One has to feel sorry for the creature called the contemporary designer. It has all been done before - and better, too. So, how could they dare to compete with the unique spirit and verve which typified, say, the 1960s.
So, the stealing goes on - a bit from Cardin, a snip from Courreges and a slice of Rabanne. Mix with a dash of Halston and a pinch of Fiorucci et voila - very 1990s and very, very old hat.
How much more refreshing to buy the genuine article. But second-hand shops are often traps for moths and dust and charity shops, though becoming more clued up (certainly where prices are concerned), are still way behind in their conscious marketing.
Enter Yesterday's Bread - a rather unique concept in buying a chunk of the past. Deirdra Crowley and Bill Delmonte began collecting old clothes in the mid-80s and simply stored them. One of their first consignments was a huge quantity of white lace-up glace kinky boots. They had an eye for things which they felt would become fashionable once again.
Diligently they worked away combing forgotten warehouses and closed down shops full of Sixties and Seventies garb in ridiculous colours which are now so fashionable again. But what really makes their shop stand out is the sheer volume of stock. Where other second hand stores deal in ones and twos, Yesterday's Bread will have several examples of the same or similar garment, in a variety of sizes. The added attraction is that most of the stock is brand-new - some still in its original wrapping and as fresh and funky as it was in 1966 or 1976. Butterfly-bright Betty Boop mini dresses are printed with wild psychedelic patterns. Ultra-bright printed cotton shirts are fashionably undersized to stretch over grapefruit breasts or trim pecs. Spanking brand new flower power ties mix happily with Lord Byronic style shirt collars - all synthetic, naturally (and now, fashionably).
Like so many second-hand or retro shops, Yesterday's Bread is flocked to by the designers' flunkies buying up everything they can to copy and remarket as original pieces. Don't wait for them to do it. Get there first.
Yesterday's Bread is at 29 Fouberts Place, (off Carnaby Street), London W1. Tel 0171-287 1929. Prices from pounds 20.