Start writing a post

Topshop's potential closure will be bittersweet for millennial women

If Topshop is to close, it is sure to be a bittersweet moment for women up and down the UK who will take a moment to mourn the loss and consider their own memories of the chain.

Topshop's potential closure will be bittersweet for millennial women
brown and white coat hanged on rack
@abiblain
Abi is a Londoner working in Communications. She is passionate about advocating for inclusivity and equality. Interests include city life, politics and fashion.
@abiblain

This month, the Arcadia Group, which owns Topshop and other much-loved high street chains, including Dorothy Perkins and Burton, announced it has gone into administration. The future of these stores is uncertain, and there is a real possibility that Topshop, once a fashion behemoth, may close its doors forever.


The first time I visited Topshop, I was 12-years-old, and my mum took me on a shopping trip that felt like the height of glamour and sophistication. We perused the shops at The Oracle shopping mall in Reading with the promise that I would be treated to an outfit of my choosing.

Topshop was the only destination befitting such an occasion. The store's clothes filled the pages of every magazine loved by pre-teen girls, the coolest of whom only sported Topshop. Signaling a coming of age, it was where I stopped buying clothes labeled age 12-13 and started sifting the rails marked size 6-18.

I selected a pair of dark denim bootcut jeans, the height of 2008 style, with loops for the skinny red leather belt I had already picked out from the accessories section. Topshop jeans have become somewhat iconic for a generation of young women who have built collections out of the wide range of washes, rises, and cuts. The style evolution from too-tight Joni jeans to the raw hem straight leg cut is one charted by all high-street fashion mavens.

Every trip to Topshop Oxford Circus felt like being unleashed in a theme park. On moving to London, it remained the first place I would visit after my birthday or Christmas, my pockets lined with gifted cash.

There was always something about Topshop's allure, whether it was the relatively inclusive sizing options, including a petite and tall range, or the accessible price points that meant, even if I had to scrimp and save, I would be able to afford whatever sequined mini dress I was lusting after. I was convinced I would never outgrow Topshop in the way I had other high street retailers and particularly the fast-fashion websites touting garish bralettes and co-ords (two-piece clothing sets) to those jetting off to Dubai or Ibiza for the summer.

Despite my enduring love for Topshop and its wares, my relationship with the chain has become increasingly complicated in recent years. In 2018, its controversial owner, Sir Philip Green, hit the headlines after allegedly demanding that a feminist display be removed in the flagship store. The pop-up was intended to celebrate the publication of Feminists Don't Wear Pink and Other Lies but was dismantled after just twenty minutes. Many believed Topshop's position as a leading women's retailer meant it had a duty to empower those it sells to. This decision was a crushing blow for loyal shoppers who felt the store no longer represented them.

Green has been at the centre of several sexual harassment and racial abuse claims in more staggering revelations, which he categorically denies.

READ: What it means to be Black in the fashion industry

What it means to be Black in the fashion industry conversations.indy100.com

Being Black is my identity, not a trend.

This is not Green's first brush with the administration. In 2015, he sold another of his ventures, BHS, for just £1 as it began to hemorrhage money. This left thousands unemployed, with Green offering no support. Much the same looks likely to happen if the rest of the Arcadia Group collapses as predicted.

Famed for his short temper and lavish lifestyle, Green has, in recent years, become the embodiment of an unacceptable form of capitalism. One that disregards those at the bottom who prop up the entire structure, in favour of protecting the very few at the top.

While Topshop was once the go-to destination for millennial women, I believe that it has failed to move with modern times and make the online power plays that competitors, such as ASOS, have mastered. In an increasingly self-aware culture, Sir Philip Green's unwillingness to respect his staff and support social movements have established him as a figure of disgust for many in his target audience.

If Topshop is to close, it is sure to be a bittersweet moment for women up and down the UK who will take a moment to mourn the loss and consider their own memories of the chain. However, the real casualties will be the over 10,000 employees who are left jobless. More positively, Topshop's closure could mark a major moment of change in the UK fashion industry. It will demonstrate that consumers will not support brands that are unable to meet their needs.

In a world where we are more conscientious than ever, it is right that we demand higher standards from those who helm the business.

Have you got something to say about this subject? Submit a post here and start the conversation.

Children have a place on the frontlines of the culture wars

What Should We Do When the Culture Wars Invade Our Children’s Lives?

Children have a place on the frontlines of the culture wars
Front windshield and lights of a traditional yellow school bus.
Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

You know when there’s a controversy whether to include both sides to the Holocaust in a Texas school district, the culture wars have once again invaded the children’s lives. Similarly, in Southern Pennsylvania, books by people of color were banned (or per the official Central York School statement: “frozen” for an entire year.)

These discussions by the school boards are impacted by the bills passed in government, as in the case of House Bill 3979 requiring public school teachers to present various points of view when teaching about current events and social issues. Often, the impulse to clutch pearls and to “think of the children” is a rhetorical device to further political causes. As the larger climate in a racialized society such as the United States grapple with a history of slavery and the fight for racial justice--with the most current iteration being the black lives matter protests in the summer of 2020--what the children learn in schools have become a new battleground for those who land on opposing sides of this culture war.

Keep reading... Show less

Why I don’t always expect my children to be completely truthful

Personally, I don’t expect the kids to always be completely truthful. Sometimes their truth bombs can be very unwelcome

Why I don’t always expect my children to be completely truthful

It's 7 am on a Wednesday.

My five-year-old bursts into our room like a whirlwind, and I blearily say good morning and remind him that he's going into school dressed in his onesie and wellies for a "wild rumpus day."

He replied, "Yes, I know. Don't forget we need to bring in sausages for the party".

Suddenly I'm wide awake and interrogating him; "What sausages? What party? What do you mean we're bringing sausages?!" I have a vague memory of going into school as a kid with sausage rolls or cheese and pineapple sticks for end-of-year parties, but I didn't think that was still a thing.

Keep reading... Show less
#StartTheConversation by joining us on
x

Join our new platform for free and your post can reach a huge audience on Indy100 and The Independent join