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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Fashion notes: Don’t spend big on cheap materials

Cotton jerseys, mesh-like nets, PVC plastics and the nouveau-riche neoprene. Wrinkle-free and tempting as they may be, they’re not worth the big bucks.
Money for old rope? Maison Margiela models in outfits made from 'expensive cheap' fabrics. SIPA/REX Shutterstock
Money for old rope? Maison Margiela models in outfits made from 'expensive cheap' fabrics. SIPA/REX Shutterstock

Cotton jerseys, mesh-like nets, PVC plastics and the nouveau-riche neoprene. Wrinkle-­free and tempting as they may be, they’re not worth the big bucks – but it’s hard to resist when they’re all over runways, store displays and fashion pages. This in-your-face influx of materials that were once considered to be tacky leaves us vulnerable and unquestioning, when we should really be asking ourselves if it’s worth spending whopping amounts of cash on less-than-deserving textiles.

What brought about this quality slide, you may ask? Well I hate to point fingers, since I’m a big proponent of the current “sports luxe” craze, but my guess is that it’s to blame for the invasion of fabrics such as jersey, neoprene and dreaded meshes into the high-fashion scene. Because it has maintained its position as a must-follow manner of dressing, and our chase after what’s considered “on trend” remains unwavering, the value of once highly sought-after materials such as luxurious silks, French chiffons and ­Chantilly laces has been undermined and somewhat forgotten.

What we should be paying for is quality and luxury, not current trend appeal, especially when it leads us to spend our hard-earned salaries on purposely ripped garments and clothing that resembles fishing nets. The fact that big-name department store buyers are opting to buy into these styles, tasteless as they may be, only encourages consumers to play along.

It’s easy to get sucked into the cheap-but-costly fabric vortex. I’ll give you a personal example: I’ve had my eye on the classic all-black leather Antigona bag by Givenchy for quite a while, and when I saw that the same style is now available for Dh1,000 less, though in a “rubberised canvas” material, I almost caved. Shameful to think I almost dished out close to Dh6,000 on rubberised canvas. This is how they catch you – slap a brand name on a rubber bag and it becomes a hot buy.

Be wary of being ensnared by such spiels. Another ­rubber-like textile comes to mind – remember those jelly sandals that made a comeback last summer? Well, it seems like the trend has yet to die out, as the jewellery designer Shourouk has launched jelly sandals as part of its spring/summer 2015 collection, retailing for about Dh2,000 – albeit they are topped off with some blingy but plainly artificial jewels.

Transparent biker jackets and raincoats made from plastic and PVC that are retailing for about Dh2,000 are also overpriced, especially when you can pick up one at Camden Market for literally a twentieth of the cost during your next trip to ­London.

Indulge your cheap fabric cravings on the high street, and keep your splurges special. Limit your style investments to quality leathers, timeless cuts and classic pieces. Buy those Manolo Blahniks and Chanel boy bags, and if your budget permits, look to designer attire for statement pieces that will last – dresses that you adore and will wear more than once, and a coat that will still look stylish come winter 2018. Which means you’ll need to resist giving into that garish rainbow fur that you saw on the runway.

Create distressed jeans yourself with some scissors and your own worn-out denim, and get your costume jewellery fixes at Aldo Accessories – not ­Christian Dior.