‘You couldn’t buy Marx’s coat in one of your fast fashion shops’ were the last words Bill Wonder heard as he fell to his death from the 9th floor balcony of his prestigious London fashion school. He didn’t understand the inference then, although he did before he hit the ground. But the words ‘fast fashion’ had been flung at him like sartorial swear words. He felt a mild overlock of guilt for his iniquity. Guilt for the inexcusable wrong he was now being punished for with his life. The feeling of guilt was only fleeting he mainly felt pride, overwhelming, and smug, self-satisfied pride for his achievements in life. He had dictated what the UK should wear for 30 years and his personal worth was just over £8 billion. The only thing that pricked his conscience now was, had he known he was going to die today he would have worn a tailor made suit or better still a suit from the men’s outfitter shop he had just opened in Regents Street next to his arch rival NFFW. Not the cheap torn schmutter he was dressed in now.
As the heavy bow-skewed cracking sound of Bill’s body hitting concrete thudded outside, a round bobbin of screams echoed around the Fashion school. Screams of Vuittonese envy are common at the school but these screams were different - a bit more genuine, a bit more like fear rather than materialistic jealously and they had a higher timbre. The building shook more than it should. Bill couldn’t have been that heavy, but the jello like ripple didn’t overly concern anyone. After all London is being knocked down and rebuilt at an alarming rate. Triffid like giant cranes spend their days munching through the 1950’s constructivist architecture and shiny steel and glass monoliths shoot upwards like weeds. Cross Rail is digging through the underworld, the boring tunnels churning their way through the capital’s congested sub terrain. So a wobble underfoot, the falling of plasterwork, the sinking feeling around Soho Square usually meant nothing.
But this quiver was different, emotional rather than engineered. Office workers stopped their yarning and looked at each other, they were aware that something monumental had happened , something that would change the very fabric of shop- hungry Oxford Street but as yet they were unsure what . They were right to feel uneasy as the emperor’s edge-stitch of a death was the beginning of a paradigmatic shift in fast fashion consumption and shopping for clothes would never be the same again.
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