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Kinky boots

February 2006

Are the survival strategies of manufacturing firms influenced by the cultural and political environments within which they are located?

Kinky boots

The film Kinky Boots is released on DVD this month.

Like The Full Monty (1997), it has all the makings of a popular resource for 16-21 geography teaching.

The film tells the story of a UK footwear firm’s unique efforts to deal with the threat of deindustrialisation brought about by globalisation.

The DVD also includes the ubiquitous but in this case useful, ‘Making Of’ featurette - The Real Kinky Boots Factory - an in-depth look at the making of the film and what inspired it. It speaks to the real life factory owner, Steve Pateman and looks at the actual factory and the real-life people depicted in Kinky Boots, as well as hearing from the filmmakers and stars of the film.

Another snippet on the DVD useful for teachers is ‘The Journey of a Brogue’. This piece documents just how the old fixed assembly line shoes are made in sharply edited fashion.

The film story of Kinky Boots

In the dramatised version of events, it is a chance encounter with a London Drag Queen called Lola and a fight with one of his newly-redundant workers that inspires factory owner Charlie Price to end the old range of shoes that Price & Sons have been making for generations. Charlie realises that diversification is the key to Price & Co's future and begins the manufacture of Northamptonshire's own exotic footwear. He bravely develops products for a new niche market that could make or break the firm. Kinky Boots is the second film from Harbour Pictures, which made Calendar Girls (2003). The film is directed by Julian Jarrold and stars Joel Edgerton (as Charlie) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (as Lola). Many of the real-life shoe factory workers also became extras in the film.

Have you seen the film yet? Did you recognise the geographical themes in it? Was it any good?

Relevance

This story will have particular appeal for A-level candidates who are studying economic activity and globalisation. In particular, it examines how the survival strategies of manufacturing firms in MEDCs are influenced by the cultural and political environments within which they are located.

In the Members' Area:

  • The true story of Kinky Boots - what's the real-life background to the film?
  • Kinky Boots - the true story - changing times; changing designs?
  • What is the geographical theory behind Kinky Boots?
  • How important is technology to post-Fordism?
  • The Minimum Wage - another nail in the coffin for UK firms?
  • A-level essays and assignments

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