Am I premature or too late, but does the closure of American Apparel signal the beginning of the end of the hipster?
Left - American Apparel is disappearing from British high-streets
This Terry Richardson-type wank fantasy of sports socks and short shorts, with a dash of the ethically made, didn’t quite make it. It had potential. It rode that early wave of ethical consumerism and sold items people need and use in volume. Basics.
It shoulda/coulda been a Gap for hipsters, but thought itself too cool for that and in the process shot themselves in the foot. If you didn’t wear gold meggings and a towelling headband you weren’t going to quite cut it in an average branch of American Apparel.
Right - Ironic? Were you cool enough to wear these?
You can aim for hipsters, but, ultimately, you want everybody, something that Uniqlo seems to have mastered. And, if you're charging a premium you need to remind consumers what the extra is for, in this case, it was made in the USA. Selling basics is a tough job, these days, as it is so price sensitive. Retailers, like Gap, are struggling to reinvent themselves in this post-hipster market. Maybe they should adopt the best bits of American Apparel and add some contemporary sex appeal to their image.
American Apparel was like one of those scowling cool kids who doesn’t say much, looks the part, but you realise, quite quickly, they have nothing to say.
To quote the supermarkets, the space race is over. Much like the frenetic expansion we saw in the food sector with supermarkets opening store after store in a saturated market, which didn’t increase sales and just cannibalised those they already had, the same could be said for social media.
We’ve seen a huge appetite for volume since its inception. Followers, subscribers, likes etc., brands and companies have spent lots of time, effort and money on growing their social following to as big as possible and, for many, continues to be the main focus of their attention. This isn’t sustainable.
Twitter has stalled in its growth of users at around the 300 million mark and Instagram, which just passed its 500 million users threshold, will no doubt start to slow or stall. There are only so many people in the world, after all.
This October, Condé Nast International’s chief digital officer, Wolfgang Blau, said, “You can’t win a race for reach,” at the Digiday Publishing Summit in Nice. He said that Vogue does not have to be gigantic to be very influential. For too long, too many were “drunk on reach” and forgot to focus instead on deeply understanding their readers.
This is a change in language and tactic from the one of the world's main digital publishers and a welcome one.
What is an 'acceptable' number of followers? Many people/brands look to others for this competitive and, sometimes not honest, number. It’s never enough.
The new age of social media will be healthy niches influencing people and rippling out into the wider population. Engagement will become key and producing content that is original, clever and contemporary will be the way to stand out. They'll be new ways to monitor engagement which don't require as much effort from the recipient.
What’s that inspirational quote about Jesus only having 12 followers? Okay, one did unfollow him! But, the space race is over and big isn’t always best.
TheChicGeek says ‘YAY!’ to Jaeger’s new home on Marylebone High Street. Situated on one of the smartest shopping streets in London, the new two-storey Jaeger store stocks the full menswear collection.
Jaeger asked TheChicGeek to pick his favourite pieces from the new store and their latest AW16 collection.
Right - A palette of navy, with highlights of orange, show Jaeger's expertise in knitwear and ease of dressing with a comfortable buttoned cardigan and large pocketed cargo trousers
TheChicGeek took to the streets of Marylebone to showcase his new look featuring a pair of Lou Dalton X Jaeger wool cargo trousers, a ginger coloured T-shirt (Obvs!) and soft wool cardigan.
It seems ginger and navy are the colours of the season as he bumped into his doppelgänger over at the Chiltern Firehouse! Twinning is most definitely winning.
Find out more here
Open now - 12 Marylebone High Street
Get involved #JaegerStyle
Left - Twinning is winning when TheChicGeek met the doorman at Marylebone local, Chiltern Firehouse
Below - TheChicGeek doing his best Gene Kelly impression - minus the rain - in new season Jaeger menswear
You know times are tough when you have to sell your Jeff Koons dog. This is the predicament Amy Adams, the lead in Tom Ford’s latest film, Nocturnal Animals, finds herself in as her relationship falls apart.
Left - How many redheads can Tom Ford get into one film?! The lead, Amy Adams
An art dealer, this perfect redhead lives in her perfect Neutra-style house with her perfect looking husband (Armie Hammer). All very 'Tom Ford' so far.
I was never a big fan of Tom Ford’s first film, A Single Man. While it looked beautiful, I didn’t really care about the characters and, ultimately, that’s what a good storyteller will make you do. The film was more a long commercial, while Nocturnal Animals has less fashion, isn’t so design obsessed and is divided into two opposite parts: a warm, violent, poor, rural Texan story and a cold, harsh, rich and clinically urban story and leaves you wanting more.
There are three main storylines running throughout the film albeit with a slightly confusing timeline, but Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal hold it all together.
