The Only Way is MenStyleFashion
I recently had the privilege of working with Conor Scurlock on a shoot for my recent article on Winter 2013 fashion by Jigsaw Menswear and the upcoming trend of Junkyard Fashion, however his appearances on hit TV show ‘The Only Way is Essex‘ has made me question what exactly the fuss is about.
Born and raised in Essex myself, I was intrigued to find out what made my home town of Brentwood, where ‘TOWIE’ is filmed, so amazing. Conor is based in Colchester, but even there, he explains, the trend of fake tan, big eyelashes and mini skirts is hitting it big time. Essex has never been the fashion capital of the world, but never before have I seen a town – a county – change its complete appearance as a result of a TV show.
Although I’m now based in London, visiting my family brings a lot of sighs and questions as I drive through the town centre and witness the groups of orange
women girls and manicured men hanging around outside the pub, now turned nightclub, the Sugar Hut. Although it has brought attention to the world of fashion and the effect of making conscious decisions on what one is wearing, the impact of ‘TOWIE’ on mine and Conor’s home county has made me wonder exactly how conscious the people of Essex are.
Don’t get me wrong, Essex still has its elite, its successful and its fashionistas; the Aston Martins and Jaguars are still commonplace, and the typical ‘smartboy’ look is still rife. However, I must congratulate the costume designer and makeup ‘artists’ at ITV who have somehow managed to get 90% of Essex, and in particular Brentwood’s, young people looking like Oompa Loompas when there’s no fancy dress parties to be seen.
An April Fools Joke from ITV?
However, in writing this article I have realised my opinion is rapidly changing. There is no doubt the reputation of Essex has changed since the first broadcast of ‘TOWIE’, and its influence on Britain’s young people has certainly caused a stir; but could this not be a good sign? Something to show how influenceable Britain’s young people are, and that something should really be done to increase their self determinism? I’m not sure.
Orange skin and fake lashes aside, the increased care and attention being put in to our appearance has undoubtedly had an impact on the way we treat our bodies – and more specifically, dress them. It is now the social norm to turn up to a social gathering wearing a suit jacket, smart shirt and nice jeans – and as Conor Scurlock agrees, weird looks are now gotten for NOT showing up in nice clothes.
Conor Scurlock – Transformed Essex Boy
These images illustrate a transformed Essex boy, who with the help of some Jigsaw’s styling and Junkyard fashion finds, turns into a respectable businessman ready for Winter 2013. Whilst getting his hair trimmed in Pimps and Pinups in Spitalfields, Conor shows us how tying his jumper around his neck can turn his outfit into a top style, despite causing a stir back at home.
Is this the start of localised fashion? Or simply a continuation? The increased attention on bodily care and grooming has created an influx in men actually thinking about what they’re wearing, but the typically British procrastination and conservatism remains: men question what would be socially acceptable, what colours go with what, and how the outfit can fit together.
A Divided British Public on Fashion
The creation and continuation of TOWIE therefore leaves the British public divided: does one follow the trend, or rise above the Oompa Loompas – which surely shouldn’t be hard – and choose your own style? I’d vote the latter, but then again, I wouldn’t want to walk through the back streets of Shoreditch in a tartan kilt.