In the week that BHS announced it was in administration and I attended my final consultation meeting in work, where I was served my notice of redundancy, I’ve thought a lot about the future of retail and the British high street. I can’t pretend I’m either shocked or saddened by the BHS news, since I have been sent to many decrepit BHS stores in Wales and the south west to support with VM on our concessions. I saw, smelled and heard some shocking things.
In the same week I was pleseantly surprised by the launch of Archive by Alexa a collab between Marks and Spencer and fashion icon Alexa Chung involving Alexa pouring through the M&S archives and re working some vintage pieces into modern vintage inspired wearable pieces. Hats off to M&S they totally nailed it! All 33 pieces in the collection were beautiful and online they were all given quirky cute names and a brief explanation of the original garment and why Alexa had chosen it to re work.
Marks and Spencer is such a stalwart of the British high street its quite sad that in recent years it’s seen a decline in profit and received media attention for all the wrong reasons. Millionaire business man Stuart Rose stepped down as chief executive in 2010 as news hit of the chain reporting losses and store closures, this coupled with bad press and a growing reputation deeming the chain a Nanna knickers store, M&S was now seriously uncool to the fashionista crowd. Unlike Alexa Chung, who’s apt laid back style combining vintage inspiration with a cool indie chick tom boy vibe has inspired many young women in the last few years. Often photographed wearing vintage finds and high street pieces from the likes of Topshop and Zara her style is aspirational achievable and affordable. She is a beautiful, intelligent hard working lady, that’s inspired many a hair do, outfit of the day or loafer purchase! Who wouldn’t want to be Chungy! And lets never forget THAT love letter she received from Alex Turner! Shhheeshh! She is one lucky gal!
I congratulate M&S for choosing a relevant British celebrity/style icon to work on a collection for them, and applaud the idea of going back through the archives since the chain is steeped in history and has served us well over many years. I hope the launch was a roaring success for them and attracted the new customers they so need. My Instagram feed was bombarded with images of the collection and inspired looks from fashion forward indie chick types just like me…