This fabulous article from the Times Online talks with Mary Portas, the self proclaimed “queen of shops” and star of the BBC’s similarly named show. I’m a fan of the show, and I really dig both Portas’s personal style and authoritative air. I’ve worked a lot of retail, and she is spot on with her advice. I also think she is spot on in this article:
“This whole thing of cheap everything, especially cheap fashion, has ruined people. It’s called ‘fast fashion’ — the turnaround is huge — and yet fast-value fashion has taken away our understanding of really great design and has ruined the necessary concept of delayed gratification. In the past, you saw the fashion, you saved your pennies and then you bought your chosen outfit or whatever. Now it’s all throwaway.”
Portas touts the value of vintage fashions, which is of course a point of view I can get behind. Valuing quality over quantity in clothing would be good for the fashion industry as well as the domestic job market, and subsequently, the economy in general. Just watch the recent HBO documentary “Schmatta” if you want to see the fallout that has resulted from the push for cheaper, cheaper, cheaper clothing.
Mary Portas’s follow up show to Queen of Shops gives makeovers to second-hand stores. I look forward to the program making its way across the pond, but moreso, I hope that Mary’s advice about shopping smart, appreciating quality, and valuing vintage travels along with it. It may bring along a little more competition to the thrift stores as more shoppers come to find good deals on high quality pieces, but I say bring it on. It’ll go along with eBay’s model that you aren’t buying things, you’re winning them – and with college football coming to an end soon, I’ll be ready for a little full contact shopping to get me through the off-season.