I'm like, well in tune with modern culture and stuff

I've never really written an article about fashion before but here is one, in it's entirety. You can also read it in Fi Magazine or hang out over on their page here. Fi (Fashion Insider) is a relatively new London based fashion magazines which you can purchase at various fantastic London book shops. Details on the website or over at their blog.

It's not just fashion, it's recycling. All contemporary bases covered. And there's pictures.

The Spring Fling
Retro Glamour straight out of the Closet

In an attempt to hasten the advent of Spring I have recently forced myself into the epic task of going through all my old clothes and giving the most awful pieces to a charity shop. As it turns out, such wonders as a pair of red checked punk trousers, complete with a myriad of zips and Korn stickers, that a sixteen-year-old me bodged together (predominantly with safety pins), end up going in the bin – it seeming more charitable not to share them with the world.

Inevitably I begin to reminisce about what trends I used to find desirable, and now, deplorable. What’s a bit scary is that some of the undeniably grotesque 1990’s errors would now cost thirty quid or so in a vintage shop. Is no one else terrified that their nostalgically remembered childhood puffa jackets are now branded as ‘retro,’ a word which instantly makes you feel aged by twenty years? I cannot help but feel that this is all happening too soon.

Of course, as soon as I have got rid of these clothes with the triumphant exclamation of ‘SICK! Why did I buy that?’ I have the unquenchable urge to instantly go shopping for some more: clothes that will make a statement about the person I now am, propelling me towards success in 2010. However, my wallet doesn’t agree. And, given the economic and ecological climate it would seem prudent to re-use what we already have available instead of buying more shoddy, sweat-shop crafted items. This leads me to my parents’ wardrobe, where I decide to do a bit more Spring-cleaning.

My parents are great collectors, or as my father says, ‘hoarders.’ Regardless of name it does mean that they have a surprising array of antiquated clothing marvels. Some of the garments I come across are made from fabrics that don’t exist any more, whereas others look as if they come from another world altogether. There are 1960’s dresses in vibrant graphic prints, skinny Mod ties made of something called Terylene and several fur coats from the 1940’s. The beauty of these items is how well they’ve lasted and how enduringly stylish they are. Before mass production made clothing cheap and disposable, people would buy clothes thoughtfully made and designed to last. Inside jackets and hats I find ‘Made In England’ printed, a mark of fairness and authenticity that is so seldom seen in modern high street clothing. Some even state the town where they were manufactured by a local company that now no longer exists.

My finds are eclectic to say the least, but with a little bit of adapting and imagination they are suddenly very interesting, individual garments. This culmination of deliberately clashing, culturally reminiscent concepts, are rather popular in fashion at the moment. It is evident that Lady GaGa has done her bit in successfully reinventing the Dynasty look with the re-emergence of vast shoulder pads, sequinned dresses and 70’s Charlie Angel’s-style body suits. Although she would then team this with baroque teacups and Kermit the Frog dolls – a truly post-modern icon indeed. The 2010 Spring/ Summer catwalks have been favouring whites and beiges. Lacoste’s heavily inspired retro tennis collection at New York Fashion Week could be almost identically replicated from my parents’ and grand parents’ cast-offs.

On her blog ‘Style Rookie,’ the thirteen-year-old fashion darling (and my personal favourite aesthetics commentator), Tavi, has been creatively adapting her parents’ clothes since she started the now famous web page a couple of years ago. She mixes her father’s cast off socks and jumpers with charity shop finds and designer gifts to create interesting and chic pieces of reclaimed and innovative style. She is a collector of cool ideas. And if she can’t find them, she’ll make them. Perhaps, given the times in which we live, this is a more moral attitude to fashion, and, dare I say it, a more engaging and intelligent one. When we reconsider what we do, we are forced to think about it, as if it is new again, bringing back excitement to old ideas – as well as old clothes.

So, while doing your Spring-clean for new looks this season, my advice is to do it the Tavi way. Who knows, you might make-do-and-mend yourself something as surprisingly stylish as my parents’ wardrobe.

If you're a blogger and you haven't heard of Tavi or the Sartorialist then you should be ashamed of yourself.

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