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Off the record: October 28, 2015

Winners, Whistles and mountain climbers – this week’s goings-on

Whistle if you love a party

Whistles chief executive Jane Sheperdson treated guests including actor Dominic Cooper

Whistles toasted the first birthday of its menswear offer with a pop-up shop and party last week. Shoreditch gallery space Protein was transformed into a temporary Whistles store (which ran from 20-25 October), its first outpost dedicated purely to its men’s collection, which also played host to the celebratory party.

Chief executive Jane Sheperdson treated guests, including actor Dominic Cooper, to cocktails and fresh pizza, as well as a DJ set by Thris Tian from Boiler Room and Dark & Lovely Global Roots.

Made in Britain’s mini manufacturers

Basic Premier

Leicester-based garment manufacturer Basic Premier starred in the second episode of CBBC programme Show Me What You’re Made Of last week. The factory’s general manager Mick Cheema took five spoilt kids and put them through their paces on the factory floor, making items such as bags, tops and skirts. After a few tears and tantrums, the kids were made to realise the level of skill and hard work that goes into clothing manufacturing here in the UK.

To watch the show go to BBC Iplayer.

Peak condition

Chris ODea

Being an indie in today’s market is no mean feat, so a 19,341 ft ascent up Kilimanjaro was a walk in the park for Chris O’Dea. The owner of premium Merseyside store OD’s was joined by Harry Potter’s Neville Longbottom (Matthew Lewis), a host of Rugby League legends, the BBC and Sky Sports on the climb. At the peak, O’Dea and his crew set a world record for the highest game of Rugby League and raised more than £200k for charity The Steve Prescott Foundation. To donate visit

Swiftly does it

Footwear Friends winners

Made in Britain footwear brand Swift & Co won two gongs at the ninth annual Footwear Friends Awards held at St Mary-at-Hill church in Eastcheap, London. Managing director Richard Swift picked up the first prize of £5,000, as well as the British Footwear Association award of sponsorship to US footwear trade show FN Platform next season. Jane Rafter, owner of women’s sandals brand Slinks (centre), won the second prize of £2,500 and Jalil Rahman, managing director of men’s footwear brand Augustus Pili (right), walked away with the third prize of £750. Congratulations to all!

Keen for Keegan

Lipsy party

Lipsy and actress Michelle Keegan (left) hosted the launch of the Lipsy Love Michelle Keegan autumn 2015 range at the Rosewood London hotel in High Holborn last week. The launch was attended by brand director of Lipsy Dahlia Shaffer (centre) and celebrities including reality TV star Stephanie Pratt (right).

A sweater with a conscience


Benetton invited journalists from around the world to its head office in Treviso, Italy, to see its vast archive spanning 50 years of knitwear innovation. John Mollanger, the 45-year-old Frenchman who joined the Italian firm in January as chief product and marketing officer from Asics, was on hand to explain how the brand has matured from its controversial campaigns of the past yet remains committed to making clothes with a cause. He unveiled a new £1.5m foundation dedicated to the empowerment of women.

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