So, news just in, the global market for luxury goods is heading for its weakest year since 2009. Sales will rise by as little as 1 percent to 253 billion euros ($280 billion) in 2015, according to Bain & Co., which in May forecast growth of 2 percent to 4 percent. The projection, on a basis that excludes currency swings, would be the weakest gain since sales fell 11 percent in the year after Lehman Brothers’ collapse.
Left - All the gear and no idea - The 'luxury' customer, Footballer Balotelli
What does this really mean? Is it the wobbles in China or are people becoming bored of ‘luxury’? Whatever 'luxury' means today. The type of products these companies have been producing plus the never ending escalation in prices has taken its customer for granted. The higher the price, the shorter the shelf life, it seems, for product which just continues to get more and more expensive. Some of the entry prices for these brands are frankly ridiculous.
Brands think they can make more money by producing more product, but in fact it just puts people off. (See ChicGeek Comment - Exclusive Not Excluding)
It has also produced a customer, which while a high-spender, isn’t necessarily the look others aspire to. In other words fashion victims.
So, where is style now? The term ‘style’ is as subjective and has as many incarnations as people. But it does shift. While luxury brands have been busy peddling their wares to the international tourist, the style set has been discovering the high-street: the low-cost disposable side of fashion.
It is simplistic, but the only way I can describe style, now, is the best item from the worst shop.
It’s about being clever: the opposite to obvious. Labels and logos have become less important and it’s about how the individual looks in the clothes. The silly prices has just speeded up this process and because the designers aren’t coming up with anything really new, people are happy to get their things from lower priced retailers.
Look at it as the stylish show off by buying and finding great things in less obvious places. The high-street and lower priced retailers have mastered the fit and who really cares that much about the quality of the material when it will be gone before that becomes an issue.
I predict these luxury retailers to start producing lower entry priced product and become less reliant on these few, higher-spending shoppers. The Russians have disappeared, the Chinese aren’t being as frivolous and those oil rich nations in Africa aren’t making as much from every barrel. It's time for luxury brands to get real.
The Vintage Fashion Bible is written by the vintage fashion experts and Red or Dead founders, Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway. It is the only complete chronological look at 20th century fashion for men and women, as well as a practical guide to buying, styling and restoring vintage clothing.
Left - The Vintage Fashion Bible - £25
The book looks at the development of fashion from the 1920s to the 1990s, using clothing catalogues, film posters, magazine articles and other contemporary advertising to create a fully authentic feel for each decade and to show through original visuals how fashion evolved.
TheChicGeek says, “You can’t really be passionate about fashion without having a love of vintage. It’s all part of the education of knowing your references and styles and discovering when particular things were new or a reinterpretation of something older.
One of the best vintage events I ever attended was Vintage at Goodwood in 2010. Not be confused with the Revival, it was the Hemingway’s first foray and the establishment of their vintage events brand which has appeared all over the country since then. It was the attention to detail that really made it standout, especially with the very hard to impress vintage crowd.
The same branding and feel has been used in this book as it takes a realistic, if slightly simplistic, look at the 20th century and it’s numerous styles for both men and women. It’s a fun look at the main styles and looks of the differing eras with tips and information from experts.
The Hemingways certainly know their kipper ties from their fishtail skirts as Red or Dead was a very vintage inspired fashion label, pioneering that 70s retro look which was popular throughout the 1990s. There is plenty here to stimulate, but probably not enough depth for a vintage aficionado. I always like to see what people predict to be future vintage, I did the same in my book. Only time will tell”.
We’ve all fallen in love with arctic parkas over the last few years and their popularity sees no sign of waning especially when the temperatures really drop. I wanted to introduce ParaJumpers, an American sportswear brand based in the Italian province of Treviso.
Left - Parajumpers - Harris - £942
A meeting with a serving member of the 210th Rescue Squadron in a bar in Anchorage, Alaska provided inspiration for designer Massimo Rossetti to create Parajumpers.
