A Love Letter To Topshop As It Goes Into Administration
It was news that left every former basic 00's girl was left floored by earlier this week - Arcadia has gone into administration.
The news put the future of a number of once-beloved high-street staples in doubt, with stores like Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and even Topshop potentially having to close their doors.
I can still remember the exact moment my Topshop obsession took flight.
The year was 2008, maritime chic was very much à la mode and every major designer worth their salt was drawing inspiration from Captain Pugwash.
My 14-year-old self was obsessing over a navy blue strappy top, decorated with a red trim, white bib and gold buttons... only available from Topshop.
It was sold out in every branch because Holly Willoughby had been spotted wearing it on The Xtra Factor - making it the hottest property around.
When I finally tracked it down to the Windsor store, lurking in the Last Chance To Buy section, I wore it constantly - and I mean constantly.
I haven't worn that naughty navy blue nautical number for about eight years now, but it still hangs proudly in my wardrobe because I just can't bear to part with it, despite the fact I could probably barely squeeze my left tit in it now.
But it marked the beginning of a lifelong Topshop obsession. I made it my business to know what was in stock and style every weekend, religiously checking the rails for the latest trends.
The slinky red lace number I took to uni, the blue puffball dress I wore to my cousin's wedding, the black jumpsuit I wore for New Year's Eve; they were all from Topshop.
The high street giant, for me and for millions of other noughties teens, was our first foray into fashion - a stepping stone in curating our sense of style today.
More Like ThisMore Like This
It was one of the hallmark brands of the noughties' Cool Britannia renaissance, peaking in 2007 with Kate Moss x Topshop collaboration which still fetches for hundreds on eBay, and later endorsed by supermodels Cara Delevingne and Gigi Hadid.
Beyonce launched her Ivy Park range in store in 2016, and it regularly fetched A-Listers on the FROW for its London Fashion Week show. It was the high street brand with a seat at fashion's top table, admired by both couture darlings and your best mate at school.
It bordered on the slightly more expensive side of the high street but was still, for the most part, reasonably priced considering its quality; its jeans were so beloved, a pair in the UK once sold every 10 seconds.
During the height of its influence, Topshop towered over brands like New Look and H&M by constantly innovating; bringing lesser-known labels, such as The Ragged Priest, Illustrated People and Skinny Dip, to the mainstream.
But being so painfully on-trend was a poisoned chalice for Topshop, as it grew tiring going on a night out and seeing a thousand other girl in the same sparkly top as you (don't even get me started on that polka dot dress). And somewhere in the chasm between sixth form and leaving university, my Topshop obsession had waned - as seemingly did everyone else's.
But ultimately, it struggled to keep up with its competitors in the fast fashion field which, for all its sins (and there are lots of sins) can see Kim Kardashian wear a dress on Monday, make a copy of it by Tuesday and be sold out by Friday.
By comparison, Topshop was expensive; little wonder, then, that the chain has failed to capture the imagination of teens in the 2010s when even people who actually earn money don't want to splurge.
The brand's reputation took a nose dive after owner Philip Green was accused of racial, physical and sexual abuse against staff, with many boycotting Topshop altogether.
And, quite simply, a lot of us grew out of it; opting for the convenience of online shopping, free postage and next-day delivery.
The coronavirus has taken its toll on its high street, with once constant staples such as Debenhams now facing extinction due to repeated lockdowns, redundancies and uncertainty.
But it will be a sad day for millions of young women across the country should Topshop close its doors permanently - and while it's a relic of the past we will always fondly remember the hours we spent flicking through the rails begging our parents for the latest looks.
Topshop, you and your jeans will be missed.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read