The Recessionista

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Is it okay to be redundant but not look redundant?

The recession, something none of us wanted to deal with. The recession may have changed our shopping habits and may even have had an impact on fashion itself. Despite the economic uncertainty, we still have our eyes on the trends, but are we just hanging on to what we have and guiltily spending on the credit card?

Sophie Greener, Armoire Boutique owner in Canterbury, opened before the recession and believes people are being less frivolous with their money: 

"Four years ago people weren't so careful with their money, people now tend to look in the back of the wardrobe and re-wear pieces, they tend to buy a new lipstick or change their hair instead. 
"They look for bargains, before it wasn't such a big deal. The big stores are definitely catering for that, the smaller stores are keeping the quality but the cutbacks are made in the bigger stores." 

How has the recession affected fashion and the high street? Fashion journalist Petsa 
Kaffens and Armoire Boutique owner Sophie Greener discuss:

Even big designers are appealing to high street chains for support as collaborations between quality lines at a budget price help to keep style alive in the depressing economy. The demand for cut-price designer lines has rocketed as retailers sell out before the stock is even put on display. The outcome of this is recession chic affordable designer clothing.

The fashionista of today can't resist the odd trip to the shops, resulting in a new style of intelligent shopping. This means if we can't spend as much as we used to, then we invest in clothing that delivers quality when we do. During the recession the luxury market struggled to catch on to the discount boom - the Prada group reported a 22% drop in profit in 2009. As a result designers collaborated with high street chains to appeal to a different market. 

Biba designer Barbara Hulanicki's collection for Topshop caused stampedes on its release, and similarly so did Julien McDonald's collection for Debenhams. The store's chief executive Michael Sharp, offered an explanation for the range's success: "Many shoppers are turning to designer equivalents that deliver quality, durability and design, but with a chic economic price tag." 

Similarly, Laura Maggs spokeswoman for H&M said the same for their collaboration with designer Matthew Williamson, whose designer collection sold out the day it hit stores: "The brilliant colours and patterns in Matthew's collection will cheer up anyone suffering from the recession's gloom."

So are we past buying things for their designer label? Being more aware of money has simply made us become savvy shoppers. The recession is all about the pursuit of fashionable bargains, not just going to Primark to pick up something cheap, but spending more on something you know will last. Rethinking your wardrobe with clever tricks or taking time to compare prices and think about your choices means achieving cheap chic is possible. When we look back at the recession, how will people access our style?