There is an adolescence of fashion, a period early on in life in which our understanding of quality and value is developed. The younger we are the less we have purchased. The less we have purchased the less we comprehend the acquisition of valuable commodities, premised on the reasoning that (as an example) the value of 1 x $800 is greater than the value of 10 x $80, though on paper this adds to the same dollar amount.
Investing in quality shows a maturity that each of us is likely to find, albeit at different stages in our lives, and assuming a consistent natural progression.
During Prue’s adolescence she was lucky to have the guidance of her mother, a passionate fashion consumer who not only understands the value of quality fashion but who understood the importance of teaching Prue about it at an early age.
“Looking back my mum definitely set me up well from a young age when at the time I was wondering what was going on, thinking I look like a little goth boy. I’m just so pleased she did all of that because that’s where my love of fashion came from.”
“My mum is like my fashion idol, and growing up, I don’t know if you know of a store in Dunedin called Plume but it’s amazing, and my mum would drag us in when we were young and I would be hating it as a child. I would be like ‘but I look different, all of the girls at school aren’t wearing this kind of thing’ and I was really bummed. But I think once I finished high school I realised ‘oh my gosh, my mum’s cool’. Growing up she would buy my clothes and I would have NOM*d tees and yet I didn’t even realise what I was wearing. That’s when I really started to fall in love with fashion, especially in first year, researching designers and realising this is what I love. If I buy something then I’ve completely researched it so much that I know everything about it.”
It can be deduced that the presence of Prue's mother's contribution to her understanding of, and appreciation for the value of quality garments during her fashion adolescence helped germinate a strong bond with the fashion garment that goes well beyond merely accessorising the body. Prue feels much like an art collector, accruing quality pieces over time, building and curating a wardrobe of quality collectables.
“I like to purchase expensive things that aren’t necessarily seasonal but they’re things that I’ll have for a long time. I’m more like a collector. I have pieces that I think of more as a piece of art; I never want to part with them. I’m spending all that money, but it’s something that I’m going to get a lot of wear out of as opposed to someone who shops seasonally and spends a certain amount and then they’re over that and on to the next. I’m about quality and things that are timeless rather than something that is on trend that you’ll have for six months.”
(Conversation with Karen Walker store manager Prue Ibbotson.)