2007-08 Clothkits baby dress, red.

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, with colorful prints designed under the guidance of Janet Kennedy. 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] Such kits have seen renewed interest due to concerns about the sustainability of ready-to-wear fast fashion.[9]


  1. ^ a b Malkin, Bonnie; Davies, Rob (26 May 2008). "Seventies style Clothkits revived on the web". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  2. ^ Kelly, Clare; Fisher, Alice (24 May 2008). "Seventies fad of kit clothes is born again". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  3. ^ "The Collection: Materials and Making". Manchester Art Gallery. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2007.
  4. ^ "Disappearing Lewes - Clothkits". Viva Lewes. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 4 April 2007.
  5. ^ Robertson, Helen (14 June 2017). "Exhibition recalls how Victoria's colours revitalised the humble gansie". The Shetland Times. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  6. ^ Stroud, Clover (9 June 2010). "A home-sewing revival: the return of Clothkits". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 9 February 2019. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  7. ^ "My Collaborations". Jane Foster Designs. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Trellick Tower Skirts". Retro to Go. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 8 February 2019.
  9. ^ Knight, India. "We had self-sufficiency sewn up in the Seventies". ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2 June 2022.

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