Streets remain cool while dictators of fashion wrangle: The clothing industry has come under attack for not giving its customers enough choice. Glenda Cooper reports

THE dictates of fashion and style consultants were largely scorned on the streets of London yesterday, as a spat broke out between the two.

First shots were fired by the image consultants House of Colour, who attacked the fashion industry for 'dictating' a look that fills shops full of a narrow range of clothes in shapes and colours that do nothing for 80 per cent of British women.

A spokeswoman for Vivienne Westwood - winner of British Fashion Designer of the Year awards in 1990 and 1991 - dismissed this. She said that Ms Westwood's couture designs catered for the whole range of women. 'She's got long skirts, short skirts and those in between,' she said. 'And with introducing the bustle this year it means women can use their bodies how they want - you don't necessarily have to be rail thin.'

A spokeswoman for the high-street fashion chain Kookai said staff tried to be sensitive to customers' individual looks. 'We're quite sensible, we'll have at least three colours whereas the major designers might have only one,' she said.

The shops may be full of strappy dresses and beige linen, but on the streets of Covent Garden in London yesterday the people's choice was multi-coloured, denim and business suits.

Stephen Dove, a plasterer, summed up the mood: 'I'm a Levi's man. You can't go wrong with a pair of jeans and a couple of nice tops. And a good jacket if it's cold.'

'I don't follow fashion slavishly, I shop around,' said Justin Bradley, a photographer, dressed in alternative business wear - brown trousers, white shirt and a striped waistcoat from Bournemouth.

The idea of shop assistants trained in colour analysis working out which colours customers should wear, depending on skin, hair and eye tones - as image consultants do - horrified most people.

'Oh, it would really get on my nerves,' said Michael Barrett, a bank assistant sporting suit trousers with Midland Bank tie, and bright red casual jacket from Boxfresh in Covent Garden.

Judy Lee, who works for a property consultants and had opted for a flowery dress, said: 'It's so rare assistants speak to you. I would prefer it if they would give you some physical help instead, carrying things around the shop.'

'I don't need some man telling me what I can wear,' added Warren Penford, a disc jockey. 'I'm not such a sad bastard.' He wore jeans and went topless in the heat.

The House of Colour wants customers to boycott shops and designers who do not offer a wide range of styles.

'Each season we are presented with a fashion which will only truly suit 20 per cent of the female population at any given time,' Lynn Elvy, the consultancy's training director, said.

'They match black with sunshine yellow, for example. They don't belong in the same spectrum and, as nature tells us, are reserved for aggressive animals like wasps, tigers and traffic wardens.'

An image consultant, Mary Spillane, said she was amazed by summer fashion: 'The British are unleashed as madmen and madwomen when summer comes along with bigger fashions and clearer colours,' she said.

She added: 'If this is a lousy season for you, sit it out. Forget buying clothes - save up and go on holiday instead.'

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Administrator

£14400 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a multi-d...

Recruitment Genius: Service, Maintenance & Installation Engineers - London

£34000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This provider of Energy Consult...

Austen Lloyd: Planning Solicitor - Bristol

£50000 - £70000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - FIRST CL...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner - Night Shift

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A leading Leicestershire based chilled food ma...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot