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Streetwear labels play it safe for autumn 09

A staunchly commercial and risk-averse sensibility has infiltrated the young fashion and streetwear sector for autumn 09.

This has led to a season in which winners are backed to the hilt and key looks have moved on only slightly from previous seasons. Subtle details, rather than trend, provides autumn 09’s point of difference for brands.

Young fashion brands have backed themes including the great outdoors, a military/utility aesthetic, the 1980s, and goth-rock chic.

For women, slouchy jersey tops, oversized printed T-shirts and wet-look quilted jackets are paired with leggings or skinny jeans to create a 1980s-style

For men, the offer is distinctly commercial, with straight-leg jeans teamed with checked shirts, heavy knits and jackets with military detailing. The goth-lite look of skinny jeans and tuxedo jackets for both sexes also lives on for another season.

“We do tend to be very loyal to our brands, but we are always looking for something new,” said Geoff Brownless, director of menswear independent Union in Newcastle upon Tyne. “We’ll be looking out for more subtle branding rather than big logos. We stock a lot of classic dark denim, and for autumn 09 we’ll be buying into straight styles as well as looser carrot shapes. We’ll have a few skinny styles too. Customers are more cautious, but it’s always worth having some interesting pieces too.”

Similarly, Will James, manager of menswear store Natterjacks in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, said: “Knitwear-as-outerwear is becoming a key category for us. We will persist with checked shirts - ginghams are selling well for us in micro and larger versions.”

At Beach in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, owner Tim Idle said: “We always look for key pieces that don’t look high street, but we get more of our trend-led product from short-order labels such as Ichi. We try to be open-minded about the trends we want to buy into each season.”

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