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What Is High Street Fashion? Your Guide To Affordable Glam

Fashion is a topic that captivates many people. Following trends and chasing the latest hot designers is a pastime for some. When you love clothes and style, it can be very easy to spend way too much money. But that is where high street fashion comes in. What is high street fashion? It is a British term for shops downtown in a city that sell ready-to-wear clothing.

high street fashion brands

However, it isn’t just your everyday wear. These designs are trendy, chic, and very much in demand.

The Fab Journey: How High Street Fashion Became Our BFF

The idea of the high street or main street of a city being the epicenter for shops and other vendors dates back to Victorian times.

It took a little while, though, for it to become synonymous with fashion.

The Stylish Beginnings: Slaying from the 50s and Beyond

The real birth of high street fashion was in the 1950s. The post-war era turned the once booming main streets back into a place where people could go to get anything, and fashion took a big step forward.

Fashion at this time was also going through a metamorphosis. People still dressed rather elegantly and proper, but the Boomer generation was coming of age, and they were ready to test the boundaries.

Still, not everyone had the money to shop for custom fashion. They longed for a low price point and ready to wear fashions.

People no long wanted design made to order and they didn’t need haute couture. They just wanted something easy that looked good.

The shops on high street offered exactly what they wanted, and the obsession began. Mass production of clothing helped to push out fashionable designs to the people.

The high street shops kept an eye on trends, such as pencil skirts and cigarette pants. They combined the demands into affordable and readily available styles that the public ate up.

The Glow-Up: From Niche to Netflix-Level Fame

In time, high street fashion brands became household names. Designers putting goods in these shops helped to make it part of everyday vernacular.

No one wondered what is high street fashion anymore. The first shops were boutiques. While they were high-fashion, they offered great options to the masses.

Eventually, department stores came onto the scene, offering wider selections and a more vibrant shopping experience.

Today, designers have their own shops that allow people to seek out the brands they love. The transformation of high street fashion got some help from celebrities and even royals.

The fashion followed the trends and provided for those who wanted style on a budget. Using inspiration from high fashion, these designers were able to bring the hottest looks to the average person, while also solidifying their role in the industry.

Queens of the High Street: The Brands We Stan

There have been many names in high street fashion. Some brands have withstood the test of time. Others have come hot onto the scene and made a huge impact on this market segment.

One name you will hear associated with this fashion segment is Marks & Spencer. This brand has been around since 1884, but it jumped full force into the high street scene in the 1950s as one of the first shops to really embrace the idea of this concept.

It is still going strong today, selling tailored and classic looks. Other names that are well-known in this niche include:

  • Topshop
  • House of Fraser
  • Laura Ashley
  • C&A
  • Athena
  • Morgan
  • Tammy Girl
  • Kookai

Today’s hot labels include a nice list of names offering pieces that are rich in style but priced to sell. H&M is a nice choice if you want to put together some wardrobe basics.

Head to COS for accessories that wow, like the super in-demand crossbody bag. Looks to Mango if you want polished outerwear that looks like it costs big bucks.

Zara is the right choice if you love well-made leather looks. If you need some exceptional knitwear, hit up Whistles.

But the hottest brand as of 2019 in high street fashion is Primark. This company knows how to do affordable fashion right.

They provide huge selections at low prices and push the value of their products to draw in consumers.

The Real Talk: Why High Street Fashion is #Goals

As you look into what is high street fashion, you will need to understand the characteristics that define these brands.

They are trendy, affordable, and available.

Budget-Friendly but Make it Fashion: Glam for All

The accessibility of high street fashion is a huge selling point. People want to get their hands on the looks they love right now, and these brands deliver.

They do it by prioritizing fast production and not being as demanding as luxury brands. A high-end fashion house will select only the best quality materials and use expert craftsmen to produce their goods because they can put out only a limited amount of products and charge a high price for them.

High street shops don’t have this option. They need to balance quality with price and ensure they can deliver quickly.

