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Clothkits is an English clothing company, originally based in Lewes, East Sussex. Founded as a mail order business by Anne Kennedy in 1969 and sold in 1988, Clothkits at one stage employed 400 workers and had 7 shops.[1] The name continued to be used for a short time after the takeover of the company by Freemans, a larger mail order catalogue business, and was discontinued in 1991.[2]

Clothkits specialized in selling pre-printed kit clothing for children and adults. The kit would comprise a pattern printed onto the fabric so that it could be cut out and assembled without needing to pin a paper pattern. The kits were also notable for containing all the materials needed to complete the garment.[3] The spare fabric around the pieces of the main pattern would often feature a doll sized pattern for the same garment.[citation needed] As well as the printed kits, they sold ready-made clothing and coordinating knitted items such as jumpers and tights.[4][5]

After a period of hibernation, the Clothkits brand was bought in 2007 by artist Kay Mawer and the company relaunched in early 2008. Clothkits continue to produce kit clothing, also available pre-assembled, inspired by the original concept.[6] Collaborations with contemporary artists and designers form the core of the business, and partnerships include with screen printer Jane Foster,[7] papercut artist Rob Ryan[1] and designers People Will Always Need Plates.[8]


  1. ^ a b Malkin, Bonnie; Davies, Rob (2008-05-26). "Seventies style Clothkits revived on the web". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  2. ^ Kelly, Clare; Fisher, Alice (2008-05-24). "Seventies fad of kit clothes is born again". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  3. ^ "The Collection: Materials and Making". Manchester Art Gallery. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  4. ^ "Disappearing Lewes - Clothkits". Viva Lewes. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  5. ^ Robertson, Helen (2017-06-14). "Exhibition recalls how Victoria's colours revitalised the humble gansie". The Shetland Times. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  6. ^ Stroud, Clover (2010-06-09). "A home-sewing revival: the return of Clothkits". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  7. ^ "My Collaborations". Jane Foster Designs. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  8. ^ "Trellick Tower Skirts". Retro to Go. 2008-08-18. Retrieved 2019-02-08.

Continue reading[edit]

  • Ford, Janet (1988). The Indebted Society: Credit and Default in the 1980s. London: Routledge. p. 16.

External links[edit]