Fashion Is Your Business

It is often considered to be fun, frothy and frivolous. The obsession of the young, those with disposable income, wanting the newest trends as quickly as possible. Yes, fashion often gets a bad press from those who consider clothes to be a functional necessity rather than an obsessive passion. Those who indulge, and indeed love fashion can be labelled shallow, but, in reality, there is so much more to fashion than simply getting a ‘look’.

The Fashion Industry is one of the crowning glories of the British Economy, with London Fashion Week now firmly entrenched amongst the most important in the fashion calendar. It has been estimated that more than 105,000 visitors attended the shows and off schedule events at last years Autumn Fashion week in London, and this, in turn generated an estimated 269million in revenue, making it second only behind New York in terms of profit. This is no mean feat in challenging times. Tie this in with the respect and veneration that some of our greatest fashion exports are held, the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Victoria Beckham, Giles Deacon and Marchesa are all British born talent, with Osman, Alice Temperley and Molly Goddard all generating excitement (and A list fans) as their products are displayed on red carpets all around the world. Clearly the fashion industry is more than fun and frivolous.

But as the fashion industry grows, the nature of the selling of High Street Fashion changes. We are seeing more pop up shops and collectives, as shop fittings for temporary stores become more affordable and portable, meaning they can be moved from place to place as small businesses move around.

Fashion is also becoming much more universal in terms of entrepreneurship and business. As the High Street continues to struggle, more and more individuals and independents are starting small businesses and online stores that offer something different from the general High Street fare. Ebay and Etsy stores are becoming increasingly popular, selling a range of fashion products from independent designs to trendy imports that tap into the market. It is becoming far easier to make online stores look attractive and professional, using acrylic display units for jewellery and accessories in order to market your products is now an effective way to add sales.

Plus size stores that avoid the usual cliches of tents and butterflies are also a new and attractive business idea, with the added help that companies like TNT, who consider fashion to be important, giving lots of sound advice on issues like packing your items for delivery, transporting items safely, and even hosting your own fashion show, all important ways of getting your own small business out there onto the fashion radar.

SJP Front row

Whether you look at fashion from a designer point of view, or from the point of view of an etsy store holder taking their first tentative steps into the industry, it is clear that far from being frivolous, fashion truly is big business. All this, and fabulously stylish too.

Has plus size fashion finally broken the size barrier?

Toccara Jones at the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atl...

Image via Wikipedia

The last few weeks have seen a sudden explosion in the fashion world. Suddenly plus size fashion and fashionista’s are everywhere. At the Emmy’s the fabulous Christine Hendricks and Glee‘s Amber Riley shone like beautiful beacons of voluptuous style, totally at home in the company of equally beautiful, but noticeably slimmer stars. In the case of Amber Riley, praise for her lovely white Grecian dress came from no less a doyenne than the notoriously bitchy Joan Rivers on ‘Fashion Police’.

The amazing Crystal Renn is EVERYWHERE! Whatever magazine you pick up seems to feature something about Renn. ‘Elle’ magazine featured her in its Q&A session, Look magazine gave over both an interview and a fashion shoot to the curvaceous fashion star, whilst the news that she is the new face(if not body) of the latest Chanel campaign has raised more than a few fashion eyebrows.

Beth Ditto is talking fashion and her new collection for Evans in this months Marie Claire, which calls her ‘the unstoppable Beth Ditto’. The gorgeous, sexy new lingerie collection from Simply Be has had features in Reveal and Sunday magazines.

America’s next top model star Toccara Jones stars in today’s Sunday Mirror magazine modelling the fab new range from Evans clothing. Jones counts Jay z amongst her fans and is quoted in the accompanying interview as saying, “Plus means more, there’s more of me to love…” and later “look plus up in the dictionary and tell me where is the sadness or negativity…”

It’s been reported that Marc Jacobs is now going to expand its clothing range up to a size 16+.  Great plus size ranges continue to go from strength to strength, with Evans, new look inspire, Rogers and Rogers and Anna Scholz producing great new collections.

So why is this happening now. Who knows. Fashion is fickle, but I feel the recession has a lot to do with the new respectability afforded to the plus size fashionista. After all, when times are tough, can you really afford to cut out more than 60% of your possible market by excluding them from fashion trends? In addition, there are a few more plus size fashionistas out there, Christine Hendricks, America Ferreira, Toccara Jones, Crystal Renn, Amber Riley, Gabourey Sidebe, Nigella Lawson and Mia Tyler are all flying the flag for fuller figures, with Cosmopolitan magazine claiming more girls would now like to look like Christine Hendricks than Kate Moss. In addition, normal size girls are now getting more coverage, with the curvy figures of Holly Willoughby, Natalie Cassidy and Gemma Arterton in the public spotlight.

the lovely Mia Tyler, plus size model.

The battle is by no means won. Beth Ditto has a great article in Marie Claire, but the more conventional Blake Liveley from Gossip Girl is the cover star. Renn’s beautiful face is the star of the Chanel add, rather than her beautiful body. But lets accept small victories. Fashionista’s know she’s a plus size model, so does the press and most importantly, so does the fashion industry. And that must be a good start.