HIGH FASHION IS FOR EVERYONE
this is a paid for collaboration with Selfridges
Somewhere just outside of Manchester in 2003, 11 year old me was getting ready for school and putting on a huge Volcom backpack that I thought was the coolest thing on earth, it didn’t matter that my school uniform was pea green and that I had no idea what Volcom was I just knew that I loved that backpack.
Fastforward to 2019 and here I am, getting ready for the day only to be putting on a Balenciaga backpack – the Volcom one was a similar size except now I’m older, I’ve grown a lot and know everything about this brand – Balenciaga – there’s a deep connection to the brand in my head, reflected in my personal style and although not everything else in my wardrobe is Balenciaga there’s a definite nod to Demna and the world he’s created whilst at the Helm of the brand. Funny isn’t it how clothes can make us think?
Never in a million years when I was wearing my backpack to school when I was in year 7 did I think that I would one day be wearing designer backpacks. I feel like they just didn’t really exist, well to an 11 year old at least. I mean why would a young kid concern themselves with high end clothing? accessories? Shoes? I was just concerned about when the next Pokemon game was coming out (some things never change). However walking down Oxford street in central London today I saw many youths (oh god am I really that old?) draped in designer brands, it’s not just the fact that they we were wearing these expensive brands it’s the fact that they were so style conscious – they were experimenting with style and having fun with it, investing in pieces and making decisions.
Luxury items in general are an everyday sighting here in London, I feel in recent years with technology and social media at our fingertips it’s easier than ever to join in on the world of luxury. Gone are the days where you’d have to actually enter a high end store where you might feel judged or spoken down to by a sarcastic employee because now it’s all done in a ‘click’.
Social media has significantly changed our perception of luxury, waiting times are minimal with a lot of designers making their collections shoppable instantly. Instagram certainly plays a huge role in trend forecasting and giving birth to certain subcultures of style. A lot of huge designers and heritage brands are looking to collaborate with the younger streetwear brands to show that they’re also involved and hoping to stay relevant.
Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking but Joel, not everyone can afford luxury and this is true and I completely get it. Not everyone can afford luxury but people are still buying it, that’s what’s striking a chord with me even more – people that don’t really have the funds are saving up to invest in a pair of high end sneakers. Kids are starting sneaker reselling businesses to profit from the hype, guys rotate high end pieces via grailed and so forth. People are finding a way to incorporate luxury pieces into their life – My wardrobe is mainly made up of high street brands – the only thing I really spend my money on in Luxury is bags, shoes and accessories. I feel like these kinds of statement pieces can completely change up an outfit.
Luxury fashion itself has done a 180* and made an effort to be more inclusive rather than exclusive. Inclusivity usually refers to expanded size ranges or to not discriminate whereas there is a lot more that can be done in that area when I say inclusivity here what I mean is – really bringing the audience closer to the brand. Making you feel a part of the community/tribe.
Some people are unsure about the shift in the industry, Raf Simons was interviewed for System magazine back in 2015 and said “Fashion became pop. I can’t make up my mind if that’s a good or a bad thing,” he admits. “The only thing I know is that it used to be elitist. And I don’t know if one should be ashamed or not to admit that maybe it was nicer when it was more elitist, not for everybody. Now high fashion is for everybody.”
I’m extremely against anyone being elitist in the fashion/style space, fashion can have such a sense of self-importance that can give a very ugly face to fashion but we need to remember that it’s you who’s important, it’s your words and actions that define your character not who or what you wear. So I’m happy that high fashion is more accessible, it’s great to see everyone playing dress up and experimenting with their style, it’s what fashion should be about – having fun.