The evolution of the Topshop girl is something I have seen change, expand and grow before my very own eyes. Always the covetable brand on the British High Street Topshop, unlike some of it’s other competitors always had an underlying ‘cool factor’ that emphasised that they didn’t need to try too hard to be cool, they just were and it was very evident in their clothes, marketing and even store layout.
However it wasn’t until 2006, the somewhat controversial decision came about that they decided to launch their own high end ‘designer’ collection at London Fashion Week, a collection that had all the Topshop ‘it-girl factor’ but was accessible as their 2 for £10 jersey promotion.
Entering into uncharted fashion waters was a risky move but one that has paid off tremendously. All the public and media scrutiny enforced a change within the brand, from head office communications right down to the curtains in the fitting rooms. Topshop grew up. No longer where they that “scrawny bitchy fashionay girl” instead they embraced change, longer hem lengths and camera phone friendly lighting.
I entered into the Topshop world, as they were now beginning to roll out this change to all their nationwide stores. From a practical sense I know that unlike British boy-band pop legends ‘Take That’, Topshop will never really grow up, they will always continue to be the ones who cultivate style into young girls and women around the world who are yet to create their own personal style.
True, like with most brands or trends, people abuse these “fashion systems” and you have armies of girls and their friends walking down the streets all looking the same, but that’s where personal style comes in. Topshop has those eccentric and dare I say it “unique” pieces, if you look hard enough. Usually the best stuff is at the back of the rail or beautifully curated in their ‘last chance to buy section” I personally love trawling through that section in every store-always something rare or ‘unseen' waiting to be introduced to the rest of your wardrobe.
|A style timeline of some of the looks from their previous shows. There has definitely been some growth!|
Image Source: style.com
This brand growth or change can be seen more and more as I swift through images of their latest SS16 collection shown in September at London Fashion Week. Unlike some of they’re previous less desirable collections, the touch of sophistication, refinement, ability to edit and purity of Kate Phelan has made the Topshop Unique collection one to watch out for season after season. The gimmicks and garish themes have been swapped for effortless chic, especially in regards to SS16. Fair enough not every piece is wearable, sure I’d get a few more whistles down the street in a red thigh high polka dot dress, but for the woman who knows her style-she doesn’t have to do to much to make it work with a Topshop Unique dress, and that is something to be credited for.
|Some of my favourite looks from their SS16 runway..that pink leather coat looks so supple and needs to be mine...|
Image Source: style.com
When you think about more of the established fashion houses such as Gucci or Prada-you already know what comes to mind whether you shopped there or not is irrelevant, the identity of that brand has been long formed with or without you in mind. The generation we live in now, thanks to the use of the internet and social media means that a brand or company would be foolish to not listen too or recognise their consumers needs and wants when it comes to fashion, beauty and lifestyle. My personal view is that Topshop has made a smart move by being that ‘stepping stone’ fashion brand that caters to a majority who are yet to discover that in reality, they’d much rather consign with the design aesthetic of Junya Watanabe or be more inclined to pieces by Carolina Herrera. In this, they never really have to allow their girl to grow up- she can flit and flutter between trends, cuts and even budget but she won’t stray too far, especially if the latest designer collab is something that’s going to introduce her to individuality.
Having left the company and allowing my fashion retail experience enhance my own style and approach to trends, I am very intrigued to see what they do going forward and for all the faults that they and many high street brands have, I’m sure they won’t lack for a new crop of girls to inspire, style and graduate them into the fun world of fashion as they leave their ‘girl’ days behind and enter ‘womanhood’.
Disclaimer: This post is my own personal view, words and opinion and has not been sponsored or endorsed.