An Opinion – The Problem With Shiny Shopping Centres

There is a new shopping centre just opened in Leeds, where I live, called the Trinity Centre. It has been in progress for a very long time. One of it’s entrances is on Briggate, which until now has been Leeds’ main and perfectly adequate High Street. In this blog post I am going to air my views on this new shopping centre and also our habits on spending our money on the High Street, elaborating on a brief ranty Facebook status I posted earlier today..

So I went to visit the Trinity Centre yesterday, and all I can say is that it’s pretty soulless, clinical, and not very groundbreaking.

From what I could see, there were only a handful of independent shops, maybe four, tops.. and some of them were ‘pop-ups’. Independent businesses are what make each town or city different and they inject personality to town centres and high streets. Because of this they are very important to the identity of a place. It is disappointing to see that developers of these huge shopping centres cannot see this simple fact. Apparently smaller businesses were offered rent free periods to encourage them to take up spaces in the Trinity Centre, which is a great idea in principle.. but what happens when the rent free period runs out and they can’t afford the astronomical rent like Primark and Next can because these shopping centres with huge chains encourage people to think that they should only be spending their money on brands, and huge corporations?

I am sick and tired of seeing shop after shop of the same thing. I am not against High Street shops, I sometimes buy basics from H&M, food from Yo Sushi, etc.. but does Leeds really need two Primarks, two H&Ms, two large cinemas and a tonne of empty units on the street where brands have moved into the shiny new shopping centre? I think not. I believe shoppers are perfectly able to walk a few extra metres to get to the original Primark. If we are not careful, we will create a town centre with what I call the ‘Starbucks’ problem.. multiple carbon copies of stores along each street!

I understand these stores create much needed jobs (but with a majority of the stores just moving from the high street I have to wonder just how many jobs it has actually ‘created’) and I am glad that people who were looking for work now have steady incomes, but I have to wonder how many of these people would prefer to work for themselves, or in a different line of work entirely? Offering jobs doesn’t mean they’ve sorted peoples lives out, it’ll probably mean they will work themselves to misery in a huge chain store where their individual needs and personalities don’t really matter, maybe for decades.

It’s up to shoppers and normal everyday people to change the way the High Street works, and i’m disappointed that the general population are veering towards these big shiny stores because they think it’s progress. It is not progress… Progression would be realising the brainwashing abilities of these big brands and instead choosing to support businesses run by families, individuals, craftspeople.. vote with your feet people! If spending our money on products and services from independent traders becomes normal, we may encourage those who are longing to start a business, create a product or offer a service to do just that! It is hard to see the positives in starting your own business when you have to constantly and rather dishearteningly observe a society who will gladly ignore the little businesses.

Why is it the ‘norm’ to pay pennies for something we know will fall apart after we’ve washed it a few times, or eat food we know has arrived pre prepared in a truck from who-knows-where? It strikes me as far more ‘normal’ to pay a decent price for something that will last me forever, or eat food prepared fresh and pay a fair price for it, all the while knowing my money is going directly to the people that have actually earned it and not to a boardroom of decision makers with no connection to the average shopper, or you know.. that PERSON, whose hard earned money is being spent, which by the way, is YOU.. 

In conclusion, I don’t hate Trinity… I hate the way it’s been done, and I hate the way people have glorified it.. but most of all I hate what places like Trinity are doing to hard-working, independent businesses. 

A lot of people will disagree with me, and that’s okay.. I might be wrong about some things, but these are my opinions right now.

Kate x

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Style Swoon! – Jenna Isabel of ‘My Life Sofa’

Style Swoon is a section where I share super stylish lovely people with all you wonderful lovely readers! 

My first Style Swoon is the beautiful Jenna Isabel, who writes the blog ‘My Life Sofa‘. Jenna is currently committed to a challenge of wearing a different outfit every day for a year, without doubling up! How fun!

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Here’s Jenna!

Tell me a little about yourself! First about me? well im a 29 year old mother of three young children, i work very part time in my friends vintage shop in Whitehaven (Kissing Cows) Check it out on asos marketplace!

Last year we moved house and have a huge project in that, I was also lucky enough to marry my best friend Otis last September.

I’ve had a life long love affair for music and fashion in equal measures.
 
What three phrases would describe your style? British Eccentric, Playful, Time Traveling.

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What is your favourite piece of clothing in your wardrobe right now? Favourite piece??? Hmm, hard to say… I have fail safe basics which i could happily live in most days like my trusty 501 cut offs and black chelsea boots, but my favourite item of clothing has to be a nice dress. I got a lovely 60s geometric printed mini dress with a huge sailor collar for christmas this year, from etsy. Love the print, colour, collar and cuffs! either that or my 80s brownies sweat shirt!

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Jenna in her adorable vintage Brownies shirt!!

Is there anything you are lusting after to add to your clothing collection? I am absolutely desperate for a nice pair of kick flare flat fronted cords but I haven’t found anything, anywhere so the hunt continues……

What inspires you when putting together outfits? I take inspiration from lots of different places. Music is a huge influence over my style and I often take from whatever i’m listening to, also from an odd item of clothing i find that i get a vibe from, or from memories and old photos of family and even from my childhood such as 80s/90s. They remind me so much of my mum taking me shopping when i was little, stuff she’d wear and things i’d see on top of the pops, I must have soaked it all up without realising!

Do you have a favourite era in terms of style and fashion, and why? My most favourite era of all has been the same for me since I was in primary school… 60s & 70s!!!

Memories of all my gran and grandad’s left over home interiors, the love of watching Nick Berry on Heartbeat with them and the music kick-started it, then as i got older and started big school in 1994, i found indie music and brit pop!

I fell in love with Pulp and Jarvis Cocker in the same year as starting school and picked up again on their heavy influence of retro 60s/70s kitsch which remains all these years on.

My love for the era isn’t just in my wardrobe though, it’s throughout my home, music and film collections! I could happily build a time machine and live back then!

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Which designers do you adore? The designer of designers for me is Vivienne Westwood, especially her early days with Malcolm McLaren in Sex, her punk days were so British and young and powerful!

I love the whole punk era, again, it reminds of lusting over photos of my mum with green eyed envy of how carefree she was when she was a young punk, just love her!

Can we see more of your outfits and style? Yes although i’m only very very shiny new to all this, but you can creep on my ramblings and wardrobe adventures on mylifesofa.tumblr.com

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Thanks Jenna!!