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In a world of apparent political and economic instability, a Jennifer Lopez-style image — $10,000 Versace dresses, fake tan and real diamonds — seems not aspirational but irrelevant. So on shoestring budgets, and often with no training, young women are creating their own ad hoc, random subcultures. Don’t like the music that’s on the radio? Start your own band. Don’t like the images being pushed by magazines? Create your own ’zine. Bored with the clothes on the catwalks? Buy second-hand pieces and customise them yourself.
It’s DIY culture writ large, it’s tinged with feminism and it’s fast becoming one of the big cultural forces in Britain.
Also reflecting this aesthetic is Stella McClure, a 26-year-old stallholder at Portobello market in west London. She used to work for Levi’s but found the experience unsatisfying. She now sells customised second-hand clothes and her own handmade range of bags under the slogan “Granny made me do it”.
“When I was at college I did aspire to the whole Prada thing, but now I get much more pleasure from going to a jumble sale and picking something random up for 20p,” she says.
“If you have all the money in the world, of course you can go into Dolce & Gabbana and come out looking great, but that doesn’t take any skill or imagination.”
Her next line of clothes will be a range of T-shirts with political slogans. It includes a picture of the Queen’s face above the slogans “squatter” and ”Head of the British mafia” designs that subconsciously references the Sex Pistols’ infamous “God save the Queen” image.
By Kira Cochrane, The Times.