Stretch Your Fashion Horizons

ZARA Menswear 2013

Alex Fassam

To make myself somewhat remotely grown up I sign my name Alexander, but most refer to me as Alex. A blogger, retail enthusiast and, for my sins, a student studying at London College of Fashion.In between studying and working you may find me in Oxford street doing what I like to call "extreme shopping".

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I’ll happily admit that when I see a Zara store I get possessed. A fashion entity uses my body as a host and literally forces me into the shop. But the funny, and tragic thing is I know exactly what I’m going to find. I’m a serious shopper and a serious fashionista so I know the latest collections, what Zara plan to do and which designers designed well…what. I’m a fashion student – sue me.

Some may say “But Alex isn’t that a good thing?!? You know what store is best for you!”

Yes this is true! But am I too reliant on my favourite shops? Are we all? Sometimes I think so. With record profits, despite a double dip recession, fashion high-street retailers are making more profits than ever before which can only mean they are doing something right for us shopaholics.

I’m a great lover of high street fashion but I fear that I may become too close minded in what I’m spending my wages and student loan on. I keep bugging my friend at work by saying “I wish I had a different style” and then realizing the only way to get it is to start shopping differently. Change your shopping habits and your style will follow suit. It’s really that simple.

One of the ways I’ve started to shop is via sample sales. I think I mentioned this a couple of weeks back, they are absolutely fantastic. A sample sale is where designers or retailers will host an event to discard items of clothing that are either in need of some TLC, no longer available in stores, or just clothes that were never put into a production line. No one else will have these items making you solely unique. Remember to take cash with you and set your alarm 4 hours before you usually wake up. There are some great fashion websites out there who will list where the sample sales are. I’m not going to tell you all where I go for mine. I’m kind – not stupid.

Another great way is to do your research. Look at some designers on tumblr, lookbook and even ASOS market place, and see if they have their own line. Fashion is expensive! So they’re probably using discounted sites like ebay/marketplace and amazon to sell their clothes and make a profit for their label. Have a look and see if their threads are on there. Probably a good chance they are.

Alternative fashion magazines have been a lifesaver for me. Forget GQ or Vogue, I’ve started reading Hunger or HERO more than I used to. The clothes are incredible and the stylists really know their stuff. I can’t afford a single thing, but a good fashionista knows how to re-create that style at a discount price.

I’m not saying “Let’s all wear meat dresses” like Lady Gaga, even I don’t like meat that much, but I think dressing differently isn’t something to be scared of. Your style reflects your personality and helps create a better first impression of yourself. I’m always saying be true to yourself so in the same sense of that phrase, you should be true to your style. Don’t dress how you think everyone else is dressing because pretty soon the sheep will be following the latest trend and you’ll be eagerly trying to catch up.

Do the research, be patient and fight that fashion entity that makes you run up the Topman steps looking for the latest collections. In the long run it’s worth it.