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.   

16 Replies to “The Distinctive Hotcake”

  1. I’m sure I saw those sequin trousers in Topshop (oxfrod circus) a while ago and I think they came in black to

  2. oh my gosh i want those silver trousers!! LOVE LOVE LOVE themmmm….:)
    btw do visit my blog sometime, Susie…i am very much inspired by you…:)

  3. Lauren: Did that dress sell out in the States? Hmmm…. not quite a Distinctive Hotcake….definitely distinctive though!
    Anon: I’m pretty sure those trews only came in black sequins and the silver ones never made it to the shop floor…. hmm …
    Diana: I will do! Promise!

  4. I’ve often wondered if some clothes never make it into production, samples just go out to the magazines…There have been so many things I’ve really wanted but never found. The December Marie-Claire showed a beautiful white dress with a scalloped black hem, apparently from Reiss, but I’ve never managed to find it!

  5. I’m also confident i saw those trousers at Oxford Circus, I remember because i saw them and thought “Look Susie’s trousers”. They were on a doll in the first floor.

  6. fab post! i find with such items available though it’s made us way more picky and our expectations have grown, we won’t settle for something boring. i find now the only things i want to buy are things i REALLY want to buy and their sometimes distinctive hotcake factor cause me much pain, stores are so unhelpful in their ‘unpredictable deliveries’!

  7. I never can seem to find the things I see on the magazines in the shops, whether it is due to the hotcake factor or just general delivery issues I never know. I do think its good that the high streets are so sophisticated for, certainly beneficial for a poor student like me!

  8. Susie, I love love love this blog.
    I stumbled upon it after googling blunt haircuts a year ago (and finding your 4/30/06 post) and haven’t found a reason to take it off my check-daily list since then!
    Your posts are always insightful, always a breath of fresh air, always expertly written (I mean, “the distinctive hotcake” — all of your spot-on descriptions — seriously, your brain is fabulous!). Keep it up!

  9. I gave up looking at stuff in magazines and hunting for them unless it’s something obscure… high street store deliveries and magazines (unless they’re weeklies) never correlate all that well!
    Genevieve: Amazing how ppl get here….! Thanks so much… my brain is probably more warped than fabulous but nonetheless…
    Did you per chance find anything insightful about blunt haircuts?

  10. Ha! Now that I wrack my brain about it…I did indeed cut all my hair off to one length last November, so surely I gleaned some insight — or at least some validation — that led me to the chop!
    The photo on the post made me want bluntified bangs very badly as well, but the front portion of my hair is dominated by a stubborn cowlick that I have given up on — sigh!
    Further brain-wracking found me the exact reason I bookmarked the url — Google provided me with the haircut post, but I opened up the current entry, a post about your mother’s Burberry trench. THAT post got me reading!
    And warped = great : )

  11. I managed to buy myself that gorgeous coat, and I love it.
    When I first tried it on, my friend told me it made me look fat, so I didn’t buy it, but then I couldn’t get it off my mind, so I had to go back to try it again! I’m glad I did because without her judgement, I thought it looked fantastic!
    It look fantastic with brightly coloured tights and chunky heels. Can’t go wrong at all…

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