OPINION: Kiss Me Deadly wades in on Portas debate

Kiss Me Deadly founder Catherine Clavering explains why her optimism for Mary Portas’ new Kinky Knickers manufacturing project has taken a hit.

“It was interesting to talk to Mary Portas at the launch and see the product. At the time, the series was due to be called ‘Made In Middleton’, and her business partner said it would be more focussed on the impact of the decimation of the manufacturing sector on industrial towns.

Having grown up in one, I couldn’t agree more, and it would be great if this created an impetus to restart many manufacturing plants. Mary argues that a celebrity such as herself can make a serious impact on these sort of things, likening it to Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s effect on chicken farming. I can’t actually find any stats on whether there was any long effect of his programs, though.

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Her business partner acknowledges that their retailers have had to take a lower markup than they would usually want, and says that this will be discussed on air. I’d be interested to see that as one of the things that stops our UK made items getting into stores is mark-up issues, and it’s something that, even I, rarely discuss in public!

Sadly, since the launch, I’ve noticed that the program is back to being called ‘Mary’s Bottom Line’, and the quotes from Mary have returned to statements like: ‘People say "oh, why are celebrities doing this stuff?"’

‘Because no-one else is, matey’ (ES magazine, 2nd March), which is rather disappointing for those of us who have been making in the UK – but without the benefit of a giant PR juggernaut and a heap of capital."

Catherine Clavering is the latest of several industry members to join the debate, with Becky John, Ayten Gasson and Frantic About Frances having also recently aired their views on Mary Portas’ new venture.

Click here to view pictures of the launch at Liberty.

Click here to read an excerpt of Mary Portas’ speech.

Find out more about Mary Portas’ venture and read further industry comment on the new project in the March issue of Lingerie Insight.

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