Monday, July 19, 2010

london: selfridges' forever shop

Fashion.  By definition it's out with the old and in with the new, right?  Maybe not.  I love the idea of Selfridges' newly launched Forever Shop, a concept store that offers items meant to be a little more lasting.   Who isn't sick of the  buy/donate/buy again cycle? Leave it to the English to recognize the appeal of more durable goods; after all, this is the country that celebrates ancient tweeds,  bespoke suits, heirloom  hats, crumbling country manors and well-used riding boots.  Old is (the new) chic! Well, I visited the Forever Shop this week and...

it's great concept with a poor execution.  I love Selfridges so I'd like to give the venerable department store the benefit of the doubt.  Maybe the Shop is just not fully stocked yet? The pop-up store did include some truly classic, timeless items: Burberry trenchcoats, Cartier bracelets, Converse sneakers, Cutler & Gross eyewear and Repetto ballet flats.  But overall the Shop was sort of empty and while half the merchandise was "forever" the other half was not: Bic lighters and pens, Aunt Jemima pancake mix, Marmite, Alexander McQueen skull scarves (you know, the ones Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie popularized) and an odd collection of (paperback!!) books. It might have worked, but the staff could not have been more disinterested in selling the items or informing the customer about the Shop.
I didn't buy anything at the Forever Shop; I wandered down Oxford Street to Primark , the antithesis of all things classic and quality, where I purchased an adorable £3 polka-dot umbrella.  It's unlikely to last through more than a few heavy showers but it irresistible.  In this round of the match-up of Fast vs Forever Fashion, the cheap umbrella wins with a knock-out punch.

The Forever Shop is open July 12 - August 15 at Selfridges, Oxford Street. Primark is a zoo and only for battle-hardened bargain shoppers.

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