×
773
Fashion Jobs
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Thanjavur
Permanent · Thanjavur
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Karjat
Permanent · Karjat
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Darjeeling
Permanent · Darjeeling
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Ankleshwar
Permanent · Ankleshwar
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Pali
Permanent · Pali
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Kurseong
Permanent · Kurseong
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Kumbakonam
Permanent · Kumbakonam
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Dausa
Permanent · Dausa
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Siana
Permanent · Siyana
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Tirupur
Permanent · Tiruppur
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Kashipur
Permanent · Kashipur
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Dibrugarh
Permanent · Dibrugarh
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Aurangabad
Permanent · Aurangabad
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Palitana
Permanent · Palitana
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Rajgir
Permanent · Rajgir
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Gandhidham
Permanent · Gandhidham
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Tirupati
Permanent · Tirupati
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Lonavala
Permanent · Lonavala
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Durgapur
Permanent · Durgapur
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Balasinor
Permanent · Balasinor
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Panhala
Permanent · Panhala
LAVYA ASSOCIATES
Area Sales Manager-Agency | Life Insurance-Ranchi
Permanent · Ranchi
By
AFP
Published
Apr 27, 2008
Reading time
3 minutes
Share
Download
Download the article
Print
Click here to print
Text size
aA+ aA-

Lingerie factory brings Russian sexy to Britain

By
AFP
Published
Apr 27, 2008

GAGARIN, Russia, April 27, 2008 (AFP) - Holding up a lacy black G-string, one of the seamstresses in this derelict Russian town beams with pride at the thought that her work could soon be sold on Britain's high streets.


a lingerie factory Wild Orchid in the town of Gagarin outside Moscow
Photo : Alexey Sazonov/AFP

"I'm happy that our products are being bought in England," said 34-year-old Irina Arisova, sitting in her blue smock behind a sewing machine in a pristine workshop set among the crooked wooden homes and muddy streets of Gagarin, west of the capital Moscow.

The factory used to produce Soviet school uniforms and belongs to Wild Orchid, Russia's largest lingerie chain, which has opened three stores in Britain and is set to open on London's Oxford Street next month.

Selling to the British market has entailed a few changes. For one, the bras are being produced in bigger sizes as British women appear to be bustier than their Russian counterparts, said production director Gulya Saliyeva.

"In England they use D cup more. They need more fullness. We now have up to E cup. We're even thinking about F," said Saliyeva, as she showed an AFP reporter around dozens of sewing machines on the factory floor.

British women also seem to have more conservative tastes. "They avoid brighter colours. They're not interested in transparent lingerie. They go for comfort. They want lacy underwear in black and white," she said.

Women in Russia "want brighter colours -- maybe it's because we have longer winters. Lingerie has recently become something that lifts your mood here. It's like buying a handbag," she continued.

Wild Orchid CEO Alexander Fyodorov said sales have been disappointing in Britain because the company, which also sells top designer names, has found itself competing in the mass market.

"Our customers are more discerning," a charcoal-haired Fyodorov, wearing a denim jacket and jeans, told AFP in an interview at Wild Orchid's unassuming headquarters in a Moscow backstreet.

Wild Orchid, which opened the Gagarin factory last year, currently has 270 stores employing around 3,000 people and intends to widen its network in Europe, Asia and the United States.

Maureen Hinton, a fashion expert at British retail market research firm Verdict Consulting, said Wild Orchid's plans were "very ambitious" and the company would find it "difficult" to break into the British market.

"British women are used to buying their lingerie in department stores. I'm sure they wouldn't have a problem selling their brand but as a stand-alone entity I think the viability is a challenge," Hinton said.

"Russian women share more with continental women. Continental women look at it more as a fashion item. We tend to look at it as a necessity," she added, referring to women in other parts of Western Europe.

For the seamstresses in Gagarin, the place where Soviet legend Yury Gagarin, the first man in space, was born, sewing lingerie is mainly about making a living in a town where there are few other jobs available.

"It's a town forgotten by God," muttered a taxi driver as he drove an AFP reporter through the rutted streets of Gagarin, located in the middle of a birch and pine forest some 160 kilometres (99 miles) west of Moscow.

With a starting salary of around 8,600 rubles (367 dollars, 231 euros) a month, the seamstresses produce lingerie that they could never really afford in the shops -- the slinky models sell at around 100 dollars a set.

"I couldn't afford it. Not with our salaries," 52-year-old Tamara Miller said with a smile as she finished sewing up a bra. The textiles she uses come mainly from the Baltic states and the lace comes from Turkey and China.

Surrounded by plastic boxes overflowing with pink, blue and leopard-skin bras, Miller said there was no comparison to the ill-fitting, boring underwear that Soviet women used to wear. "It wasn't very beautiful," she said.

by Dario Thuburn

Copyright © 2022 AFP. All rights reserved. All information displayed in this section (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the contents of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presses.