Aged 16 and a considerable number of baby-sitting weekends later and we were moving up the high street ladder. Striding past our usual haunts in favour of the store with the ultimate high street status: AllSaints. You pretended to be interested in the black/white/grey t-shirt with skulls on, but in reality you knew there was only one item worthy of your jangling pocket: a ‘Jesus Loves You’ studded belt. My Kookaï circular leather belt had served me well over the years, but with a new high street hero in town, my jeans were never the same again.
For me and for every other teenager out there, developing a sense of self every Saturday on the British high street was a key experience of our youth. Jamie skinny jeans from Topshop, logo printed hoodies from Gap, blush-pink ballet pumps from Office, a grown-up blouse for your work experience week from Dorothy Perkins – these were the building blocks of our wardrobes. And the more we aligned with certain brands, the more we built our own sense of identity beyond school uniforms and prescribed ways of expressing ourselves.