Show season is the Olympics of the fashion world, a high-profile arena for dressing at its most competitive, where only the most confident will survive. Previously, in order to triumph, one had to rely on a tried-and-tested mix of trophy labels, not-even-out-yet pieces, and emerging designers, preferably spun together in some unexpected or outright outrageous way. At odds with the essence of a business built on the diktat that ‘imitation is the highest form of flattery,’ recently the influencer’s look has been quite difficult, or expensive, to copy.
But there is a change happening. This season has seen the street-style set (read: influencers, plus a smattering of buyers and editors) embracing the high-street and middle-market hit. Camera-ready statement pieces you really want, and can actually afford, have been having a moment. So why now? Perhaps we can put it down to the shifting rules of influencer culture, in particular greater transparency. We now understand that people are often wearing gifts or pieces they are paid to wear. And while that might be savvy, it’s not necessarily stylish or democratic.
To truly stand out, one must have that rarest of things: personal style. And what could signal that more clearly than by mixing high-street and high-end, new and old, menswear and womenswear? Better still, throwing high-street pieces into the mix restores a sense of democracy, which was the driving force behind those likes and follows in the first place.
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But perhaps it’s a lot simpler than that: the pieces trending this fashion month aren’t doing so because they’re high-street or accessible or affordable. They’re doing so because they’re great pieces, full stop. Who doesn’t want Mango’s biscuit suit in their wardrobe? Or Zara’s emerald dress? And that, by the way, is #notspon.