Scots in the sunshine

Blog by Lindsay West | 17 Jun 2008

There's a joke that goes, "How many fashion editors does it take to change a lightbulb?", the punchline of which is something that approximates to: "(Insert arbitrary number) - one to change it, and the rest to ask if the room comes in black." Much to the chagrin of many a designer, mainstream fashion editors have long been the Henry Fords of the industry - appreciating the chartreuses and the heliotropes* from afar, but selecting noir, noir, and more noir for themselves and their readers' 'real lives'. "We're not all Agyness Deyn, you know," so the logic goes, "Magenta just isn't going to fly in Huddersfield." The easiest of all possible easy options, a basecoat of black is the real gold standard within the industry, despite all Gok Wan's good works to the contrary. Frankly, it's going to take more than a nude catwalking session in Bluewater to prise fashion editors from their shades of sable, and so for good or probably for ill, the only 'new black' is black and black alone.

However, though I write to you drenched in sooty hues almost from head to toe, it is only partly due to its implied presence in my job description. Readers, I am in mourning. Inexplicably, it is that time of year again. Fashion's off season, summertime, is back once more. Don't get me wrong: we're not talking couture. Spring/Summer consistently makes for blissful catwalk collections - ethereal goddesses in pastel shades, walking on a combination of air and 100% vegan Stella McCartney heels - but we live in the real world. And it is a world of global warming-fuelled unpredictable temperatures and, more locally, a world which historically has no idea what to do with summer.

For evidence, see the ubiquitous scarlet collarbones accessorised on every street in our fair land, the day after a scorcher. Sun being so rare, so fleeting, and now, so unhealthily unprotected, the country freaks and heads outside for a good five-hour bake, SPF be damned. But being that sun is, largely speaking, still a novelty item, our bodies are hopelessly unprepared for exposure to the elements - let alone the town centre. Most of us are poor, pasty, unexfoliated urchins by nature, and if street style is anything to go by, summer is hailed by an onslaught of sunburn, sweat patches, fake tan streaks and strap marks.

Mark my words, there's only one good thing about summer here, and that's the rare license to wear sunglasses at all times. The rest is just shiny, urban hell in synthetic fabrics, alternately burning and freezing as the fickle sunshine wanders in and out as it pleases. Its a tough game, this, so we won't point out where your St Tropez ends, or giggle at your red bits. We're not going to talk about bikini diets, or cruisewear, or how best to tie your sarong, because we know you're doing your best. And being swathed in heat-sucking black, we fashion editors have it worse than most, and so if you don't mind, I'll just pull on the Ray Bans, and wait another ten minutes for the weather to change.

* yellow-green, and purple, in case you were wondering