As ever feverish excitement and frenetic activity pervaded London Fashion Week/ Weekend. I’ve concentrated on five specific trends to update you. Additionally there are a variety of features such as tasselling on bags and clothes, colour palettes, block heeled sock boots etc which have become part of the season’s look but buying clothes you genuinely love and will wear over and over is probably more important than slavishly following trends that come and go and aren’t quite ‘you’. It’s fun to add in a touch of something current and fun but more than anything your clothes need to reflect you at your best and to say something about you as a person that you’re happy for the rest of the world to know!
I’m going to share titbits to help you update your look without going overboard but first… something to think about.
The fashion industry contributes a massive £44billion a year to the UK’s GDP – double what it was a few years before that. It is a source of employment for many young creatives. But it’s also an industry that contributes massively to our planet’s destruction and to the ill health of people working within in it and possibly those of us who buy it. The USA’s Environmental Protection Agency considers that seven of the top 15 pesticides used on cotton in the US are ‘possible’, ‘likely’, ‘probable’ or ‘known’ human carcinogens. These harmful chemicals pollute the air, water, soil and get into the fabrics we put next to our skin everyday. In California, it is illegal to feed the leaves, stems, and short fibres of cotton known as 'gin trash' to livestock, because of the concentrated levels of pesticide residue. Instead, this gin trash is used to make furniture, mattresses, tampons, swabs, and cotton balls! The fashion designer, Katherine Hamnett teamed up with Fairtrade Gold Jewellery producers, Cred, a few years back to produce a t-shirt bearing the words, ‘How you spend controls what happens on the planet.’
The industry is vital to economies and to the earning ability of the people who work within it. Maintaining your status by keeping on top of current trends fuels the demand for cheap clothes so that clothing has become throwaway in our bid to keep up. As a lover of clothes and the whole dressing up thing, I’m beginning to question how and where I indulge my love of beautiful clothing. So as I review these latest trends here’s some things to bear in mind and I acknowledge that it’s something I have yet to be able to fully embrace:
* Look for Organic Cotton which uses no harmful pesticides or synthetic dyes, keeping the environment safe and free from pollution.
* Look for companies who practice Fair Trade, which means providing fair wages to local workers and treating them with dignity and respect, in a safe, healthy workplace.
* Polyester and nylon are made from petroleum and contribute to increased global warming.
* Garments that are advertised as being anti-shrink, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antistatic, anti-odour, anti-flame, anti-wrinkle, or anti-stain are likely to contain chemicals not tested for safety on humans.
Looking at the season’s trends, I recognise I already have a few things in my wardrobe which enable me to give a nod in that direction. If you’ve invested in understanding your body shape and colouring you will be saving yourself money in the long run by buying things that work for you. Though they may fade from current fashion for a while it can be worth hanging onto items which you love because they work and can be brought out again and dressed in different ways. I have found I already have a handbag, a top, a couple of scarves and a funky McQueen pinafore dress which I intend to work around, adding in just one or two pieces to keep things up to date.
Here’s what to look for:
* Animal Print rarely seems to leave centre stage and leopard, cheetah, snake and zebra are stalking the stores as clothing, footwear and accessories this winter. There’s something for everyone in soft sherberty hues, warm savannah tones and black and white dramatic contrast. Add a little in in a scarf, bag or trim somewhere and you’re done!
* Clashing prints, always a little rebellious and anarchic to me. You have to be quite bold to do this. An easier version might be blocks of the bold, bright colours which are about – if you have the dramatic personality and brightness of colour to do that. Large amounts of clashing colours can be height diminishing so take note if you are especially petite and get your heels out – or do with a block of colour in a piece of jewellery or a strong coloured bag
* Punk - with the usual culprits responsible for unleashing fashion’s wild child! – McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, House of Holland – easy to find in jewellery, studded tops, jackets, handbags and shoes for a ‘hint of’ and more lavishly applied in hero pieces such as zip detailed denim, leather skirts, trousers, bold tartan and lush velvet.
* Retro – from the 60s – 80s it’s back in a big way. Think floppy hats and drifty printed dresses, cowboy style ankle boots, denim playsuits and pleated midi skirt and colours that take you back to these decades – powder blue shades, soft mustard and psychedelic prints.
* And finally Marsala – a beautiful rich grounding, natural tone – think Marsala sherry, a full bodied meal it combines a range of delicious red shades that works for warm and cool toned people either in head to toe pieces for a dramatic evening look or as a jacket or top to update your existing wardrobe. It is a colour with lots of possibilities – even in make up.
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