Debenhams has been forced to add new words to a fashion dictionary it gives to personal shoppers, due to an influx of new terms that have emerged from the fashion press.
Whilst newly made up words such as ‘shooties’ and ‘jeather’ are instantly understood by clothing industry insiders, terms from last year’s dictionary such as ‘jardigan’ and ‘tregging’ are now only understood by shoppers thanks to the dictionary says the store.
So mainstream are these unusual ways of describing clothing that even the Oxford English Dictionary has been forced to include terms from the Debenhams fashion dictionary such as ‘jegging’ and ‘mankini’ for 2011.
Said Debenhams spokesperson Ed Watson: “The addition of ‘jeggings’ and ‘mankini’ to the Oxford English Dictionary shows our glossary informed the masses and we now need to take it upon ourselves to create clarification once more”.
“We are still aiming to strip away as much of this new language as possible and use plain English to describe everything we sell.”
New fashion phrases added to the dictionary include mangrow (baby grow for men); shinos (short/chinos); trogues (trainer/brogues); jorts (jean/shorts); athleisure (clothes to take you from work to the gym); spants (skirt/pants); swacket (sweater/jacket) and glittens (mittens that roll back to reveal gloved fingers).
Debenhams’ Ed Watson said: “We believe that these words are only properly understood by approximately five per cent of the population – yet they are commonly used throughout the fashion industry.
“It’s virtually a secret language, designed solely for fashion experts and people who read fashion magazines on a daily basis.
“Debenhams decided to produce the dictionary so that every shopper, both fashion expert and non-expert alike, can shop easily and clearly in all of our stores. Debenhams is encouraging the fashion industry to use existing English words to describe garments rather than these made up amalgamations.”
Watson continued: “Ideally we would like to drop all these amalgamations, but our hands are tied due to the terms being used on search engines. We are committed to keeping their use to a minimum. Hopefully the dictionary will go some way to cleaning up the confusion.
“It is now easier to understand complex calculus than some of the words commonly used by commentators within the fashion industry to describe garments.”
Marie Clair, spokesperson for Plain English Campaign said: “The world of fashion is reliant on these changing trends, which are often based on little more than classic foundations with clever twists. These latest words are just existing, familiar words that have been cut and stitched to make nothing more than the ‘Emperor’s new clothes'”.
The New Debenhams 2011 Fashion dictionary will be rolled out this week.