A nice comparison between high street and luxury is to look at a simple women’s trench coat. Both Burberry and Zara produce a nice coat that is well-made.

However, Burberry charges $2,590 whereas Zara prices it at $139.

The Trendsetter’s Paradise: Always Serving Looks

Fashion week is a very important time for the industry. Designers introduce new ideas that birth trends. It often sets the tone for the whole season of style.

One trademark of high street brands is they don’t just mass produce affordable clothing. They create real fashion.

They have design teams and focus on the details when creating pieces. The items they sell are truly stylish and trendy.

The ability to quickly produce clothing works well when chasing what is hot right now.

Speed is Chic: Get the Runway to Your Closet, ASAP!

The downside to fast fashion is that there is some compromise in quality. While these brands can produce looks that rival luxury brands, they cannot match them in quality.

Mass production means there isn’t time to ensure the design details are perfect. That isn’t to say they cannot produce higher quality items.

They are still very wearable and durable, but they probably won’t outlast luxury goods.

The Ripple Effect: High Street’s Pop-Culture & Planetary Vibes

Fashion has always played a role in shaping society. When you ask, “What is high street fashion all about? ” one thing you should note is that it is about culture.

There is a whole vibe surrounding this segment of the industry.

From Spotify to Screen: Why Celebs & Influencers are Obsessed

High street fashion isn’t just about selling clothing. It is a part of the culture in England. You could see its influence very early on.

One of the earliest impacts was in the television series Are You Being Served?. It ran from 1972 to 1985 and spawned multiple spin-offs.

The show centered around the staff at a department store selling men’s and women’s wear. Since then, many celebrities have worn high street brands.

Jennifer Lopez famously wore a pink Reformation dress on her honeymoon. Some celebrities have these brands as part of their daily wardrobe, such as Gigi Hadid, who wears Reformation leopard print loafers often.

Selena Gomez and Kate Middleton are fans of Sezane coats. Sienna Miller sports Mango, and cameras caught Margo Robbie in the brand’s three-piece suit.

Various influencers and celebrities post on social media about top brands, such as H&M and Primark, which only helps to keep high street front and center.

Vogue even backs pieces from high street, creating a list of the top picks from top brands, including:

  • Mango’s leather buckle ankle boot
  • H&M oversized turtleneck jumper
  • COS denim maxi shirt dress
  • AllSaints Frieda Camouflage Tapered Denim Trousers

The Green Dilemma: Can Fast be Eco-Fabulous?

When asking the question, “What’s high street fashion? ” it isn’t possible to ignore one major issue. Many brands have been under fire for using cheap labor and manufacturing that is polluting the environment.

Some have voiced concerns that the clothing is throwaway fashion. In the UK, government officials have concerns about the brands wasting resources and contributing to climate change.

But designers have stepped up to show high street can also be sustainable. BooHoo launched the Ready for the Future initiative.

Through this program, the brand uses recycled materials and ethically sourced materials to offset concerns. Zara has the Closing the Loop program.

It is a repair and reuse program to discourage waste and use recycled packaging. The platform allows consumers to resell items through Zara to give them a second life.

Forward-Thinking & Fab: Tech’s Trendy Takeover

Besides looking to the future and creating sustainable companies, high street brands also have to pay attention to technology.

Businesses are having a tough time due to the current economy, but online competition seems to thrive. The old retail model is no longer cutting it.

It requires revamping to engage consumers and create a unique, personalized experience to them. Luxury brands are already embracing the technology revolution.

They use AI to analyze customer behavior and create customer experiences. They are making use of social media and mobile apps to capture younger consumers.

They are even introducing virtual fitting rooms for a more lively online shopping experience. Now, high street must get on board or be left behind.

What is high street fashion? The simple answer is it is affordable fashion for the average Jane. High street provides trendy looks for people on a budget, and it continues to be an important part of British culture.