Off-the-peg Fashion

It is not uncommon these days to see, young girls and boys out shopping, sometimes for the whole day, trying on all kinds of clothing with undisguised enthusiasm and spending without giving too much thought to the impact on their stash of pocket money (or their parent’s bank account) in order to get those must-have jeans, trainers or other summer “must-have” fashions and accessories.

Fashion has always been part of human life.  Men and, perhaps especially women have almost always worn clothes that first reflect their social status and their style, personality or even their mood.

We must, of course, distinguish between the ready-to-wear high street fashion and true Haute Couture, whose creators are full of innovative ideas but which is largely out of reach of the average person.  Often, however, the lines of ready-to-wear creations reflect the Haute Couture of the time – only at much more affordable prices.

From a sociological point of view it appears that young people often dress the same way in order to conform to the style and mores of a specific category in which they wish to belong.  It is so easy to be recognized and accepted if you’re wearing the right gear.

Fashions have, of course, changed over the years and these things often go in cycles. Take “flares” for example, really popular in the 70s but now coming back into fashion. In the 80’s and 90’s, slim lines and straight legs were de rigour, and no-one in their right mind would be seen dead in baggy trousers.  Young people particularly are dedicated followers of fashion – as the Kinks observed all those years ago.  Parents, of course, are just there to bankroll these unfathomable changes in style.

Fashion may seem, at first, to be simply a commercial deal, but when you see the craze for each style and clothing, we are forced to admit that there must be something deeper behind it.  Designing, manufacturing, selling, or, ultimately, wearing a garment generates something magical: in the end, it defines how we see ourselves and therefore who we really are.