Last weekend a pink ice-cream van parked in Shoreditch and handed mermaid-themed treats to young people fizzing through the shops as lockdown lifted. It was a promotion by leading “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service Klarna, whose pastel-pink logo is on the checkout page of fashion sites like H&M and Urban Outfitters, and the mermaid element interested me because I have hovered often over that logo, then pulled back with the dready feeling that it could lure me to the rocks.
If you had asked me 20 years ago what I thought would be fashionable today, it would have taken some time, many sugary drinks and four or five relationships before I settled on “debt”. Debt as the new feminism. Debt rebranded as a naughty little treat. Debt as an aspirational lifestyle choice. And yet, here we are.