The men of the 210th Rescue Squadron are highly trained for extreme rescues and recoveries in the wildest, most remote and hostile corner of the globe. They are the PJs or Parajumpers. They are better trained than any other military corps.
The result is an extremely innovative outerwear collection, designed to be functional with highly technological components.
Left - Parajumpers Logo
The jackets are made of hardwearing nylon and come with a removable feather-padded lining and a fur-trimmed hood. The collar fastens with a hook used in parachuting. On the front is a large, zippable multi-cargo pocket containing a further three pockets designed for carrying accessories, such as iPods, GPS devices, mobile phones, etc.
The inspiration behind this season's AW15 collection comes from various sources: the extreme, cold landscapes of Canada and Alaska, traditional English woollen garments and Japanese metallic and technological trends.
Left - Parajumpers - Musher - £1158
The Parajumpers motto is “that others may live”.
A cross between a jacket and a shirt, the shacket is that useful menswear transition piece for when you need something more than a sweater, but not a fully blown coat.
A ChicGeek must-have piece of the season, this suede shacket, in a rich blue, has just arrived at New Look. At under £90 and in real suede this is something of a bargain and a sophisticated addition to any man's wardrobe.
TheChicGeek says, "Team it with a roll-neck for a cold day or leave open as a luxury overshirt".
Left & Below New Look - Navy Suede Shacket - £89.99 See TheChicGeek wearing it here
Halloween is nearly upon us and we’re all trying to think about which character we want to dress up as for the evening. Well, here’s a suggestion that will continue to run well after the end of October - Chewbacca. Yeah, Chewie, baby, that gentle fur mountain is back in yet another installment of Star Wars and one of our ChicGeek Style Icons of the season.
Left - Chewie
As hairy as hairy gets, Chewbacca is having something of an inspirational moment in the world of menswear right now.
Left - ASOS - £100
A full fur coat on a man can be a) a little daunting and b) way too much if not in a fun-fur kind of way, so think Chewbacca-chic when rocking a new season fur coat. It needs to look like the kind of fur that needs its roots doing - slightly trashy.
So forget the thermal long-johns or that triple layering, just think Chewbacca come wintertime. May the fur be with you!
Left - Paul Smith - Sheepskin Overcoat - £6445
Below - Bally
Left - River Island - £85
There's nothing worse than getting to the airport and having to scramble getting out your laptop and toiletries to pass through security with an audience of badly dressed holidaymakers looking on at how messy your packing is.
Well, let me introduce Austrian travel brand, Vocier. Their C38 travel suitcase is a slim and nimble upright bag which it perfectly sized for hand luggage. Inside, you’ll be able to fit an entire wardrobe for a week-long trip: including shoes, shirts, trousers and up to two suits.
The C38 uses the exclusive Vocier magnetic hanger system, which secures your suit at the perfect angle within the bag to maximise the overall space.
Vocier's transparent C14 Wash Bag - which looks much better than the flimsy clear plastic bag - also fits perfectly within the C38 and is easily accessible by a zip at the top of the bag. This can also fit your laptop for swiftly putting through the x-ray machine..
To top it all off there is a perfectly shaped passport holder in the handle, so you know where it is all times. The only thing it can't do is make sure your plane takes off on time!
Left & Below - Vocier - C38 - £545
I often get asked via my AskTheGeek section how to remove bobbles from clothes. Well, how about getting a coat that couldn't possibly bobble anymore?!
This beauty from Jigsaw is one of my favourites of the season and a total men's must-have. Made from a large bouclé fabric, it feels like a cross between a jumper and coat: perfect for those days to cocoon yourself against the cold.
Keep things simple underneath, such as here with a polo knit and slim jeans or trousers, and you'll be fine and dandy when it's cold enough to wear it.
Left & Below - Jigsaw - Luxe Bouclé Wool Double Breasted Coat - £298