Readers of my blog will know that I really am the utter antithesis of the typical Boden woman. So much so, that I was recently quoted in the Daily Mail on the death of the Yummy Mummy.
But, now I have somehow agreed to sit on a professional panel at a national event and talk articulately about my feelings alongside a senior member of the Boden team. I like to think it'll be a kind of fashion version of Question Time - although with my participation it'll probably be more like a fashion version of Jeremy Kyle...
This got me thinking about what exactly it is that so many people dislike about Boden. Why has there been such a huge backlash against Johnnie and his jaunty prints?
For me, and many others, really, it's mostly not about the clothes; it's an image thing, their image, and the perceived image of the type of people who wear it, aka The Boden Brigade.
I've lived in the countryside for three years now and many country women are among the most effortlessly stylish I have ever seen and the most naturally beautiful - it's no wonder all those global design houses constantly take inspiration from their style.
But, unfortunately on the flipside of this there are some rather awful professional Stepford Wives here, with their blank, staring eyes, their bland hair, their loud clippy voices and their souls, bitter and jaded by all those floral lined gilets ...
These are the kind of women who were endlessly tweeted about during the Summer, 'the Boden Brigade' were turning up and braying crassly at barbeques in Rock and being pompous at parties in Ibiza, 'ruining everybody's holidays' it seemed. Their arrival was a sure sign that it was time to leave.
But, let's be honest, it's not just Boden, whilst they take most of the flack, there are plenty of similar brands selling the same identikit nightmare. Cath Kidston, Joules, White Stuff, Crew Clothing and their like have infiltrated nearly every market town high street and, just in case that is not enough, they are ambushing our letterboxes on a weekly basis.
The presence of these stores in a town is usually a sure sign that one has arrived in Twontsville, because these brands have created such an almost bullying image of how women are expected to be that if you don't fit in, you are shunned.
The Boden Brigade feature the kind of women who make school runs everywhere a nightmare with their judgemental looks and their hatred of anything fashion, or sexy. A friend of mine once rocked a Balenciaga biker jacket on the school run and was subsequently blanked for six months.
And, it's not just the clothes brands, it's a lifestyle attitude - recently, I actually overheard two women talking excitedly about the fact that Cath Kidston is now doing dusters.
You cannot make this stuff up.
So, really, what I'm trying to say is that it's not just about the clothes; it's about the attitude of the people wearing them. It's about a kind of odious person who has unfortunately become synonymous with the Boden brand.
One season of re-designing more 'fashion aware' collections, calling them Shoreditch and sticking them on Helena Christensen is not going to take away from the fact that 'The Boden Brigade' is ruining it and that the brand needs a major image re-boot. Remember Burberry? Remember Tommy Hilfiger?
How long did that take?
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