This summer I’m expecting to have a sickly sweet relationship with Americana. The kind of relationship that starts off being so exciting and full of promise but ends up being so sugary, annoying and overbearing, you just have to pack your bags and leave. Varsity and Americana style has been cited as a big trend for AW’10, but thanks to fashion’s unstoppable instantaneous nature, SS10 is already doing it. Sure double denim was going to happen regardless, but varsity jackets, high tops, and American prints have jumped a season ahead. Give it a month and everyone will be wearing this look – in fact I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the first fashion victim to appear in a full cheerleaders/jock outfit on the high street, complete with pom poms/helmet, ribbons/mohawk and rhyming spirit/sporting aggression (delete as appropriate).
This won’t be the first time a trend has been all encompassing, and it happens to guys and girls: the skinny jeaned boy band look of two years ago, a year before that the Kate Moss tea dress style and don’t get me started on nu-rave or boho. So when a trend becomes an unstoppable cloth juggernaut, what’s to be done? Dress exactly to the same as everyone else. No? Thought not. When a wide spread trends hit and every one is doing it, there’s no better time to assert your individual style and dress in pieces that retain an air of exclusivity rather than a mass market MacDonald’s style appeal.
Many of our favourite retailers know when a trend of widespread hysteria hits; there will be those who search for an antidote – an alternative; and there are those who are more than happy to offer it in form of the fashion ‘exclusive’. Buying ‘exclusives’ may at first wreak of shopping snobbery, but it’s these pieces that allow people to dress how they would like to dress, and be safe in the knowledge that they’re not going to bump into person after person dressed exactly the same as them. On top of this, exclusives often posses an air of fashionable excitement; whether it’s a collaboration between two powerhouses; limited editions; or items created in celebration of style. Now there’s something you won’t find on every high street.
Designer Doyenne and menswear buyer for Matches, Stacey Smith, certainly understands the importance of offering exclusives to dedicated followers of fashion: She comments ‘Our customers like the fact that we have strong relationships with designers and that we work with them on that kind of level to offer them unique products’ And why does she think that exclusives are so popular with savvy shopper? ‘Carrying exclusive collections within the store creates a point of difference in the market as we are able to offer something interesting that isn’t widely available.’ And this is a woman who doesn’t just talk the talk, but has the goods to follow it up too – this season Matches is hosting a variety of exclusives including dandy casuals from menswear brand to watch ‘Tween’ and a much coveted one-off menswear collection from shoe supremo, Rupert Sanderson.
The ideology is echoed by Stephen Ayers, menswear buyer at Liberty: He says that ‘exclusives at Liberty have been an amazingly effective tool in bringing unusual and rare product to customers.’ That’s something people who don’t want to be part of the heard are grateful for, I’m sure?
‘We have seen great success with our exclusive collaboration with Fred Perry, and also with Opening Ceremony for Levi – an amazing collaboration.’
Fred Perry for Liberty
Opening Ceremony for Levi
Fear not, it isn’t just designer brands that realize the importance of hot exclusive. High street super store, Urban Outfitters have put an emphasis on exclusive footwear this season, with that ‘Oh. My. Gosh.’ buy coming in the form of worn in Doc Martin boots – these bad boys look as if they’ve been stomping the streets of Camden for years and give that beaten and battered edge to a boot that has ingrained itself into fashion’s rebellious psyche.
Of course you can’t live by boots alone. Asos always offers a fine roster of exclusives and one of this seasons highlights comes with a punch-in-the-face style hit of 80’s retro appeal. The Monte Carlo bag from vintage sportswear staple ‘Head’ is on offer for SS10 – this is one you certainly won’t want to miss, and is a bargain at just ?35.
Taking the idea of the ‘exclusive’ to the extreme is online Mecca my-wardrobe. They have cannily bought up the debut collection of new the new denim line King Krash; designed by Donwan Harrell – the creative genius behind the much feted denim brand PRPS. The collection draws inspiration from the 70’s street car gangs of the inner city, this is shown through ripped and distressed denim finish and scrawling slogan tees. Pedal to the metal and credit cards at the ready for King Krash.
[Coggles also stocking other pieces in the range – Ed]
So now you’ve seen just a taster of FashionBeans’ favourite new season exclusives, showing that there is another way to dress. While trends keep things fresh, style keeps things individual; so by all means invest in a varsity jacket or a preppy chino, but team it with something that means you’re not going to bump into your sartorial doppelganger at every street corner.