The Bond Street Christmas Decorations

Are the London Christmas decorations a lovely spectacle, or an excuse for excessive fashion spending?

Lizzie Yockney
14th December 2021
Image: Instagram @london_snappiness

Do these displays encourage excessive and unnecessary spending, especially within an industry that is exploitative of both people and planet?

Suddenly, its that time of year again. Daylight savings have kicked in, the evenings are longer and darker, and the urge to hibernate gets more and more tempting every year (at least for me). It seems that during this time of very little sunshine, the only thing getting me through the winter is the prospect of Christmas. The food, the drink, the gifts, and especially the decorations that adorn most major highstreets. One of the most stunning displays in the country is London's Bond Street, world-renowned for its host of designer shops and boutiques. The street itself is lit up with peacock feathers, and the shop fronts are spectacles that border on being works of art. Christmas decorations are beautiful and are a source of (actual) light within all of this darkness, but they do raise a question that is ever-present within current discourse surrounding the fashion industry: do these displays encourage excessive and unnecessary spending, especially within an industry that is exploitative of both people and the planet?


The fashion industry is huge. According to the British Council, it is worth £26 billion and provides 800,000 jobs (2016). It is an industry that permeates everyday life, and there is no time that it does so more than Christmas. There is an explosion of advertisement campaigns, shops stay open late and there is a drive to decorate store fronts, all to draw people into buying from them. After all, Christmas is the time of gift-giving, and a time where people tend to spend more than they usually would. It is a time to treat yourself and others, and designer brands know this. Displays such as the Cartier store, which is wrapped up in a red ribbon like a giant present, are a flamboyant show of luxury, designed to encourage sales.

Image: Instagram @jonathanbaker1

It is estimated that the fashion industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.


The extraordinary size of the fashion industry is certainly a contributing factor to its unsustainability. It is estimated that the fashion industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Further, a recent benchmark report by KnowTheChain found that luxury brands such as Prada and LVMH tended to score low on the benchmark, meaning that they have not addressed concerns of labour exploitation. The report found that companies could not even reach 50%, on average. The fashion industry is currently at a potential turning point, with more people becoming aware of the global issues that it creates, which will hopefully create change. I suppose that these extravagant and luxurious displays may perhaps mask these very important issues, covering them with a giant red bow.

Image: Instagram @foodbyamylou


Knowing this, it is difficult to see these displays in a positive light, but Christmas decorations bring joy to so many people. I think that most of us have experienced that warm, cosy feeling of Christmas shopping when the decorations are up. This feeling, it could be argued, should be savoured, especially after two incredibly difficult years and plenty of lockdown fatigue. Also, we all well and truly deserve a bit of luxury every now and then.

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