I have no words

alice pollock, biba, british boutique movement, Ms Peelpants' rants, ossie clark, topshop

Well, I have some….but they don’t seem sufficient. The UK fashion industry is giving me anger fatigue. I almost don’t have the strength to express my fury any more.

I fear I may bore my dear readers with my irregular but frequently feisty postings on these things, but if I cannot vent to fellow vintage lovers then….well, who can I vent to?

Yes, in case you haven’t guessed yet….the Ossie Clark relaunch saga.

Imagine my spluttering and gobsmacked face when I heard the news from dear Senti, followed up by reading all the fatuous spoutings of the press about how ‘wonderful’ this was and how so much money was being invested in it.

It continues to baffle me how these people could possibly think these relaunches are a good idea? Please, please do invest money in the British fashion industry. God knows it needs it so badly. But please, please invest your money in new, talented designers with a mind of their own. The true Ossies of this world, if you will.

Ossie himself would have been horrified beyond words to see his legacy thus violated and cheapened by these money-grabbing cretins. I never met the man (certainly my fantasy dinner party guest of honour) but surely the notion of some poor new designer just barely out of their degree show re-issuing his genius creations would have been abhorrent to him.

They speak of the ‘House of Ossie Clark’ as though he were a couture house in the manner of Chanel or Dior. The V&A exhibition may have conferred the title ‘couture’ upon his own label creations, but Ossie was no ‘house’. He was a maverick, a genius with no head for business and a complete lack of consistency in his output. It was only really the guiding hand of Alice Pollock which managed to keep things ticking over, and the creative input of Celia Birtwell which continued to inspire his work.

But this is no re-opening of the ‘House of Ossie Clark’ as they try to persuade us. This new designer, whoever the poor sod may be, will no doubt be simply producing carbon copies of the originals. A puppet designer with someone else pulling the [purse]strings. A la Bella Freud for Biba. And look at how badly that relaunch is doing. This is duplication, as cheap and tacky as the Kate Moss Topshop/Lee Bender debacle. They see the prices vintage sellers get for hard-won and rare originals, and they want a piece of the action. But needless to say, Ossies don’t turn up around every corner…

…so what to do? What to do?? Hmmm……

Yes! Let’s copy them and sell them for the price of an original. Who cares that we’re cheapening the originals and the Ossie legacy?

Well I care. I know it’s crap that vintage Ossies are so pricey, and that not every girl who wants one can afford one. But how is this going to help matters? They’ll still be only for the select few who can afford them, or even get hold of them, and eventually everyone’s bored of Ossie Clark and the magic will be lost. Then it’s a case of why bother taking care of the legacy, the originals, if no one wants them anymore? These ventures are damaging and self-indulgent.

4 thoughts on “I have no words

  1. id just like to say you are really wrong about the ossie clark relaunch. not only is the designer not just out of college but has designed for fashion houses such as Roberto Cavalli, Donna Karen and Chloe and is becoming an established name in the UK fashion industry. Furthermore, the relaunch is not simply making carbon copies of the ossie clark originals but is taking interpretations from originial ossies and producing, new, beautiful and modern garments. so you should get your facts right. thanks

  2. If this designer is so talented and established, why aren’t they designing for their own label? Why haven’t the investors invested in the designer as an individual? Why plonk them behind a dead man’s name? It’s a rhetorical question, I know precisely why….Every designer and their mother takes heavy inspiration from Ossie Clark, it’s nothing new or radical. Using Ossie’s name is tacky and ultimately always going to be an anti-climax. It also won’t enhance the reputation of the designer/s, they’ll find it difficult to emerge as an individual from this whole debacle.It will hurt the designers involved, it will hurt the legacy of a unique designer and yes, it will impact on the vintage industry as well. No one wins, except for the money men behind it all….

  3. the reason that they have been “plonked” behind a dead mans name is because the opportunity to relaunch ossie clark came up before the opportunity to fund this designer did.. it doesnt take a genius to work that out. an of course it will enhance the designers reputation. It already has, the designer has been given more press coverage now than they have done in their life because of this. Furthermore, if they were so concerned about emerging as an individual then they wouldnt be doing Ossie Clark. It is an opportunity of a lifetime and the designer would be mad not to take it. Relaunching Ossie Clark will not hurt the legacy of a unique designer or the vintage industry. It will simply build on what has been, not try to change what has been or to make people forget what has been, but to carry on the ossie name and produce more beautiful clothes, not identical spin offs of the orignials, but new, modern day interpretations. These relaunches are not out to destroy the names of the old and legendary designers like you seem to think.

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