Friday, March 23, 2007

Little Britain in Manhattan

I hadn’t realised that the promotion of a Little Britain area in New York was the burning issue of the hour until I received an email today askng my opinion from two London friends who live on different planets: a fashion PR and a barrister. To those who presume I spend my time browsing in Paul Smith, with a Lulu Guinness carrier swinging from my finger tips, before chugging down cups of Earl Grey in Tea & Sympathy and moving onto (a portion of) fish & chips (vinegar, wrapped) at A Salt & Battery, the answer, dear reader, is no, I do not. When I can buy a Crème Egg and a pot of Marmite in my local corner shop why pray wld I walk 35 mins to the West Village to buy the same articles from a load of homesick Little Englanders?

Whilst I am not against the idea of being able to buy Twinings & HP in Manhattan (thank Christ I can because Lipton tea is foul, and HP – well, nuff said), heading to a faux British enclave to do so seems asinine. Integration is what makes great cities fabulous; ghettoisation does not, even if all it boils down to is a few overpriced British stores drumming up some free publicity.

The eternal complaint that British fashion isn't taken seriously on the international stage isn't going to be resolved whilst we continue to focus on nationality as a defining characteristic rather than quality and individuality.