White t-shirt stories are…
A series of candid conversations with creatives and interesting people, uncovering their values and style.
Vikki Pearson is..
…a slow-fashion advocate and founder of London based lifestyle blog Style&Minimalism.
EON: I always say that a white t-shirt is a style staple. I’m wondering what makes up your essential wardrobe?
VP: It’s things like the white t-shirt, a pair of denim jeans and some plain white trainers. A black leather biker jacket’s pretty key I think. It’s timeless and goes with everything and anything. Maybe a pair of black ankle boots too and a good jumper, one that’s well made and of good quality. I look for things that are very easy to wear and mix with other items. A Breton t-shirt perhaps as well, you can’t go wrong with one of those!
EON: Apart from their style and versatility, what else do you look for in a garment that would make you want to buy it?
VP: So firstly, quality. I also look for something natural, not made from synthetic fibres. I’m interested in a fabric’s hand feel because that’s how it’s going to feel on your skin, which in turn affects how you’re going to feel about wearing it. Generally, natural fibres feel a hell of a lot better than synthetics! If they feel good on, then you feel more comfortable wearing them and that’s key for me.
Cut is also important. It doesn’t have to be super fitted, but something that’s flattering and that you are comfortable in.
Style&Minimalism - Transitional Trench
EON: What about price, how much of a role does that play in your buying decision?
VP: I guess it does to a certain extent. I’m not going to go and spend £400 on a jumper just because I think it looks really nice and it’s good quality because that’s not good value. I’m going to look for something more midrange like £50-£150. Equally, I would not buy really cheap garments because they have probably been manufactured in a less than ethical way to keep the price down.
So yes, price does play a part but there’s more to it than that.
EON: Are you quite brand loyal or do you like to buy from lots of different brands?
VP: I have my go-to brands for certain things but I’m very much about discovering a new, niche brand. I think some of the smaller labels coming through that are doing things really well are less well known, so you do have to search for them a bit. It’s also about finding something a bit different - I don’t want to wear what everyone else is wearing.
EON: How much value does ‘Made in Britain’ add for you?
VP: It certainly adds value to me but it wouldn’t be essential. If I see it, I’m willing to pay a little bit more for it because I know that it’s building the industry in this country.
EON: So moving on to your blog which has quickly become more than the side project you mentioned it started off as. What direction do you plan to take it in?
VP: Do you know what? I don’t really know in all honesty! I started it as a project and it’s something I really enjoy doing, and now I’m looking to find a way to make it more long-term. It’s now a question of trying to put together a plan of what I want it to be and also grow it sustainably.
I don’t necessarily want to take the same route as others have. At the moment there are a lot of bloggers who jump around from one brand to another because it’s getting them exposure and it’s an opportunity to be paid. I want to be a bit more specific by focusing on brands doing things well and reiterating the idea of timeless essentials and not encouraging overbuying.
EON: How do you tackle a blog centred on clothing and style, without encouraging overconsumption?
VP: I guess I’m not always wearing new things. I’m often wearing older items and just highlighting how much I like the brand. I think that emphasises that it isn’t necessarily about buying something new every season, but adding in the things that you might need to replace.
I also look for vintage items – I recently did a piece on vintage shops in London.
So it’s not all about buying something new every season; it’s about relying on old favourites and buying things that are going to last.
Style&Minimalism - American Vintage
EON: What about trends? Do they play a role and if so how do they play a role in your posts?
VP: I’d say I’m not really trend led. I’m certainly interested and look into it and follow it but ‘minimalism’ for example, which I feature a lot, has been a ‘trend’ since the 90’s, so it’s not new. It might seem like a trend every season but it’s the same thing being reiterated in a slightly different way. So I’m still ‘on trend’, even though I’m not necessarily doing things differently.
EON: What excites you about the fashion industry today?
VP: I think it’s exciting that there is now a space in the market for sustainable brands. That they are not labelled as ‘hippy’ or ‘hemp only’ products, they’re on a par with others brands in terms of style.
And the fact that we are trying to do new things - there are lots of small businesses popping up, we are very entrepreneurial now in this country. I think since the recession more young people are starting brands, and I think a lot of them have thought about why they are creating those brands and what they can do to create something for the future.
I also find those small brands function very much like a community. You know, I introduced some brands to others and they’ve gone off and done things together. They support each other and that’s really nice. When you think of the fashion industry, you often think of massive companies just churning things out, but there are all these little brands getting together doing things and trying to help each other out. There’s a nice community aspect to it.
EON: How will our purchasing patterns and what we look for in clothing, for example, greater transparency, encourage brands, large and small to adapt?
VP: I think people need to be more educated first. At the moment there isn’t enough education about what makes a good brand. You know, what exactly is ‘doing it right’?
EON: Who’s in charge of providing that information do you think? Is it educational establishments, brands..?
VP: I don’t think big brands are going to do it because it’s not in their best interest. They want to continue on the path they are on because that’s what’s making them money and that’s what they are interested in at the moment. I think it’s the people, the shoppers’ opinions that need to change first. Then, once that’s come about, brands will begin to say okay, if we want to keep our customers, we’re going to have to change our ways.
EON: So it’s going to come from the bottom up?
VP: Yes, but I don’t think they are necessarily affected by a few people saying ‘we’re not going to buy this because…’.There needs to be a larger volume of people. The British Fashion Council could do more to raise awareness, as could the local press, as well as bloggers and influencers. I think at the moment if we carry on doing what we’re doing, it’s all going to come crashing down…
EON: Absolutely, I mean I don’t think that’s even debatable, it’s a fact…
VP: It’s got to change at some point, but where’s the tipping point? I think it’s that combination of small people doing things right and getting that message out. I don’t think it’s going to come from the top.
EON: I agree, but I also think we need the bigger brands to make the move because they have a lot of impact and the potential to do something great…
VP: I think you’re right, but at the same time you have to look at their situation. They’ve got factories all over the place, as well as staff, and to be able to do it the right way, they’d have to change a lot of things and spend a lot of money doing it. So for them the question is do they take a massive hit, and do things the right way, or do they carry on doing what they’re doing, making money and providing jobs?
We are big fans of Vikki's approach to slow fashion and minimal living. Enjoy reading: Style&Minimalism
Interview conducted and editing for post by Eleanor O'Neill: www.study34.co.uk
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