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3 conversations I have in the lingerie industry that fill my head with dinosaurs

  • By Catherine Clavering
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3 conversations I have in the lingerie industry that fill my head with dinosaurs

3 conversations I have in the lingerie industry that fill my head with giant lizards.

Sometimes, in my head, dinosaurs run round in lingerie.

Obviously that's partly because I might be just a tiny bit prone to surreal metaphors and well, being a bit odd, but frankly if you spend 10 years in chronic pain and dinosaurs on the brain are your biggest worry, that's quite a good outcome. But at the point where I've said things about it often enough that a friend commissions a sketch from Chris Wylie to represent it, it seemed like I should probably explain what on earth my thinking is, before it leaked out.

There are three main conversations I have in the industry that make me start wondering about how exactly a stegosaurus would manage knickers. Feel free to criticize my inexact understanding of giant lizards in the comments!

1) Everyone is out to kill you

In my last Proper Job, the people I ended up bidding against to run services for survivors of domestic abuse (the rather wonderful Islington Women's Aid) were also the people who referred me the most clients. When they won a contract for a service we'd piloted, we met up and they copied our notes and resources. When it happened the other way round, they supported us. Both agencies had public data, because the important thing in care work should be the wellbeing of the people you are working with.

It came as something of a shock to move into an industry where everyone refuses to discuss anything, no-one talks real figures except as press releases (and one day I will explain in detail all the tactics that go into making those stats complete rubbish), and the retailers fight the suppliers fight the factories fight each other.

I vaguely remember dinosaurs being portrayed to me as a child like some sort of stepladder of competitive eating, kill or be killed, and I'm as out for survival as the next person (probably more so; employment and financial outcomes for people as ill as me aren't good), but as an adult looking at ecosystems it's pretty obvious that some relationships are symbiotic. We have to rely on each other sometimes, and keep talking. Particularly at the tiny dinosaur end of the spectrum, we surely do better at working together than we do fighting for scraps.
Plus it does my head in pretending to be a business predator, so I gave it up as a bad job ages ago. The knives are just for show!

 

2) Lets have an extinction event!

Here's a rough version of a conversation I have had with literally everyone from tiny to massive department stores in the last 12-18 months or so. In fact, the first sentence is as close to verbatim as I can get, though I've used the word beige rather than nude, because what they mean is beige:

“People are spending less, so where a woman use to buy a black bra, a white bra, a beige bra and a patterned bra, now she's just buying that beige multiway because that can go with everything. So what we're really focussing on is making sure we have that beige bra market, the really great basic product.”

“We just want to focus on continuity lines, so we just want basics in black, white and beige. Because those will always sell. They sold before so they will definitely sell again”

(Logicians will notice that this is not terrifically good reasoning).

Congratulations! The effect of this is to take a thriving and diverse system with more species than we've ever had before and lob a flipping massive rock at the middle of it from unimaginable distances. Been wondering why so many of the brands and products you see at shows never make it into stores (and thus, never make it at all)? Well, now you know.

This Agata set by Karolina Laskowska is very unlikely to ever be widely available.

And this is also why all the tiny dinosaurs will evolve into birds and fly away. Yes, I know actually T-Rex was a therapod and thus turned into a bird too. Shhh. You're ruining a fun metaphor.

 

3) Failing to adapt to new conditions.

Alternatively, you can see that flipping great meteorite as the internet. The internet happened. It won't unhappen. You can fight that as much as you like, and maybe waste some time combining that with viewing everyone as your predator, but it'll be about as much use as knickers are for a T-rex. The same thing will happen with 3d printing. You can throw your retro footwear in the machines all you want, but technology doesn't go away.

Thus, I would quite like to stop hearing “but running a website is impossible” “how on earth do you handle returns” “why do I have to do social media?” “oh but the site we have had forever worked just fine for the first 5 years so the problem is something else”. Our website is out of date, I grew up before email was invented, yes, it's really hard, I'm knackered too and lord knows I hate smartphones, but it's learn to use instagram or dusty scaly death. And even Deadlies don't want Dusty Scaly Death, it's the wrong sort of morbidity, entirely without glamour. Join us! Come to the dark side of technology! Help us annoy facebook and take over pinterest!

Together we could all be therapods and survive as interestingly colourful birds with dancing and unique idenitifying noises. Bagsy the corvids.

Saying all that, I do think fishnets are a terrible choice for a creature with claws, and it probably had an assistant to get into the bra, right?

So it's just me that thinks about knickers on lizards?

Well, damn.

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