Posts tagged ‘Shopping’

Making their ‘Mark

Having been hauled over the coals in the last few months for their atrocious sweatshop record, Primark have apparently just appointed a new ethical trading director – yet few people seem impressed.

primark

Photo: Kaustav Bhattacharya

To be honest, it wasn’t just my objections to the dubious provenance of their clothes that had me avoiding Primark – even in spite of the low prices levied against the appalling conditions of the clothing producers, I really don’t think you get much for your money in terms of style or quality.

But I have to agree with the guy from People & Planet when he says that a job appointment alone cannot change anything – and I just can’t see how Primark will be able to commit themselves truly to improving their ethical record while at the same time maintaining the ridiculously low prices they need to trade at simply to keep people coming through the door.

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March 10, 2009 at 11:21 pm Leave a comment

What took you so long?

After all the despair of fashion week, finally some respite for those of us who are both stylish and budget-conscious.

basics

Photo: kenyee

The Observer Magazine ran an entire issue today on living within a modest budget, and thankfully there was space for articles on both women’s and men’s clothes. To quote the internet tagline: “Finding clothes that last in terms of style and quality takes a little more practice than just following fashion” – all very true, but how come it’s taken them so long to realise the benefit of doing so?

March 1, 2009 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Best fit forward

The web has been buzzing this week with rumours that brand du jour Uniqlo is preparing to enter the vanguard of designer collaborations by hooking up with Steven Alan (best known in the US for his sharper-than-a-knife but pricey collections).

I first spotted it in this New York Magazine article, and then later came across a Telegraph piece extolling the virtues of a new tailored menswear collection Uniqlo has planned for Spring 2009. I can’t work out whether these two revelations are linked, especially as the brand’s press department are keeping very quiet about the Steven Alan rumours – but we can sure as hell hope that we will have something very special to look forward to over the next few months.

January 15, 2009 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Sheep in wolf’s clothing

I have previously discussed on this site to the pitfalls of slavishly following fashion trends – be they styles of clothing or individual brands.

sheep

Photo: Sasa Zivaljevic

Negotiating this particular minefield is made especially difficult by the fact that niche labels that you may have picked up on in their infancy can suddenly tip and end up on the backs every Tom, Dick and Harry in the country – or, indeed, every Josh, Seb and Harry in the case of British brand Jack Wills.

Their clothes have recently become the satorial weapon of choice for our glossy, vacuous teenagers – ‘Nike for the middle classes’ according to the Guardian – an image which has undoubtedly chased away a number of its previous customers. But while the rapid spread of an individual brand can in any instance seriously detract from its style (as opposed to fashion) currency, it will naturally be the ones making their branding the most visible that will be the hardest hit.

A dramatic increase in the use of large logos on its clothes is one obvious change that has accompanied Jack Wills’ rise to prominence (the picture heading up the Guardian article shows this in its full glory). Previously the branding was more or less limited to a discreet ‘JW’ motif, letting the inherent style of the items do the talking.

Now, of course you can argue that the emblazoning of large logos all over Jack Wills’ clothing is precisely what has prompted it to tip into the wider population. But I can only feel that sticking to their original formula – attracting customers with its quality, not its visibility – would have left the brand in a stronger style position than they are in now.

January 8, 2009 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Aim to sustain

The end of a year like 2008 is bringing with it numerous cautionary tales about how our recent attitudes to clothes shopping will have to change and how we must all strive to become ‘recessionistas’.

This recent Times article is in some ways no different, but while it is primarily warning against excessive buying so as to avoid excessive recycling, the following quote caught my eye:

If we spent exactly double the amount of money on each garment and bought exactly half as many garments, nobody would be impoverished by that.

Quality, it seems, is very much back on the agenda – and choosing your fabrics carefully will certainly go a long way towards preventing the ecological problems we currently face.

December 30, 2008 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

Looking forward to it?

We shall soon be saying goodbye to 2008 and welcoming in 2009, so the time has come for me to make the obligatory predictions for the coming 12 months.

This task is always tricky, but given the unforeseen nature of the ‘facelift’ the high street has suffered in 2008, the job has become even harder. One thing that is almost certain, however, is that we will be saying farewell to more shops, but what has not been so well publicised is the difficulties certain brands may also face.

The availability of labels that may in themselves be solid going concerns could well be limited by the fact that the stores they supply are financially insecure. If, as some people have suggested, fashion brands do become more like cash-and-carry businesses, only producing items at short demand from retailers, then their ability to produce clothes of real quality may as a consequence be reduced.

closed

Photo: Manu Mohan

All is not lost, though, as 2009 looks like it will be the year in which the value of clothes will be scrutinised more than ever before (for more on this, see the linked Times article). With more collaborations between designers and our favourite high street shops (Matthew Williamson is next up at H&M) and the credit crunch doing a fine job in some cases of separating the wheat from the chaff, I expect the new year to have more and more people hankering after what this blog is aimed at promoting: well-made, unfussy clothes at affordable prices.

December 30, 2008 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Sales hitch

I have up until now only made passing reference to the utility of simple, inexpensive style in the current climate. However, recent events have prompted me to be a little more vocal about it.

You cannot have failed to notice that every shop on every high street has for the past few weeks been desperately trying to tempt you into propping up the ailing economy by splurging on their own merchandise. Sales, just like love at this time of year, are all around.

I have talked about how to play the sales before – saying that they provide the perfect opportunity to pick up great clothes cheaply, not cheap clothes in great numbers – but I think there’s something more important at stake here.

Keeping in mind that looking and feeling great does not have to be accompanied by a hefty price tag will surely allow us all to enjoy what may have to be a toned-down festive period this year. The sales may be working towards a similar goal, but swapping the mad-dash consumerism they inevitably prolong for a more nuanced approach to sating your style needs is likely to pay long-term dividends as the credit crunch continues to bite.

December 15, 2008 at 2:23 pm Leave a comment

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Welcome to the site dedicated to the virtues of simple, inexpensive and ethical style for guys. My blog posts are designed to keep you up-to-date on all things topical, but don't forget also to check out the advice pages and external links for immediate ideas on how to achieve A Simpler Style.

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