What Katie Did is not your average corsetier. The Berkshire-based company creates vintage corsetry and lingerie based on authentic vintage patterns, catering for the vintage-aspiring rather than the retro-trendy.
I caught up with Katie Halford (general manager) a few months ago to get a better idea of where WKD stands in today’s fashion market.
How has the recent 40s/50s revival affected your business?
I haven’t really taken much notice of the revival. People used to ask what would happen when the trend for the 50s disappeared – but this was 5 years ago – and whilst I did worry to begin with I’ve been too busy to pay it much thought recently. Because we offer quite authentic products we only get the really traditional girls interested in us, so the revival hasn’t changed things much in that respect. Most people who by a retro inspired dress from H&M (for example) aren’t going to be interested in bullet bras.
The main difference has been the press. A couple of years ago we couldn’t get magazines to feature us, and now we’re sending out samples nearly every day.
What sort of reaction do new customers have to the items you have for sale?
The good: people come up and say they’ve been looking for lingerie like ours forever and they’re so pleased they’ve found us.
The bad: ‘oh, Madonna bras, ha ha ha!’ – although this isn’t from ‘customers’ as such. It happens several times a day when we do shows and drives me crazy!
What sort of questions do you get asked about the items themselves?
Are the corsets steel boned (of course!)
Are the bullet bras 1940s? (no, bullet bras started being made in the early 1950s – but we do a lot of 40s shows and people always ask if they’re the correct era)
Do we do seamed stockings with lycra (nooooo!)