Fashion, war and taste

Adam Tinworth
Adam Tinworth

I have a major interest in women’s fashion.

Now, there’s an incriminating statement. I feel that I should explain further. I have inherited from my father a keen interest in women’s clothes on women. I just want to be clear about that. This means I read fashion magazines far more than my fiancee does and am more likely to suggest an afternoon in the clothes shops than she is. I enjoy men’s clothes as well, but the relative lack of variety available makes them that bit less interesting.

There is a point to this, honest.

This observant eye for the latest in street fashion (as opposed to catwalk fashion, which is a rarified world that translates into the High Street in unpredictable ways) is further aggravated by working in London’s Soho, which is painfully fashion conscious. It’s almost impossible to avoid getting a sense of where fashion is going in any particular season. All the key trends for this spring are already on the street: the miniskirt, the rainbow colours and the returns of camouflage and military fabrics.

It’s the last trend that I have a problem with. It’s been a couple of years since camouflage was a major trend, back before the World Trade Center disaster, in fact. Now, when men and women in the armed forces of the UK, US, Poland, Australia and Iraq are fighting and dying in camouflage it make me uncomfortable seeing ordinary people wearing pseudo-military garb. It seems disrespectful, somehow, both of the people who are fighting and to the gravity of the politics behind the war. Yes, I know it seems odd to link such a trivial matter as fashion with something so important, but these small things do matter.

Whatever view you take of the war in Iraq, there’s no doubt that military intervention is a serious issue. Don’t trivialise it with your clothes.


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Adam is a lecturer, trainer and writer. He's been a blogger for over 20 years, and a journalist for more than 30. He lectures on audience strategy and engagement at City, University of London.