It seems you can’t walk into any High Street store at the moment without having deja vu – you can walk into Topshop and see nearly an exact array of items a bit later in Zara, and then again in Primark. In recent years, High Street stores have less been competing to see who can produce and deliver originality within their clothing and more racing to see who can get the same clothes into their shop window first. Every shop seems to repeat the others and it brings us to ask, is High Street fashion a bore?
Most high street retailers, all promote the idea of fast fashion. This is the term used by retailers to express how they take inspiration from the catwalk and use this as a base to quickly create affordable clothing inspired by the latest trends from designers. Yes, in some ways this is a great way of being able to get a lookalike of a top that was seen on the catwalk and would have cost you a substantial amount of money for a fraction of the price but if every high street retailer does this, then of course we are going to see the same thing in high street shops over and over and over again – and it really is boring.
Fashion should be a way of being able to express ourselves through what we wear, but how are we supposed to do that if affordable High Street shops all latch onto the same trends and produce nearly identical pieces of clothing? It’s almost as if High Street fashion takes us back to school, where we all had to wear the same uniform – no originality or uniqueness. If a particular print, fabric, shape, whatever it may be, is seen on the catwalk, retailers will replicate it and subsequently we as consumers, will buy and wear it. Then, before we know it, we’re all dressed identically in the same pattern, shape and style, because that’s all that high street fashion has been able to offer us; it’s a domino effect.
With all this being said it brings us to ask, where are all the original ideas? Well, it would seem that in order to buy anything unique you’ve got to go straight to the source – designer, and let’s face it, most of us can’t afford clothes that cost more than our monthly food shops per item. Perhaps this lack of originality within High Street fashion explains why so many of us now turn to websites and apps like eBay, Depop, Etsy and Asos marketplace for our inspiration. On sites like these, you are able to purchase something new, or preloved goods from independent brands or people wanting to find a new home for their unused items. On top of that, charity shops and vintage shops are becoming increasingly popular. Not only does shopping this way mean we are supporting smaller brands/individuals and charities, but we aren’t buying into the High Street world of fast fashion and are able to find individual and unique clothes that don’t cost an arm and a leg.