Suffragette, Clothkits and Tommy Hilfiger: The week in culture, fashion and tech

suffragette film

We all know the history of the suffragettes, so I don’t blame the journalists who covered the recent film release for focusing their lens on the women starring in the film rather than the story itself. And what with Carey Mulligan’s recent arrival to the motherhood club, and Meryl Streep’s comments about being a “humanist” rather than a “feminist”, there was certainly plenty to talk about aside from the script, which left me totally and utterly unprepared for seeing Suffragette.

I thought I knew the story of these women: someone throws herself in front of a horse; people parade up and down with purple and green rosettes; hunger strikes in prison; yadda, yadda. I didn’t. History lessons will not prepare you for the reality, even a reality acted and viewed through the Hollywood lens.

I sobbed. Body-wrenching sobs, at length. This film must become compulsory viewing for girls of school age. I’ve written in the past about it being a woman’s duty to vote when others died to make that possible, but I feel it on an even deeper level now. Please go and watch it if you haven’t already. It made me thankful for so many things – not just my ballot ticket.


Post Couture Collective

In a significantly high proportion of photographs from my childhood, my sister and I (two years apart in age) are dressed in matching outfits from Clothkits. Remember Clothkits? Probably not if you were born after 1980. Or so I thought, until I Googled it minutes ago to see if I should be using a capital K or not; turns out, Clothkits (little K) still exists and its prints and patterns are as colourful as ever.

Astonishingly, it has taken the best part of three decades since I was swinging upside down on a climbing frame in flower-print overalls for anyone to advance much in this area. Martijn van Strien might just be the person to bring DIY fashion kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

The Dutch designer has launched the Post-Couture Collective, which appropriately I discovered via Wired, not Vogue, that enables fashion-forward fans (the designs aren’t exactly home county-friendly) to download customizable designs they can have laser-cut closer to home – presuming there’s a laser-cutting studio in the vicinity, which in the Netherlands, apparently is a fairly normal thing – or for a few more euros, a full, pre-cut kit delivered ready to assemble. No sewing machine required.



The fashion world likes to think of itself as being ahead of the curve, but when it comes to technology and digital has often been woefully behind, bar a few often-quoted exceptions to the rule like Burberry and Rebecca Minkoff.

Tommy Hilfiger joined the step-ahead club this week bringing virtual reality headsets in store and allowing customers to experience his recent autumn/winter runway show, as if from the front row.

Well, nearly step-ahead. Topshop has done this before, inviting shoppers at its Oxford Street flagship to watch its London Fashion Week catwalk show. I’m not entirely sure that sticking an astronaut’s helmet on my head and watching models walk down a runway would make me more likely to buy a new outfit, but as the retail world grapples with finding the USPs for instore Vs online, technology stunts are certainly an experimental step if nothing else.

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