Trend Alert: Gentrification!


Our main perpetrators: The Kardashians, Urban Outfitters and Balenciaga

Just as neighbourhoods and towns have often been, there is a rise seen in the gentrification of fashion. Lets take Shoreditch for example. Contractors began buying the houses, shops and businesses from locals for very low prices as they spotted potential in the area. They then turn it around, keeping it ‘rustic’ and ‘shaggy chic’ as to keep the charm of the area. They then sell it off for much more money than they paid people for it. We call this gentrification, as vegan bakeries move in and local home owners move out due to the boost in rent.

Image result for urban outfitters shop front

On a high street level we see this often in Urban Outfitters. They used to be different, all the clothing felt special and never seen before, it featured designers that were unheard of and previously inaccessible. Looking around the store now I think it is totally different. The store's new look features old brands, stuff that you would get for £10 in Sports Direct for PE and would be nothing to brag about. Now these old £10 Kappa joggers are selling for £45 in Urban Outfitters, the same thing that 5 years ago would get you bullied is now being sold as an aspirational item.

I think that this is becoming a much more occurring theme across the high streets. Topshop is trying its hand at making ‘vintage’ shell suit windbreakers and fast fashion websites like Boohoo are attempting to make ‘vintage-style’ bucket hats. I completely agree that fashion works in cycles so of course even dodgy fashions such as shell suit jackets are back in, but they were back in 3 years ago now. It feels like watching your aunt try and be ‘cool’ and ‘hip.’ These shops are simply making me cringe and I know I am not the first to notice.

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Luxury brands are of course jumping on this too. Kylie Jenner recently shared a photograph dressed fully in Fendi from head to toe to pram. She was, as usual, praised for her fashion sense. Instead, all I could think was that it looked exactly like the Daniella Westbrook image that nearly ruined Burberry’s public brand image. The only difference between the two is the money in their bank account and the is my issue here. For a rich person to dress ‘Chavy’ they are praised by every blogger out there but when someone without money does the same they are ridiculed.  

Image result for balenciaga ss18 Related image

Balenciaga is actually one of the brands that I think have the most to answer for. From clothing, to shoes to accessories, Balenciaga has designed something that costs hundreds just because they put their name on it. Chunky trainers that you would have been ashamed to wear in PE? Just buy the Triple S. Windbreaker Shell jacket that you would buy at a thrift shop for £8? You bet they've got it in 6 colour options for £800 each. Puffer jacket that your mum would make you wear in winter? Balenicaga already making thousands from it since Kim Kardashian was papped in it. If they were doing something different, changing it in a way that added thousands of pounds then fair enough! But they haven’t. It’s like they've just bought some stuff out of sports direct and stuck their logo on it.

The people who made these street trends happen were not being called trendy, due to their low socioeconomic group they get absolutely no credit for building up these trends. Instead it is the designers who used them as inspiration are making millions off of fashion that people were bullied for.

What do you think about this? Do you see it as just another cycle of fashion or a real sign of Capitalism?

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