This isn't about an actual girl but a fashion brand. It's about a brand I hold very close to my heart but still resent for ever falling in love with. This post is about British retailer, Topshop.
I started working for the brand, Topshop Topman, part-time in Chicago, IL after graduating Howard in 2013. I love how the clothing is self-expressive. Two girls can be walking down the street wearing the same sweatshirt from Topshop and style it in completely different ways. I loved that brand and there wasn't anything more exciting than working for your favorite store. Plus, I'm thinking it would be an easy transfer to the London location in Oxford Circus once I left for my Postgraduate program at London College of Fashion. This is a good setup. Right?
My love for this fast-fashion retailer started to deplete once leaving the Chicago location and transferring to the one in Oxford Circus, Central London. Topshop was a company we focused on a lot during our course. We studied the fabric composition of the clothing, the origin of where the materials were exported from, and the price architecture. The more I paid attention to the price architecture of the brand and knowing the countries they outsourced to, the more I started to think she was no longer the one. The objective of fast fashion is for fashion followers (yes, we are followers - sorry to tell you) to have "access" to the latest trends since (we) can't afford luxury brands such as Tom Ford, Burberry or Louis Vuitton. It's supposed to be cost-friendly and "accessible." Topshop is accessible fashion so why does Sir Phillip Green keep making business decisions for the brand as if it's advanced contemporary* or luxury?
I knew something was up when he decided to open a second Topshop Topman in New York City on FIFTH AVENUE. Excuse me, do you know what shops are on that avenue? Yes, there is a Zara and H&M on Fifth Avenue but they aren't as much in the mix like "high-end" Topshop. Talking to a friend who works in the one in Soho, the turnover and footfall is still substantially higher than the one on Fifth. Yes, obviously, and do you know why? Topshop is not luxury fashion. It's accessible. How do you expect a company to be prosperous with a strip full of big dogs when your target consumer is the young 20-something year old woman who reads W Magazine and subscribes to Fashionista?
I was inspired to talk about my ex-girlfriend after reading an article on The Guardian regarding the launch of a Topshop Brunswick Cut-Out Velvet Dress shown above priced at £895 (1,800 USD) and I was just overwhelmed by the audacity of the brand (bad dress, though). Yes, you are known to have amazing campaign models like Jourdan Dunn and Cara Develingne, who are now prospering in the industry. Yes, Beyonce stops in the Chicago location every time she's in town for a show. Yes, your pieces are unique, individualistic and differentiate you from the rest of the competitive realm, but don't get ahead of yourself. We, the fashion followers, come to you for accessibility and cost efficiency. Just remember who loved you first.
It might sound like I'm a salty ex who got her heart broken to you--I'm just trying to be as frank as I feasibly can. Topshop is starting to act like a girl who received too many likes on a picture on Instagram. She's gone.
Don't even get me started on H&M with this Balmain collaboration. I never liked her anyway.
Thanks for reading.
*Advanced Contemporary: Kate Spade, Cole Haan, etc.