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Lucy Siegle’s New Book Talks Fashion

18th May 2011

Fashionistas beware! Lucy Siegle, journalist, author and presenter, releases a new book which takes a detailed and candid look at how we buy and what we wear. Siegle, featured on the front page of the Daily Mail Life and Style magazine, discusses how fleeting trends and bargains are not healthy for the environment, for the economy or for fashion!

Lucy, who specialises in ecological and ethical lifestyle matters, says that women are obsessed with fleeting trends and seduced by bargains, and have never bought so much - but her book - To Die For: is fashion wearing out the world? – says it all adds up to more clothes, less style.

Lucy has fallen out of love with ‘fast fashion’. She laments the fact that today’s national wardrobe is a “rag bag of cheap, unwanted, barely worn items and expired trends.” She bemoans the quality – which has seemingly declined to such an extent that textile sorters who sort and bale old clothes for export to countries in the developing world — have expressed grave concerns about the quality of basic items.

British women have never possessed so many clothes — in 2007 an incredible three pairs of jeans were being sold every second in the UK — and they’ve never been so cheap (between 2001 and 2005, while spending on womenswear rose by 21 per cent, the price of individual garments dropped by 14 per cent).

Celebrities wouldn’t be seen dead in the same outfit twice, and this ethos has filtered down to us mere mortals, too, thanks to canny retailers.

There are also countless weekly style magazines on offer, and high fashion is so much more accessible than ever before.

ASOS.com, Top Shop, and Spanish retailer Zara – are all credited with turning fashion retail on its head. At Zara HQ, a large production team is in near-constant contact with trendspotters on the ground. The result is that Zara stores receive new lines in store twice a week. Every other High Street retailer scrambles to keep up.

Fashion has become fast and cheap. It’s no surprise the fast fashion phenomenon coincided with unprecedented levels of women’s debt.

Now that the price of cotton — the lifeblood of cheap fashion — has soared, cheap clothes are becoming increasingly synthetic.

Lucy urges womankind to opt out of this churn. “Buy things with an eye on the future. Set a budget you can afford and plan how your wardrobe will develop in the long term, not just what you will wear to lunch next Sunday. Reassess your idea of style as well. It’s not simply what the latest Hollywood ingenue is wearing. Decrease the amount you buy. You can spend the same amount buying one good piece you’ll keep for five years rather than 30 things you’ll wear once or not at all. Swap, loan, mend, restore. These are words that can become more important again. Buy with knowledge, power and purpose. It won’t just make you feel better. You’ll look better, too.”

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