Victoria Beckham is a philosopher

Fashion is potentially a very serious part of life - but it has largely been abandoned to pretension, eccentricity and silliness.

Victoria Beckham has just started to change all this. Her great campaign, to turn the fashion industry to its true task, is in its opening stages.

Victoria models her uniform for dignified, middle-aged femininity

A vital function of clothes is to show that you belong to a particular tribe. This is most obvious in military or work uniforms. They announce a collective identity. But all other clothes are, in fact, uniforms of varying kinds. They let others know who we think we are, what we admire and what we consider important. Clothes are eloquent. They take their place alongside language as a tool of self-communication.

Philosophers should wear her clothes

Victoria Beckham's recent designs are interested in a range of important virtues, which belong in life - not just in the wardrobe.

Our clothes should tell the world about our ideals

She is creating uniforms that send strong messages to the the wearer and the world about simplicity, elegance and timelessness. The clothes say that we should care about things which last, and not chop and change our enthusiasms all the time. They argue that elegance is a key concern in a crowded and busy world: it means efficiency without loss of grace. The clothes want us to embrace simplicity and see this as a central goal in life, while recognising that simplicity does not mean being dour or puritanical.

Knowing yourself is key.

Decent people see themselves as individualistic. Being one of a crowd, toeing the line or just conforming to the convention are, understandably, viewed as negatives. Because we've given up hope that the crowd could be impressive, the line worth toeing or the convention sound uninspiring.

Actually, being true to yourself might mean you have have much in common with other people. Finding a good identity is more important than stressing how you are unlike others.

Clothes are part of a larger argument about material things - not as emblems of vanity or clutter (as our fears sometimes suggest); but as - potentially - aids and prompts, friends, in our quest to become the best - kinder, more focused, more sane, more confident, more balanced - versions of our authentic selves.

Victoria Beckham has gradually come to take seriously the astonishing degree of cultural power that has been placed in her hands, through the simple - but powerful - fact that many millions of people admire her and look up to her. It matters to them what she does. In her current work as a designer she is exploring avenues of political leadership. She is trying out ways of helping a society find its better nature. She wants to be a voice of dignity and responsibility. Fashion is a natural early step for her, a convenient point of entry into the business of guiding a nation. But there are many other places where her philosophy, glamour and leadership are needed. We look forward to her next moves.


The School of Life