Monday, 29 November 2010

Beer Vs. Fashion In the Land of the Tall Dwarves*

You'd never guess it to look at me, but I quite like fashion. I used to work for a small producer of very high-end printed textiles – in fact, that was my first job when I quit school at 16 years old. I even occasionally look at a couple of fashion blogs – Swagger 360 is my favourite.

The fashion business is a funny one. High fashion (couture) is the bit that gets everyone excited. The press lap up London Fashion Week, New York Fashion week, Dolce E Gabbana. It gets column inches, it gets the press and fashionistas worked up into a lather, but it is about as far remover from what people wear on the street as it is possible to get.

But the top end is where the icons work. There is a bit of trickle-down effect, where what happens on the catwalk influences high-street fashion. It would be unkind to call this sort of influence 'knock off' – at least it shows that someone is paying attention, and that there should be a bit of attention paid to what we wear.

However, the majority of what happens on the catwalk has little or no influence on what people actually wear. Despite the column inches given to sheepskin, metallics and wide-cuffed ankle boots, the delirium induced by a zip-up-the-back dress, and the brouhaha about marble print.

Does this ring any bells for beer-lovers?

Inspired by Phil at 'Oh Good Ale'

*the 'tall dwarf' comment came up at the Guild dinner last week. It's a faintly disparaging way of saying 'in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king'.



  1. Don't you mean Marble Pint? (-;

  2. The whole point about the fashion parades is that the influences filter down to the high street, so you might not be walking up and down Leeds in a catsuit made of rivets, but you might get a Next one influenced by that extravaganza.

  3. Adrian: Do post pictures on your blog when you do!

  4. Tandleman - good spot! But no.

    Adrian - as I say, couture is the top end of fashion, and it does trickle down. But believe it or not, Next is a mid- to up-market retailer - there are a lot of people who can't afford to shop at Next, and wouldn't want to wear that sort of thing even if they could.

  5. Not sure if you're agreeing with my post or disagreeing, but cheers anyway! (It probably depends who the tall dwarves are.)

  6. Phil - is it that opaque?! I agree with you, by the way - I think that I'm trying to put my win at the Guild awards into perspective - although I can rightly claim to be a national award-winning author, I still have some way to go before I'm Charles Campion (or even Pete Brown, for that matter).

  7. Actually, I'm confusing myself now - it's about signal-to-noise ratio. The beers that get the most column or blog inches are the ones that sell the least (with the exception of Cooking Lager, of course).

    It's a good job no-one reads this, or I'd look like a proper twit.

  8. That makes sense. I was wondering if it was British beers that were tall dwarves compared with American beers, or the writers were tall dwarves compared with Michael Jackson, or what.

    The catwalk analogy is a good one. I drink regularly at one of the Marble pubs, and when I don't go there I usually go to a Spoons which is staffed by CAMRA people; I'm well over on the "beer geek" side of normal, in other words. And I've never tasted a "double IPA", let alone a black ditto.

  9. Is the amount of American C hops in recent British pale ales a sign that the couture filters down? Still, neither Fullers Vintage or Tokyo* have made the local WMC though so perhaps not? Either way, lovely metaphors Zak and Phil.

    @ATJ Describing Next as 'influenced' by high end fashion is somewhat polite perhaps(!)


Sorry about the word verification - the blog was getting spammed to bits.