You know I love me a good old documentary, throw in some fashion and I’m all over that like a rash. So when I was waiting for Rupaul’s Drag Race UK to be released this Thursday and stumbled upon this one, I instantly knew I needed to write a reaction/thoughts post about it as I’m sure you can imagine I had a few comments!
For a bit of background, Breaking Fashion follows fast fashion brand In The Style on some of their collaborative collection launches with celebrities and influencers, giving you a backstage look into the process for launching a crazy fast collection. You can watch the docuseries on BBC iPlayer if this sounds up your alley, but read on for a bit more background if you’re not too sure.
At the time of writing, there were five episodes covering the launches of collaborations with Lorna Luxe, Lottie Tomlinson, Dani Dyer and Emily Atack, as well as a final pop-up collection. Upon each episode you get a look into a different part of the design to sale process from design meetings and location shoots to the trials and tribulations of suppliers getting orders wrong – it’s part and parcel when ordering from overseas. Front man of the show is founder and CEO Adam Frisby who started the brand in 2014 with just £1000 and is now turning over £40 million a year – pretty impressive right? Successful as he is, in the initial episodes he comes across as a major control freak that can’t seem to let his staff take responsibility for their parts in the process – whether that’s for the cameras, how the business is usually run or part and parcel for an entrepreneur that started a business from nothing, we won’t really know. But as the episodes pass you get a better understanding of why he works the way he does and how he’s driven himself and his business to become what it is today.
I’m just coming out and saying it, Adam and the crew were pandering to the high and mighty Lorna Luxe and her “demands” to be whisked off to Cannes for her shoot. The staff looked ready to cry and the team looked like they needed a good holiday with Lorna and her bezzies in Cannes when one of the outfits went AWOL and could potentially lead to a no-go situation (bit extreme imo). This episode focuses on the overseas shoot and launch of the collaborative collection – the infamous influencer trips take a lot of planning and you get a good insight into the buying and merchandising teams. I finished the episode with the thought that it’s this kind of press that makes everyone think influencers are demanding arseholes.
Sister of Louis Tomlinson (shout out to all my fellow Directioners), this episode focuses on the design process and a press trip to Ibiza filled with more drama. Cue the Spanish police herding out the film crew from a location for not having a permit, Lottie sitting around with a face like a slapped arse for the majority of the episode and turning her nose up at the designs being presented to her (don’t be mistaken and think that the collaborations mean the celebrities/influencers are designing the collections).
This episode surrounded the launch of the swimwear collection created in collaboration with Dani Dyer, who they’d worked with on a few other collections before, but never a swimwear one which everyone was worried about (they were seemingly worried about all of them to be honest). The biggest curveball of the episode was an order of bikinis which had been sent without the print they’d ordered, meaning they’d either send them back or buy them at a discounted price. My issue with this was the waste and the throw-away attitude there was when discussing what had happened. I’m sure it happens more often than not in many fashion companies, but the blasé attitude really rubbed me up the wrong way.
I love Emily and this episode gave a really great behind the scenes look at her on a shoot following a shitty news story about her gaining weight. I enjoyed this episode as it was focused on a “real girl” that wasn’t your typical Instagram model/influencer and the usual shit you see – it also showed a different side to the company as I’ve always seen it as one that pushed the whole Instagram lifestyle. There were the usual dramas I’d started to become accustomed to and the overbearing Adam had an unfortunate “told ya so” moment which I hated.
The penultimate episode gave us a better understanding of what Adam had been eluding to throughout the opening credits in the last few episodes and his “challenge” to those that question their stance on fast fashion. I can’t say I felt more enlightened, but did come away thinking about whether other fast fashion companies would be so open to discussing it in such a candid way.
I didn’t see anything that really made me think differently about the fast fashion industry or question my own beliefs. Fast fashion is exactly that, it encourages a throwaway culture that isn’t sustainable and doesn’t motivate people to be individual. Each episode opens with clips from the series, one of which is Adam saying he’d “challenge that” when questioned about fast fashion companies not caring about the environment, but I wasn’t really wasn’t sold as he continued to say how their clothing is well made, the processes they have in place to reduce waste and their garments are designed to be kept, not thrown-away. I didn’t come away feeling any differently due to the pure nature of a fast fashion model – you can’t continuously push new clothing every two weeks and not expect everyone to continue buying and throwing away the old lot – it’s simply unsustainable. Let me know if you’ve watched the series and if you’ll be tuning into the final episode!