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British culture, British Customs and British Traditions
Currently riding on a high again for its fashion, Britain has some of the most cutting-edge designers around. The ‘British Fashion Pack', including John Galliano, Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, is creative, original and often controversial. Big fashion houses such as Chanel, Givenchy and Chloe snap up the hottest new talent . Love them or hate them, they keep the rest of the fashion world on its toes and celebrities like Sadie Frost, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Moss very well dressed.
Off the catwalk, Britain is still riding on the ‘Cool Britannia' vibe it enjoys overseas – all that is vintage, all that is heritage, all that is the ‘New Mod'. London's Carnaby Street was the original home of British fashion in the 1960s and it's alive again with concept stores for vintage, street and sports brands like Puma, Ben Sherman, Fred Perry and Lambretta. There are loads of 2nd hand clothes stores around Covent Garden and Portobello market for cool rejects. Away from the capital, city centres like Manchester and Leeds are home to individual boutiques original, up-to-the-minute designs.
All this cutting-edge fashion ensures that young Brits are a pretty well-dressed bunch. City-centre institutions like French Connection, Oasis and Next are cheerfully mobbed at weekends. You'll soon notice a few distinct tribes – label-conscious clubbers (Cockfighter and Libertine for boys, Preen and Marc Jacobs for girls), ‘Gentry Geezers' clad in Burberry, Pringle and Hacket, and outdoor types who won't go anywhere without a Berghaus fleece.
Those keen on snapping up the latest threads for less will find bargain-priced designer outlets at various locations around the country. The best place for good value latest trends is Top Shop, with branches nationwide. Also try H&M for high street copies of catwalk pieces for men and women .
London Fashion week held in February and September is the main UK fashion event attracting the glare of the world's style gurus. Hobbs Show in Bristol around March is another well-known fashion-fest showcasing raw new talent.