Over the past 20 years, fast fashion has turned many of us into Veruca Salts. Do you remember the spoiled little rich girl from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, who in the 1971 movie sang her way into and down the garbage chute with a chorus of “Don’t care how, I want it now. Don’t care how, I want it now”? Low-cost, high-street chain stores are the sartorial equivalent of Willy Wonka’s chocolate rooms – full of goodies that distract consumers from anything other than instant gratification – and like that other golden ticket-holder Augustus Gloop, whose eyes were bigger than his belly, our eyes became bigger than our wardrobes.
There was a time when gratuitous shopping was considered harmless fun, like smoking and sunbeds. But since the narrative around throwaway fashion has become as demonising as the health warnings on cigarette packets, the case for investing in luxury goods is gaining ground. While in the early noughties, it was considered a sartorial coup to find a cheap imitation of a Carrie Bradshaw classic, like the Fendi baguette she sported throughout the show’s six-series run,...