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A two-year-old's idea of the 1980s

Mark Hale visits a quiet TBC and staggers away feeling groggy after overdosing on day-glo styles

I could sense it was going to be a bad day when I arrived at the TBC streetwear show in east London and realised that the peak on my baseball cap - which I spent ages bending to just the right angle - was the accessory of choice. Why didn't any of you tell me that caps with flat, nerdy peaks are now suddenly cool, but only if worn back on the head at exactly a 23-degree angle? What a disastrous start. And it was about to get worse.

First, myself and my colleagues struggled to find the entrance to the "Premier British fashion event', having not received any invites with directions to the Old Truman Brewery venue. Eventually, stumbling across it amid the Sunday market traders and fast food outlets, we made our way inside with anticipation.

We had not been able to make it to last season's show, which was the first back in this venue after a few editions elsewhere, so we were looking forward to seeing what the organisers had done now they had returned to what I believed to be their rightful home.

When we arrived at the registration desk I assumed that we had come into the back entrance as we were the only ones there, and this was at 11am on Sunday morning.

On receiving our pink wristbands, suddenly the feeling of being cool returned and I could make believe that I was a VIP with a backstage pass at Glastonbury, or alternatively a day release patient from one of our fine mental health institutions. We then entered the small entrance hall, only for it to quickly dawn on me that this was actually the main hall of the exhibition.

After an initial walk through with a few stops to look at a couple of collections and chat with friends and familiar faces, we reached the side room which - if my memory serves me right - was branded as a showcase for up-and-coming brands. Now some might call me cynical - and many do - but I honestly thought that Topman must be having as tough a time as the rest of us and had suddenly gone into wholesaling when I clapped eyes on lots of day-glo baseball caps, T-shirts and hoodies.

This look is apparently a return to the 1980s, but I don't remember the cast of Minder or Crockett and Tubbs wearing lime green T-shirts and printed caps that looked like they had been designed by my two-year-old nephew. If that's up-and-coming, then I'm up-and-out-of-here.

Finally, I must say, as many others did that day and have since, that if a show like that is a reflection of our fashion industry, we should all pack up now. I only hope that there were no buyers from Europe or further afield who had got lost and accidentally found themselves at TBC at the weekend, because they must have gone home and laughed themselves senseless.

- Mark Hale is the owner of menswear retailer Chessmen in Cardiff.

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