Right - Michael Shannon as the police officer & Jake Gyllenhaal as the witness
For somebody with Tom Ford’s taste you’d think he’d exercise more subtly. The art is big-hitters like Koons or Damien Hirst, the Republican mum has Margaret Thatcher hair and one of the main jarring moments, a wanky art gallery assistant is wearing something that felt more Ab. Fab 'fashion' than believable and her flippant attitude really rammed home the vacuous point. None of these things really add anything. But, these are minor points. What the film majors in is suspense, in spades. It’s the suspense that draws you in and nervously keeps you there. The Texan bulk of the film is of the raw Steinbeck variety that is scary in its lawlessness, but doesn’t romanticise it. There are the big Texan vistas, but it is for more a sense of place than a cinematography award.
Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays the ringleader of a gang who bullies, rapes and murders. Michael Shannon is great as the police officer and Armie Hammer is the ice-cold husband. The soundtrack is great and the shaky film style adds to the thrill. There are a couple of Tom Ford fashion and beauty moments, but it feels like decoration, which it should, rather than the main gist of the film.
This is good. I’m not sure if it's a great film, I’d have to see it again to decide that, but, I’d definitely give it the chance.
As menswear has become more streamlined, fitted and influenced by sports it was inevitable, particularly with its rise in popularity, that cycling would start to play its part off the track.
Designer, Paul Smith, is a renowned cycling fan and references always appear on his catwalk or collections. The zipped funnel neck, fitted cycle-inspired knit is a key piece this season and has been appearing all over menswear, both designer and the high-street.
Left - Paul Smith AW16
This example by Ted Baker from House of Fraser is the perfect thickness for winter and can be worn easily under tailored jackets or coats. A rich, deep grey, it will dress down a suit or dress up a pair of jeans or tailored sports trousers. Comfortable, sporty and always a winner, it's the Bradley Wiggins of knitwear!
Far Left & Below - Ted Baker 'Pinball' Funnel Neck Jumper - £109 from House of Fraser
Fashion has been saturated for a while now. The industry has accepted this and is trying to accommodate and change while saving face and putting on a positive new one.
We’ve seen a massive growth in retailers offering people choice, both online and offline, since the beginning of this century. Nearly two decades later, people don't need anymore stuff and the want, that seldom matched with the need, especially in fashion terms, has also waned, especially when you feel like you’re not seeing anything new.
How many things in your wardrobe still have the tags on or are in their boxes? You’re not a shopaholic or a hoarder, you’re an average person who has more than they need and is showing the middle aged spread of affordable clothes and easy availabiity.
We’re facing an obesity crisis in our consumption and it’s starting to make people feel gluttonous and suffocated with stuff: baggage, quite literally.
I think the average person could probably go a whole year (okay, easily 6 months) without buying anything new for their wardrobe and outwardly showing it. A retail detox, if you will, which is a cleanse of overconsumption and quantity over quality.
You’d often see people outside of Primark having their Pretty Woman moment with armfuls of brown paper carrier bags, but even that sight seems to be scarcer.
It’s a great thing that people can buy what they want when they want it. Clothes have never been so cheap, but the novelty is over and people are seeking alternatives.
Next recently revealed bad sales figures, which probably means the same for retailers such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams. They cited people spending their money on eating out, travel and experiences and not clothes. Debenhams is focussing more of its shop space on food and restaurants and for good reason and I expect other retailers to follow suit.
Over in America large numbers of department stores are being shut and shopping malls are replacing them with a different mix away from retail.
On another note, people’s houses or living accommodation is getting smaller so there is even less space to store even a regular amount of things.
I’m not sure what the solution is to all of this, but I think technology will play a part and make this all look very last century. Maybe it’s a more disposable, but environmentally conscious one? Drones could deliver newly laundered and ironed clothes that we hire rather than own. It seems so Victorian to wash our clothes, dry them, iron them and waste valuable living space storing them. It’s laborious and time hungry and it could easily be replaced with a new service industry along the lines of Uber or Air BnB.
Maybe it’s a brandless future that just focuses on keeping us covered, protected and warm? The majority of people buy clothes and not fashion anyway and many groups aren’t well catered for at the moment.
I think in the new year we’ll see many brands and retailers contracting or going out of business. A survival of the fittest and what capitalism thrives on. The fashion industry that involves us buying more of what we don't need is eating itself and is starting to feel and look stale. Fashion is having an ouroboros moment and it’s turning people off.
The Chic Geek's latest vlog looks at his favourite grooming brand of the moment, Buly, Tom Ford launches body sprays as a new way to wear fragrance, pimps his old Sperry Topsiders with a Vibram sole and shows you how to do Gucci black tie with a couple of pieces of velvet ribbon. Watch TheChicGeek video below and subscribe to his YouTube channel here