“Put it this way: no one has ever thrown away an Aston Martin, a Brompton bike or a Purdey 12-bore”
An article published last week on Telegraph.co.uk asked if good design can transcend our throw away culture. The article focused on technology with many white good examples, but the question is easily transferable to fashion and accessories - could buying better designed items stop us buying (and throwing away) so much? We’re all used to fast fashion these days – high street pieces give us that quick fashion fix at affordable prices, but we all know that the quality of cheap and cheerful clothes and jewellery isn’t great. A few washes and wears in and the shape, colour and fit can all start to, well, fade? And of course there’s the ethics involved. Cheap clothes means cheap labour somewhere along the line.
(Image: Good Design Is A Tough Job Hermann Schmidt Mainz)
Opting for fashion and accessories which are made in the UK helps guarantee the purchase was made using ethical production, with fair wages and working conditions, as well as supporting our national economy and British tradition, or innovation.
Best of Britannia showcases leading fashion and lifestyle labels all made in the UK
The idea of spending a little bit more on pieces that last does really have merit. Investing in better quality key wardrobe staples which can move from season to season can make more economic sense – If you calculate the value of a piece of clothing by dividing it’s cost by how many times you wear it, you can see that sometimes spending more in the long run means actually spending less. So that investment classic coat which maybe cost £350 but is worn every day for 4 months over two to three winters might compare more favorably per wear to that cheap and cheerful £70 coat which started to lose it’s shape and cut after a couple of weeks and didn’t have the same appeal the following year.
Of course looking after your well - designed purchases is paramount – and this is as important for jewellery as it is for clothes. We have clear care instructions with our Alice Menter Jewellery pieces, precisely for this reason. You wouldn’t throw a silk blouse in your handbag with no wrapping or protection, so why would you do this to a piece of lovingly handmade jewellery? Keep your jewellery covered, and store in the dark away from damp conditions (like bathrooms) or it will tarnish. Clean it gently and regularly and it will stay looking bright and shiny and keep it’s newness for a lot longer. It’s close to your skin, so it picks up a lot of dirt – silver or gold cloths can make a world of difference if you spend a little time. Looking after clothes can also require a little bit more patience and attention, but it's worth it. Wash machine washable delicate items in a pillow case, a bit of added care will help keep that colour and cut you paid a bit more for.
Yes investing in good design can help us tackle our throwaway culture, but we also need to look after our investment pieces too. Expecting things to look like new forever is unrealistic, but with a bit of care and TLC we can make our top fashion and accessory picks last a lot lot longer.