Gregg’s Blog (7): London has Reopened. Hurrah!
Updated: Jan 27
If there was ever a time to get out and discover the city it is now. In fact it is tempting to go to shops just for the novelty of seeing them open and peruse the goods on display. Though in the case of shopping as often in life, what one needs and what one wants are two very different things. Mark Carney the former governor of the Bank of England is currently giving the Reith lectures on BBC Radio 4 and as an economist his words on the nature of value, and what it means to us individually are sure to give some pause for thought. He mentions that Amazon as a company has accountable value in many world lists, but the region of the Amazon in Brazil appears on none.
Whether your focus in life is on consuming as much as you can, or trying to make as little impact on the planet as possible or yo-yoing between these will definitely colour your view. What is a fact this week is that two of our well known high street fashion brands are going into liquidation, and it seems big department stores will soon be a thing of the past.
The Covid pandemic and online shopping can be seen as a major cause for this, but it can’t be the whole story. Perhaps we have fallen out of love with the idea of big high streets where many of the products are basically the same, driven by forecasting in fashion and production on a massive scale, usually in countries where the bottom line is cost, and the people who make the clothes are way down the list of priorities.
Many young people who hear to call the to buy fast fashion, and are driven by the desire/fear to be seen in something new, have a hand in pushing quality downwards
Though there is a reaction against this luckily, that without realising quite why ,many folk have begun to search for something more personal or individual to give them a fix. This can work well for both ends of the spectrum, those with great funds can buy things of extreme luxury, items that have a cache that others will notice and will comment upon. Whilst others with low or minimal budgets can buy recycled or reworked pieces, either in exclusive thrift boutiques or from markets or even by swopping with their friends that might give a similar thrill ?
This leaves the middle of the market where things have collapsed. Formally the new seasons coat from a chain store that everyone was corralled by the fashions “Mavens“ to buy, now costs just too much and is staying on the shelves, especially when you can buy a cheaper version online.
Whether London’s High streets can adapt is a question left hanging in the air? Will they look back to an earlier C20th model where shops sold individual items, crafted and made in small quantities by regional suppliers is unlikely, whilst the rents needed to sustain business premises will remain high.
Though something will have to happen, what it will be for the moment no one can exactly predict. Most economists are not expecting the UK to return to a level of earlier trading for at least 2 years, even with a vaccine. And many people have begun to question, what they need, to live a successful, happy life? And does the endless buying of things fulfil just the "Want ", and then only for a short time.
Though for the moment, I say go and take your fill, whilst it’s just about all there, and at least enjoy the spectacle of it, or maybe just swipe left, press delete on and carry on !