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Disappearing Lewes - Clothkits (continued)

It is a job that many Lewesians have done in their time, filling baskets with items ordered by clients from baskets (I particularly remember Romany bobble hats), and packing them to send off round the world. Colour blindness, I remember, was a big problem, resulting in a number of unwanted turquoise jumpers arriving at and complaints arriving from places as far afield as Australia and South Africa. I was eventually found a new position.

The emergence of a Clothkits catalogue used to be quite an event in town, especially as all the models were locals that you’d see in the street and at school. Interestingly, there has been quite a resurgence of interest in the company as the retro industry gains pace. Clothkits is one of the icons that, to a certain type of person, defines the 70’s era. Because of this, their catalogues have become something of a collector’s item, changing hands at up to £20 a copy. One company has even started reprinting them to sell on to former aficionados. The clothes too, if in good condition, can be of value, historically as well as financially. One turquoise corduroy gypsy dress-suit, with an Aztec-type design superimposed in blue, is on display at the Manchester Art Gallery. AL

Thanks to Anne Kennedy, for her memories of the company that put Lewes on the fashion map - she in turn would like to thank everyone involved in the company including designers Janet Kennedy, Sue Carpenter (née Hymas), Amanda Rousham and Kathy Myles.


Anne Kennedy clothkitted up for the camera back in 1978

Anne Kennedy now helps run a childrens’ interior design company,
Noolibird, the brainchild of her daughter Nula, also a textile designer
(w) Website