(Congrats to the winner of my Valentines competition, Ella Rose! Thanks for all of your entries. I'd also like to give a special mention to Rebecca, The Clothes Horse, Freelancers Fashion Blog & Dusky Ledoux, for your especially lovely comments. If I were the polygamous type and, um, had more prizes, you'd all be my Valentines! ♥)
My boyfriend's mum always keeps fashion articles from newspapers for me, in case they're any use for uni projects etc. Her latest offering was an article from The Guardian's Style section which got under my skin so much that, naturally, I just had to come on here and vent! A little birdy tells me that Topshop HQ were pretty peeved about it too.
The article is by Jess Cartner-Morley, entitled 'Dear Topshop'. It is, essentially, a piece about high street/online stores that are (in Jess's opinion), having a moment. Sounds fine to me! What isn't fine is the way she has begun this piece with a letter to Topshop, 'dumping' it, in favour of these 'new stars'. The intro reads, "The love affair is over. Jess Cartner-Morley bids a sad farewell to an old favourite and reveals the new stars of the high street". (This is what it says in the printed article, the online version differs slightly).
I mean, it's a funny idea in theory, but her argument for dumping Topshop in favour of erm, Oasis (and New Look, Asos & River Island) is really very weak. It just seems like she is dissing Topshop for the sake of it. Using Topshop as a means to liven up what would otherwise be a pretty run-of-the-mill article. If you're going to take on Topshop, you should at least make a convincing argument and have a bit of conviction.
So what is her argument? She says, "I remember when shopping at Topshop was a guilty pleasure, a secret that most people wouldn't understand. But all that changed when Kate Moss came on the scene. These days everyone knows, and all that excitement seems like another lifetime... Also, a girl needs to feel special, and it's hard to keep up a meaningful relationship when every shopping date is shared with approximately half of all the female tourists under 40 in the city at that time."
I've got to say, people belly-aching about how popular Topshop is is one of my pet hates. I know I'm biased as I work for Topshop and am in a bit of a Topshop bubble, but I enjoy the challenge of buying clothes from there and making them look different from the other thousand people who own the same top/dress/jacket. It’s that old saying, it’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it. It couldn’t be truer. These girls are all wearing a Topshop piece, but do they look like Topshop clones? It’s a question of personal style.
(Style Bubble, Lookbook.nu & Cheapskate Chic)
At the end of her letter to Toppers, in big bold letters it says, "WHERE TO GO INSTEAD". It's that line that is the worst part for me, and detracts from what is, in fairness, quite a funny piece. Actually telling people to not shop there anymore has turned the tone of her jesting letter into actually being anti-Topshop which is a pretty bold move. Like I said, it wouldn’t be so bad if she’d actually based it on something other than ‘everyone goes there’.
River Island and New Look are renowned for having a bit of a ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, copy ‘em!’ attitude when it comes to Topshop anyway! Jess has tried to play these shops off against Topshop, which can’t be done... It isn’t just a high street store is it? It’s the only brand of its kind that show at Fashion Week, it funds new designers, it allows those designers to show at Fashion Week in its showspace… Writing it off because ‘everyone else shops there’ is just ludicrous. As is suggesting somewhere like Oasis could even come close to that.
Sorry for getting on my high(street) horse about this one, but careless journalism irks me, especially when it comes to one of the UK’s most important brands. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not Topshop’s number 1 fan. I don’t like the Kate Moss stuff (or Kate Moss for that matter), I can barely afford Topshop stuff even with my 25% discount and shopping at the flagship store requires physical and mental strength I could only dream of possessing. But I respect their place in the fashion industry and that can’t just be written off in such a flippant way in the name of promoting other high street stores. The clue is in the name, and love it or hate it, in terms of the high street hierarchy, Topshop will always be exactly that.
What do you think of the article in question? Am I overreacting..? I am feeling pretty hormonal today!