The city of controversy, culture and creativity, London in my opinion is the world leader in fashion. I enjoy socializing in London, mainly because I love how there is such a diverse range of people there; being one the most multicultural cities in the world, my ears are welcomed with sweet tones from foreign languages. It is like travelling around the world by walking down the street.
Defining ‘London style’ is not simple, as there are so many fusions of multicultural influences. However, one can find a sense of traditional heritage dress, rooting from the British gentry from around the turn of the century, notably referring to finely cut tweed suits, stout shoes and beautifully crafted accessories. When I think of British style, designers such as Burberry and Paul Smith; Burberry displaying their signature check fabric and their bestseller beige trench and Paul Smith with his wide array of patterns and colours in his linings and accessories.
But I would say that the traditional suited look is not for everyone. My personal taste in fashion is fairly eclectic, but I must admit, I do love a well-fitted suit. However recently, whilst in London, I decided to really open my eyes, embrace and absorb the fashion culture of the city.
Throughout time, the youth have always been categorized by their appearance and their characters. Firstly, adults have always asked a young person if they are a, ‘punk’, ‘gangster’ or ‘chav’? Well these are infamous stereotypes that have defined youth culture for years. Spikes, chains, skulls, anti-Christ and black are features that define the punk culture. The punk scene became popularized by the late 70’s with punk rock music and the underground clubs. Designers such as Vivienne Westwood made punk clothing fashionable, but true punks are against mainstream fashion. Flat caps, baggy tees, jeans that hang around the knees and bling, all associated with the gangster look. Originating in America in the 80’s with the hip-hop music scene, young Brits have since absorbed the style and made it their own. Nowadays, it holds its prominence by taking key features such as the flat caps and low jeans and merging them with a more urban look. ‘Chavs’, distinctly wear tracksuits or sportswear, gold accessories, baseball caps mixed with fake designer clothes, especially Burberry. I have seen very few ‘chavs’ around London that fit this exact stereotype, as similarly to ‘gangseters’, the new urban look takes inspiration from this cultures, for example the idea of sportswear as casual day wear, mixed with glamorous accessories.
The new urban look, vintage, retro, sporty, smart. Just add a touch of youth and ‘London style’ is born. Vintage shopping is timeless, because ironically in fashion cycle, what was before will come back again. So why not invest in the original, rather than a worse quality copy. Certainly, there is an element of true individuality with vintage shopping because there is a very small chance that someone else will have the same thing. Retro, relates back a to few decades ago, notably to the 70’s, similar to vintage but more futuristic of its time. Sporty and smart are two opposites, but when combined it equals casual wear, covering everything from joggers to party wear.
I think that Londoners are true individualists because they use references from big heritage brands, combined with their own urban styles. I believe that there is no right or wrong in styling, as what starts as an attractive niche becomes a trend and then its fashion.