The Journal is an online collection of articles and essays written and curated by Thomas W Coombs, published bi-annually.

Once you have read the issue, see the Curated Articles of Note section for some great words from elsewhere on the sartorial web.

Sign Up to the Mailing List Here and receive an exclusive article to your inbox with each issue along with an email only issue in the summer.

You can follow Thomas W Coombs on Instagram

Issue 32; The Rise of the Independent

Lock-down and isolation is taking its toll on us all, but also on big fashion brands.  US giant J.Crew has filed for bankruptcy along with a few other larger brands, the fashion world is reported to be the biggest hit and that as a whole it will be down more than forty percent of its key business.  Even though jobs will be lost which is never a good prospect, does this now push fast fashion to the side and open up the roads for smaller independent brands?

Earlier this year I turned by back on the fast fashion world and endeavoured to wear what I have until it comes the time that said item may not be repairable and finally meets its ultimate end.  Going forward looking at buying higher priced well made clothes from more independent creators, even an unlined bespoke jacket when mine becomes rags, or jeans, going for Hiut Denim which are all made in the UK and are sustainable rather then some mass produced designs from Next.

With all stores now closed and online becoming king, are people buying as much? The answer is simply no, they are not. You are less likely to browse on your, well, browser than you are in store.  Store shopping is a fun activity for some and is what makes you overspend and come home laden with branded bags for the obvious fashion show at home.  Now we are seeing smaller brands pushing ahead, &Sons with their classic designs getting bigger in their presence alone, along with bespoke tailors not just of Savile Row fame like King & Allen, along with leather workers like Equus Leather, or millers for fine plain jumpers like Glenbrae, there is a true makers revolution and I have only picked three of the more long running houses but you can find smaller UK Made companies all over.

The thought that people are not buying as much due to living mostly in tracksuit trousers and hoodies is also a reason for this.  Why buy that new suit when you are just sat at home, which is something I understand, so maybe save that constant onslaught of purchasing you normally would then buy that couple of higher priced items made from good quality materials and put together by an artist's hand, rather than machine number six in a warehouse out in India.

Recently everyone has noticed fast fashion, it began to be frowned upon and over the last year some stores are losing money and closing stores across the globe to save money.  Or pushing their online presence to survive.  It is because of the waste it creates, the wear twice throw away world is slowly coming to an end and I hope it does.  Time is reverting to a simpler age when clothes were made with care and lasted a lifetime.  Think of the vintage jackets from the 50’s still being worn and sold to others to this day, they are slightly faded and look worn but still strong and wearable.  In another fifty years that jacket will probably still be in good form and been worn but that jacket from the big well known brands, even the higher priced like Gucci will be in tatters on a landfill somewhere.

We have hit a pioneers world, one of creation and with the current climate, this may hit earlier than expected.