The Longest January Ever

>>Speaking of distinction on the high street, I’m convinced Topshop are out to bankrupt me right in the thick of what is going to be a very long long January with the way Christmas has fallen this year….
Designer collaboration collections from (and I feel like I can’t breathe as I read the names out)….. Jonathan Saunders, Marios Schwab, Christopher Kane, Louise Goldin, Todd Lynn and Richard Nicoll are set to hit stores from mid-January to end of January.  Oh dear lord…. why THOSE particular slew of designers ALL in one go…?  Why couldn’t Topshop New Generation sponsor less likeable designers?  Actually daft question seeing as those British Fashion Council peeps are ever so discerning (their picks for next season are blinding…!)
Here’s looking to night shifts at McDonalds to fund all of this then….

The Distinctive Hotcake

This may be a phenomenon that only applies to the keepy-uppy-with-trends type of city that I reside in being Laaandon, but I may venture to say that this is not an isolated situation.  The fact of the matter is that fashion is fashionable.  That might sound like some sort of a Vogue-ite empty statement that serves no purpose other than to alliterate and perplex the hell out of people.  However, what I mean by that is that there’s now an altogether new-high of accessibility to fashion that previously did not exist.  From the late 90’s-early noughties onwards, in a culmination of better high street stores, designer collaborations, fashion weeklies and a general awareness of fashion created by the press , it all suddenly means, people who might not have thought twice about the fashion clout of their clothes suddenly starts thinking whilst they’re shopping in Topshop, ‘Oh big buttons…they’re fashionable…I’ll pick that up!’ because they happened to have seen something about big buttons in Grazia or the like. 

In turn, the high street chains are getting smarter about producing items that have that a bit more oomph and would hold up in the very haute-type of fashion stakes.  I call this ‘The Disctinctive Hotcake’.  An item that is not ubiqitous in its look and style.  It’s just that touch more special that most high street fodder and immediately stands out as the ‘gem’ of the dreary bunch.  In a lot of cases, MOST people would react to the Distinctive Hotcake with ‘Um…that’s a bit out there?’.  But that’s just it.  The bar has now been raised as to what exactly constitutes ‘out there’ and suddenly these items sell out like a hot cakes either because the forecasted sales of that item are underestimated and the production quantity don’t meet demand or simply that there is in fact a very high demand.  I may just be speaking from my own observations in London but there is a new-found mainstream experimentation in fashion that I haven’t seen in years that is spawning these hotcakes. 

Take this H&M pleated coat from the AW07-8 collection.  The dramatic shape and the number of pleats together with a hood doesn’t make it the most conventional choice coats-wise and the style is not too far off from being a little Comme des Garcons, a little Ann D.  However I’ve seen it out and about on so many people, wearing it in a plethora of different ways.  I half heartedly attempted to find it but H&M is a horrid headache in Central London and I knew in my heart that the coat had gained Distinctive Hotcake status anyway so I let it lie…

I’ve already talked about the Topshop PU skirt sell-out already but it’s gotten to the point where someone has now marked up the price by more than double on eBay.  Did Topshop predict that happening with a ¬£30 skirt that just happens to bear a lot of resemblance to Christopher Kane’s leather skated creations?  Did they underestimate the number of people in the UK that would have been thinking to themselves ‘Oooh…. it’s a leather skater skirt… very this season!’ and thus did not produce enough of this Disctinctive Hotcake?

Sometimes, there are cases where retailers are holding back from unleashing the Distinctive Hotcake onto the public.  Remember those matt silver sequin trousers that I had been dying to get my hands on?  A reader helpfully informed me that they never even made it into production and were simply a one-off item made for shoots and press release (an issue that Disneyrollergirl has spoken about).  But I predict that with a mention in London Lite/Paper, people would have been ringing Topshop up demanding where the hell are these trews…   

I do hope that this sort of trickery and underestimation ceases for 2008 when the demand for Distinctive Hotcakes will probably only increase.  It’s a win win situation for both retailer and consumer and perhaps even bigger risks should be taken as high street stores try to ride the waves of what their consumers are thinking.  Like the fashion mug that I am, I look forward to another year of witnessing another slew of said hotcakes and will obviously try to partake in the consumption where possible.