Posts Tagged ‘Marks and Spencer’

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s London Fashion Week!

This basically means lots of flustered, chic fashion people running around London trying to get seats to the latest collections from the world’s biggest designers.

The Look Show is where you get to see the High Street fashion for this A/W, with the usual suspects, New Look, River Island, Next, M&S, Dorothy Perkins, Oasis, Monsoon as well as others all showing what we can expect to see in stores before much longer.

What was great about it is that it included Crystal Renn who was one of the plus sized models I blogged about ages ago who were featured in Glamour magazine, as well as Hayley Morley and Laura Catteral who caused that furore when they walked for Mark Fast a while back. So even if the high end catwalks aren’t taking plus sized shapes into account, at least the high street is embracing them!

Below I’ve picked out a few of my favourite pieces from the show, but it’s so hard to pick out just a few I recommend you head over to The Look Show micro-site where you can watch all of the catwalks and they have links for where you can buy some of the items, annoyingly lots are only available in store though, I always assumed everything went online but apparently not.

One thing I did notice though is that this A/W isn’t that different from last A/W. We were talking about leather (which there was loads of) in shorts and skirts and trousers and dresses last year, and they were prominent again this year. Stilettos and socks I blogged about earlier this year have made a welcome return, thigh high boots made a few appearances like they did last year, sequins are still about and so are fur coats. New trends however included the aviator jacket, camel and caramel hues, fur lined boots and shearling, the A/W maxi dress and a lot more loafers with a square heel as opposed to a stiletto, of which River Island have a very tempting pair of new in this week.

Marks and Spencer Limited Collection Crossover V-Neck Panel Dress £49.50

French Connection Samantha Sequins Dress £160

Dorothy Perkins Cream/black Bow Jumper £28

Next Stripe Shoulder Pad Top £32

Next Patterned Skirt £22

Next Brown Faux Sheepskin Aviator Jacket £75

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Earlier this week Primark were publicly shamed into removing a range of padded bikinis they had for seven year old girls. Pressure group Mumsnet who had set up a ‘Let Girls Be Girls’ campaign against the early sexualisation of young girls had the support of David Cameron who deemed the tops “disgraceful”, Brown soon jumped on the bandwagon saying, “All of us as parents can recognise there’s something wrong when companies are pushing our kids into acting like little grown-ups when they should be enjoying being children.” And Equity Spokesperson for the Lib Dems Lynne Featherstone, not to be left out, put in her two cents with “Young children need our protection and shouldn’t be the prey of greedy retailers selling them adult products.”

This issue at hand is clearly very emotive, as the word “paedophilia” tends to provoke a knee jerk reaction and is something no retailer will want to be seen as encouraging. But if you step back and think about the issue are these items really encouraging paedophilia? By definition paedofilia is an attraction to prepubescent children, so by making a girl look older is it really encouraging it? Most victims of child sex abuse are known by their attacker, the accessibility makes them a target as opposed to their clothing. Telling a child or a mother than her daughter can’t wear a padded bra is dangerously close to telling a woman wearing a short skirt that she’s asking to be raped, something which society generally sees as wrong.

So is it all just a storm in a tea cup with party leaders looking to hop on any bandwagon going in the weeks leading up to the election? Whilst a characteristically over blown headline from The Sun Peado Heaven on our High Street’ seems to be evoking a moral panic of epic proportions, none the less other retailers have been brought into the debate with Tesco and Peacocks bras being slammed, and even BHS, viewed by many as a wholesome and old fashioned retailer, has been criticised for a diamante studded bra for nine to ten year olds, strapless dresses and tracksuits emblazoned with “Princess” across the bottom. But is there any criticism of the Marks and Spencer’s ‘Angel’ range of bras? Not that I’ve seen. It appears as if the top end of the high street is immune to this debate, leaving it exclusively in the hands of the affordable retailers to take the full brunt of criticism.

There is no doubt that in today’s society the line between adulthood and childhood is becoming increasingly blurred. But are these retailers the only ones to blame? Certainly not. Try looking at our media for instance, you’ll see images of Christina Aguilera advertising Sketchers dressed as a school girl with pig-tails, open a magazine and you’ll see a fifteen year old Miley Cyrus appearing bare backed on the cover of Vanity Fair, switch on the television you’ll see music videos and films suggesting that sexual performance has to be undertaken not be socially punished.

The result of which is a plethora of mixed messages for children. Girls are naturally curious about growing older, the results of which are sometimes acceptable- wearing your mum’s lipstick, putting on a pair of her shoes- fine; wearing a padded bikini top- one too far. Whilst curiosity and imitation of womanhood is given with one hand, simultaneously with the other it is forbidden.  And boys also seem immune to such pressures, they can talk or behave as sexually as they like without any consequence.

Were Primark right to sell these tops? No, selling a mass marketed notion of adulthood and sexualisation to girls who are too young to fully understand the consequences is irresponsible, but it wasn’t helped by the timing of this revelation prior to the election and consequent media frenzy. In order for the ‘Let girls be girls’ message to have any effect it has to be consistent. Retailers aren’t the only perpetuators of this idea and removing these items from stores can only go so far. Try looking to the media and asking what celebrity role models are telling your children about sexuality before Primark is vilified as being the only upholder of this message.

Photocredit: ffion-nia

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