Contemporary fashion – heirloom pieces or destined for landfill?

Scarf-1993-coat-vintageFrom the spring of this year, the British women’s fashion brand ‘Jigsaw’ has been running an ad campaign with the strapline “For life not landfill”. There has been a media wall running along the walkway at Oxford Circus underground station showing Jigsaw posters in front of an enormous photograph of a landfill mountain.

Media wall ad - Jigsaw, Oxford Circus underground station, London. Spring 2015
Media wall ad – Jigsaw, Oxford Circus underground station, London.
Spring 2015

It is an interesting theme for a contemporary fashion brand to highlight. The snappy slogan, “For life not landfill”, also appears at the top of a series of magazine advertisements showing vintage clothing paired with a new, Jigsaw garment. Naturally, in other parts of the world and in our past the idea that we would consign cloth to landfill would be an outrage. Clothing was worn, restyled, passed down, patched and repaired. Textiles were routinely recycled.

Jigsaw magazine advertisement. Sunday Times Style supplement. September 2015
Jigsaw magazine advertisement. Sunday Times Style supplement.
September 2015

My mother was a great collector of scarves and when she died I inherited some of her ‘heirloom’ pieces which poignantly (but I guess not really surprisingly) included some of my early work. So here is my version of ‘For life not landfill’. Top of this blog post photo shows silk scarf (1993) paired with my vintage navy blue wool and cashmere coat purchased secondhand in 1988. And, below, same crepe de chine silk scarf with contemporary linen shirt and suede skirt finished with a leather belt (1975).

Simplicity pattern 1953.
Simplicity pattern 1953.

But our best family clothing heirloom is a brick-red, mid-weight wool waistcoat made by my mother in the 1950s. She made this waistcoat and also a skirt from a wool coat. She had originally bought the coat from a shop on Oxford Street, London, when she first started work. She passed on her waistcoat to me when I was a teenager.

I would post a photo of it, but the waistcoat is now with my daughter back in London. However, I’ve still got the original paper pattern which my mother used. So, that’s a coat restyled to a waistcoat and worn by three generations – 1948, 1979 and 2015!

And, finally, a quick reminder whilst we are on the theme of buying quality, so-called heirloom pieces, it is ‘Buy British Day’ this Saturday, October 3rd which coincidentally was my mother’s birthday.

Buy-British-Day-Saturday-3-October-2015

Make it British on Buy British Day

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Italian favourites – laughing, posing, eating

On a daily basis there are things that are uplifting and then there are things that irritate. And, sometimes those two responses meet in a head on crash. I don’t want to have a huge rant about this, but I couldn’t resist making a comment. Firstly, I love the women’s designs from the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana. I love the rich, ornate fabrics, put together in irrepressible combinations and finished off with an expert attention to detail. Haute couture by its very nature isn’t mass market, but its long tentacles spread influence across the world of fashion through lesser, mass-produced merchandise embellished with a luxury brand name. As with much fashion retailing collections are supported by extensive, glossy ad campaigns. Last year’s Dolce & Gabbana’s campaign was a take on a vintage version of Italy, recycling the 1950s, ΓΌber cool, stylish look. Sparkling models grouped together displaying a youthful, exuberant version of living. Fine. Gorgeous.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2013.
Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2013.

This year’s campaign’s launch photograph, not so fine. Beautiful people, beautiful clothes, beautifully shot, but one huge ERROR a female model is shown eating bread!! I mean let’s face it, it’s almost headline news to see a model eating, but blatantly eating white bread what is going on? Or, hang on, is this a deliberately provocative photograph? As beautiful as it all is, I just find seeing an industry infamous for the ‘size 0’ phenomenon parading stick thin models posed pretending to eat refined carbs a bit rich for my taste.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2014.
Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2014.