It's been so long since I last wrote a blog, I don't know where to start. Especially since the world has been upside down for the past year or so. I have had so many emotions throughout this whole Covid 19 pandemic and have wanted to sit down and write a blog about all of it many times. But, as I think it has been for most through all of this, I've mainly been living in survival mode and collecting my thoughts enough to write some kind of coherent ramblings has obviously proved too much thus far.
One of the biggest themes for me has been about a sense of disconnection. The lack of physical contact, being shut off from everyone through all the lockdowns and this constant fear of catching/spreading the virus which turns into the biggest anxiety when just being around other people. It's all been too much. It really struck me when our Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, revealed the recent 'roadmap' out of restrictions here in the UK. (It even feels weird stating my country knowing the fact this has affected people globally!). The last part of unlocking for 21st June that stated 'no legal restrictions on social contact'. It struck me as such madness that we have been living in a world where it has actually been illegal to simply socialise with other human beings!!
Another big theme in all this has been a sense of loss. It feels like we have lost so many things this past year, some albeit, temporarily. And others for good. One of the victims in all this was a long standing department store here in the UK, Debenhams. Now, it's not a new thing, losing these kind of shops and the pandemic certainly wasn't the only factor to contribute for Debenhams. We also had BHS, another department style store that fell into administration in 2016. Let's not forget the likes of Woolworths too, a low end version, but that went even earlier in 2009. In this modern world of online shopping, we don't need these kind of stores anymore. Gone are the days where we all had the time to go for a jolly down the high street and have an actual day out browsing the shops. These days we are anxiety driven stress heads that seem to only have the time to click a few buttons on our smart phones, enjoy next day delivery and get on with our days. The likes of Debenhams is just an outdated model that doesn't fit this fast paced, technology driven world.
But losing it in the midst of a pandemic has made it so much more emotive for me. It almost feels like the straw that broke the camel's back. Just one more thing to add to the list of Covid 19 casualties. Especially considering the company that bought it. If department stores are out, then fast fashion is indeed, in. Insidiously, it has crept up on us. Perhaps it was the 2008 recession. We got used to paying less and now it's all about the bargains. Boo Hoo were making headlines not that long ago for investigations into slavery in their Leicester clothes factory. It's hardly surprising considering the cheapness of their products. We surely can't all be ignorant to the fact that someone pays a price somewhere down the line. Cheap clothes = cheap labour. Now, my wardrobe is not completely devoid of cheap, fast fashion labels but I do prefer to pay more to get decent quality in return. Something that won't turn into a bobbled mess after a few washes. Debenhams seemed to have an accessible price point for good quality clothes. When I heard that Boo Hoo bought it, my thoughts were 'they will butcher it!'. You really do get what you pay for these days.
Another thing I will miss is the lingerie. I have bought my bras from there for many years now so I know what size I am in the particular styles that suit me. I always used to go in the store to get fitted also. I want to use an actual person with the expertise, not have to faff about with sizing charts, measuring tape and online quizzes to try to do it myself! On a practical note, I will now have to start again with the likes of Marks of Spencer as this will be the only type of this store left in the high street that will offer this kind of service! Very frustrating!
I visited Debenhams in my local high street of Southend-on-Sea for the closing down sale. Proving my point, as sad as I was about it all, I still couldn't resist a bargain, how bittersweet. There was a queue outside and as I stood there, taking in the depth of this fallen empire, thoughts going around my head, I composed a poem. And as soon as I walked in, looking at the empty shelves, everyone milling about, I burst into tears. The entirety of it all just really hit me. All of these things, the frustration over my underwear, the sense of loss, the rise of fast fashion, the end of an era and all these people losing their jobs to top it all off. I keep telling myself 'it's only a shop'. But it's so much more than that. It's a whole moment of history.
Debenhams Has Fallen
Living in a dystopian world
Hovering like vultures
Waiting to tear at the scraps
Of a fallen empire
Lost to the world of fast fashion
This is our legacy
We wear our masks
Living in fear
People tut at the lines
'Are they that sad?'
'It's closing down'
A small shrug
Tears in my eyes
This is what has become
It's all come undone
The empty shelves
A fallen empire
The last vestiges of decency
A world long since passed
To be buried
To be forgotten
Fast fashion will consume us all
I hope my poem conveyed the depth of my reflections and emotions. I would love to hear your thoughts on it all. Are you bothered Debenhams is closing down? How has it affected you, if at all? What do you think about fast fashion? Please do let me know in the comments or drop me an email, I do so love a deep discussion! What a crazy time to be alive, stay safe people!
I'm Julia, Just Creative Julia, jolly pleased to meet you!
Welcome to my creative lifestyle blog, established 2014. My creative journey in discovering my authentic self as a neurodivergent woman.
Embracing the Neuro Spicy! Here you will find many different topics centring around creativity, deep thoughts, mental health, food and more.