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Story summary: Are you a fashion slave, spending all your money on the latest clothes even if you don't look good in them, or a fashion fan, enjoying wearing modern clothes but not obsessed by them?
 
 
Fashion fan or fashion slave?
 
Every year London Fashion Week attracts retailers, fashion leaders, and the press to shows of all that's new in British fashion. Outrageous designs, original fabrics, and beautiful slim models are displayed on the catwalk in an atmosphere of extravagant elegance. However, how much of this gets translated into street fashion, appearing in high street shops? And how many of us actually follow the trends we see?

We all need to be comfortable with what we wear. After all, first impressions count, and we want our appearance to be consistent with the image we would like to project. How can we do this without becoming a fashion slave? We are bombarded with magazines that show us the new fashions for each season, and where we can buy trendy clothes for reasonable prices. The distinction between what we see on the catwalk and what's on display in the high street is becoming increasingly blurred.

Our bodies all come in different shapes and sizes, so to avoid stares and sniggers in the street we should develop our own shopping strategy. Lisa Armstrong, fashion writer for The Times newspaper, has questioned the motives of some designers, suggesting they seem out to get women, or at least make them look foolish. So could the habit of showing female models part -naked, or in poses suggesting bondage, betray an element of misogyny in the industry? And are fashion shows a cynical ploy to get the media in a froth or a valuable marketing tool for an important industry?

  Links relating to this story:

BBC links

News about Britain: What to wear?

From Milan to Middlesbrough

Eastern fashion

Oxford fashion

Non BBC links

London Fashion Week

The BBC is not responsible for the content of non BBC links

 

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GLOSSARY

retailers : people who sell things
fashion leaders: the best known and most successful designers
designs: the design of something is the way it will look when it is finished: here, the clothes seen on the catwalk will be different when they are finally sold
fabrics: types of cloth
catwalk: the raised narrow platform models walk along to display clothes
extravagant: extreme and impressive but not practical or cheap
translated into street fashion: is actually sold in a similar form in shops
first impressions count: the first thing we think about someone is very important
Image....project: if you project an image of yourself as, for example, confident you give people a general impression of confidence
bombarded: if you are bombarded with magazines you keep seeing them
trendy: very fashionable
blurred: if the distinction between two things gets blurred, it becomes harder to tell the difference between them
stares and sniggers: rude looks and unpleasant laughs
out to get women: determined to cause them harm, for instance by embarrassing them
bondage: tying someone up, possibly to give or receive sexual pleasure
misogyny: hating women
cynical ploy: a self serving way of getting an advantage over someone
in a froth: talking excitedly but saying nothing serious
marketing tool: a way of promoting something

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