Slow Shopping

Earlier this week we made an emergency detour to the Trafford Centre! I say emergency detour because the M6, M57 and M58 were all snarled up due to a couple of serious accidents. Our options were limited, so a stroll round the shops and a quick meal seemed like a better alternative than sitting in the car for hours.

We used to visit the Trafford Centre fairly regularly for after work shopping, but we have hardly been since Covid, so we were interested to see how the shops are faring. The first thing we noticed was that there are a lot of voids, including the huge space where Marks and Spencer used to be. M&S has moved into the old Debenhams unit, which is great for M&S, but does leave a very large gap. Secondly, so many familiar faces have disappeared and been replaced with shops and names we don't recognise. Finally, and really positively, the restaurant area is buoyant with lots of new restaurants and caf├ęs, as well as the survival of the old favourites.

But what struck us most forcefully was how our own shopping habits have changed. Obviously we do a lot more shopping on line, who doesn't, but we have also become more mindful and aware shoppers. I have never had much time for "fast" fashion, but over recent years I have become even more interested in "slow" fashion. I especially like small boutiques and labels, where, quite often, you know who has produced the item you are purchasing. Two of my recent favourites are Oubas, a knitwear company based in Ulverston and Indigowares. Lisa, the owner of Indigowares says "we craft our one of a kind jackets from super soft hand-dyed organic cottons and vintage patterned kantha textiles".

I love ethical fashion, and find myself embracing Ruskinian values more and more "quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort". I shudder when I see people carrying huge Primark bags stuffed full of "disposable" clothing. Most of these clothes won't survive their first wear and wash!

Ruskin used dress, cloth and household items to offer solutions to social, ethical, aesthetic and economic problems of his time. It seems to me that nothing has really changed. Our approach to shopping today does make a clear demarcation between the wealth of society and the illth of society (Ruskin's word for the opposite of wealth). 

I love buying items which are having a positive impact on the lives of people making them, rather than the impact of fast fashion the environment and garment workers.

Well made, beautiful clothes never go out of fashion, they stay in your wardrobe for years and years, becoming imbued with memories and becoming more loved over time.

It does seem ironic, however, that much of my slow shopping happens on our super fast broadband!