With retailers across the UK starting to feel the pinch, it seems we are heading into a recession.
It may not feel like it at the moment, but there are positives to a recession. If there were not, back in 1977 we would never have had the punk explosion and all the artistic expression that came out of the years that followed. Much of the fashion we see today is an edited version of styles and silhouettes designed in that era.
Today I am feeling a similar energy when I am out and about in London. Down in East London, in Brick Lane alone you can see people wearing clothing and accessories that have been customised to make something ordinary look much more interesting. There are also people on the street selling products they have made at home. I am seeing more of these people every week.
Businesses such as Junky Styling in Dray Walk at The Old Truman Brewery have led the way with the homemade touch, recycling clothes by bringing the shapes up to date and adding their own little touch.
One the best things I read recently was that sales of sewing machines at Argos have risen due to a return of what they called the “make do and mend attitude of previous generations”. I see it as more of a make and customise attitude of a new generation. But the impetus behind the sewing machine sales is certainly economic.
With all the clone stores on the high street, these creative people and their wares could and should be a welcome addition to an independent boutique. It takes little research, and you could end up with some lovely product that is not mass produced and a new niche. It could be a profitable experience for both parties.
Fats Shariff is creative director for online style consultancy www.whatwhenandnow.co.uk.