bailey were amongst a select panel who are aiming to bring the awareness of ethics to the fashion industry. Their advice was to stop the fashion frenzy and reassess our value of good integral design.Having saved and looked after my old clothes over the years I am helping to be ethical today. And by only buying what is quality and absolutely necessary today I am helping future generations and others after me become ethical. As a self-confessed fashion obsessive I have been collecting and curating my collection wardrobe for over 20 years now. But its never too late to start collating a clothing collection.
Pictures: Top- My beloved Tocca dress
Middle- Discussing ethics at EstEthica with me just visible at the far right in a denim skirt I have owned since I was 15. It was vintage when I bought it too. How apt for the day!
Bottom- The EstEthica Panel from left to right- Laura Bailey, Yasmin Sewell, Orsola de Castro, Baroness Lola Young, Melanie Rickey, Charty Durrant. EstEthica photos by Alistair Guy

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