Youth obsessed High Street Fashion lets us down
Dear Guido Maria Kretschmer,
I have to make a confession. I fell in love with the way you talk about fashion when I stumbled upon ‘Shopping Queen’ on German TV last month. Your brief to reinvent jogging pants as a fashion statement was the challenge that your three style savvy women needed to solve on a budget of 500 Euros in 5 hours, if I remember correctly. The show was so entertaining and inspiring, and your commentary so compelling that I dropped everything on the spot to watch. I researched whether ‘Guido Maria Kretschmer is really always that nice’ and found out that you are. No wonder the world is in love with this guy, I thought. Your 2015 autum collection is breath taking. Your book is enlightening. And your eye for fabric, the situational challenges of shopping and compassion for your subjects make great TV.
Remember, though, that it is less of a dilemma to dress well-versed women, models and fashion professionals for a catwalk than average shoppers for real life. Your Shopping Queens spend a lot of time in the world of fabulous fabrics and understand trends in a heartbeat. I want to encourage you to take your talent as a designer, public creator and trendsetter further to the blind-spot where most fashion lets some of us down:
Consider those of us who’ve spent the last decade or so creating families after giving up their careers. Now our kids are old enough to hack into the Pentagon, or at least into Angela Merkel’s email account, and help themselves to our skincare. Meanwhile our own bodies and, more importantly, our perspectives have changed. No surprise after years of doing all the little things to create a home for kids, dogs, significant others, friends and cockroaches… except for ourselves. In fact, we frequently experience our domestic reality as a combination of repair service, technology fixer, chef, cleaner, secretary, coach, finder of lost iphones, recycling expert, teacher and soother of the husband or teenager, not to mention all the other maintenance duties that come with family life.
Now add to those roles a desperate attempt by these women, of which I am one, after years of home-based working, to acquire the professional role that is challenging enough not to insult their intelligence, managerial skills and problem solving abilities, and you have a new fashion brief or a large demographic of Frau Meisenkaisers, as you affectionately call your clients: dress the gorgeous mother, partner, home maker, entrepreneur, manager and fixer of everyone’s problems in a day-to-evening outfit that makes her feel respectable, attractive and comfortable.
Dearest Guido, please reinvent fashion for the 45 and older woman – yes, we probably would look good in a professional photo shoot, wearing professional make up and some coaching on how to walk in a designer’s creation. But we still may face a style crisis when we go through our wardrobe and realise that looks which used to work for us suddenly don’t, and the mirror becomes the enemy of the self-confidence as women that we have worked for on so many fronts. We need clothes that become like friends who don’t let us down when life gets tricky.
Can you please create a line for the woman who also crawls under desks to reconnect a router whilst preparing tonight’s pot-roast, and getting ready for a video-conference call on a client’s stock portfolio?
Please reinvent fashion for a woman who has a meeting after the yoga class she guiltily fits in and before a parent evening at school, after which she promised to drop in at a birthday drink party where everyone else looks cool.
Reinvent fashion for the women who will carry the family’s grocery shopping from the bus stop after a job interview and a doctor’s visit without ruining her outfit, or her feet, and therefore will wind up taking the car after all because experience tells her that she will not be able to walk in her wedges by the end of her day.
Reinvent fashion for a passionate cyclist and walker, mother and partner, worker and boss, hands-on fixer and thinker, fun-lover, serious player and, most of all, for the low-key student of life that we’ve become after we have prioritised our relationships, our personal growth, our health and our environment and yet love style and beauty.
Make us look our best. Make our partners fall in love with the way we wear that top at age 49 and proud of it! One collection per season, because we hate shopping in too many places. Make it timeless. We are old enough to understand value for money, the value of a well working wardrobe and quality textiles.
Please make the collection work as hard for us as we work for our partners, our kids and the people we love. Think: breathable material, comfort, style. Think: life as we live – and love! – it. Think: women as they are.
It takes your talent to create every-day fashion that helps us to evolve, adapt and grow into the best women we can be. You have the eye and the heart of the designer who makes us happy. Don’t stop at teaching us how to shop. Make us clothes that become friends for life.