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Why you should be watching ‘Breaking Fashion’

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bristol chapter.

As someone who usually avoids fast fashion brands, I found myself intrigued to watch BBC Three’s new documentary called ‘Breaking Fashion’ which examines the fast-fashion brand In The Style’s bi-monthly campaigns lasting over the summer. Not only have I watched because BBC Three so rarely does any fashion documentaries, but I found that you really see the brand on a personal level. With the documentary being filmed at their HQ in Manchester, you get a genuine picture of the daily challenges that the brand faced, not like other documentaries, for example ‘Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue’ where a heavily modified picture of what was actually going on behind the scenes was featured.

Not only has the documentary given a realistic perception of running a business, as one that can be flawed by technology, manufacturing and personnel problems at any given moment (including 12 minutes before the launch of a new campaign), but it also demonstrated to me how fragile the fashion industry could be. Any campaign could either make or break the business. With so much money needing to be ploughed into marketing and advertising for the campaign to be successful and reach the target market, a misjudged clothing range could cause the brand to collapse. This was a really interesting aspect to see in the documentary, as In The Style sees its competitors as Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing but is not yet turning over profits to match them and is still considered a small brand in this over-populated market. Therefore, any wrong move has the potential to be catastrophic.

The CEO Adam Frisby is a particularly impressive part of this documentary. Having started the company with only £1000 investment, he has made a real success of the brand with an annual turnover of £40 million. Yet no matter how profitable any of these campaigns are, it is simply not good enough for Adam who always strives for better. This is pertinent because it contradicts the stereotype that his generation are under-achievers who lack a work ethic and are spoon-fed success; Adam instead shows real grit and determination.

One thing I would like to see the documentary challenge, as it has not yet done, is the perception of fast fashion. With this series focusing on very short campaigns, the clothes themselves also have a very limited shelf-life to be promoted and sold within. As someone who personally invests in better quality clothes but less frequently, I found the concept of this very hard to accept. Especially given the negative media around fast fashion brands at the moment and their impact on the environment.  

Though I might not fundamentally agree with In The Style’s approach towards fashion, I find the ability to see the working environment of a fashion brand so valuable to my own understanding of fashion.  For anyone interested in fashion, business and marketing I would thoroughly recommend giving it a watch.

Immy Waters

Bristol '21

Studying History of Art at Bristol University
Her Campus magazine