What is it about Manchester for producing creativity?
The Hollies, The Bee Gees, Simply Red, The Verve – I could fill a whole page with the successful bands that have come out of Manchester.
Then there’s Manchester-based brands and retailers: the Co-op, Kellogg’s, Warburtons, Betfred, AO.com.
And then of course, there’s fashion. The Very Group, N Brown, and not forgetting the pinups of Manchester fast fashion: Boohoo, Pretty Little Thing, and Missguided.
Missguided has had a disastrous few years, in which it slumped to a £46.7m loss in January 2019 and shuttered its two London stores at Westfield Stratford and Bluewater.
However, after cutting costs by shedding 70 staff at the Manchester head office, Missguided is on the bounceback trail and seems anxious to tell the world.
Cue a Channel 4 fly on the wall documentary series which kicked off last Wednesday. Already it has us all hooked, following the latest adventures of Treasure Deloren, Missguided’s somewhat fervent senior creative director and campaign manager, and her band of girl power disciples.
It’s pure Mancunian, in your face, full-on, no holds barred efficacy — and it’s totally addictive. Offended by the sweary nature of it all? Grow some, snowflake. Put off by the sheer fearless girl power? Get mummy to read you a bedtime story. Because these people inhabit a different world where nothing’s impossible, no celebrity endorsement too much, and knock-off fast fashion is the name of the game.
In motor racing, the saying always used to be, “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”. The fast fashion philosophy is no different. From catwalk to website in a matter of days — go Treasure, you rock girl.
Of course, fast fashion is becoming an increasingly fragile and controversy-prone sector in which to operate — just ask Boohoo. And while there will be plenty who will love the energy and passion of the Missguided “girlboss” act, there will be many others who cringe and wonder if this is really what fashion retailing has become.
But such criticism misses the point entirely. This isn’t a deep-dive into the inner workings of the fashion industry, it’s pure entertainment.
Missguided isn’t the first to use a fly on the wall documentary to boost its brand. Iceland famously did it nearly seven years ago, and even Selfridges has been tempted. But what Missguided has done is genius: it has made a documentary for its fans — narrated by a staff member, would you believe it. To hell with the likes of journalists, industry commentators and retail “experts”, lap up the sheer Instagram cheekiness of it all.
And I’m willing to bet that, in terms of building brand awareness, Inside Missguided is already a huge success.
Maybe its laconic founder and chief executive Nitin Passi should provide the documentary’s heroine with the true recognition that she deserves — because I don’t know about you, but Treasure & Co. has a certain ring to it.
Main image credit: Getty