The Times - UK (2022-01-24)

(Antfer) #1

the times | Monday January 24 2022 2GM 11


News
SCOTT MERRYLEES/SWNS; ALAMY

A career high Dan Bottomley, of SSH Conservation, on the 247ft spire of
Wakefield Cathedral, where 500-year-old stonework needs urgent repair

Every romantic knows it’s never
acceptable to imitate someone else’s big
gesture of love on Valentine’s Day.
But Marks & Spencer has been
accused of doing just that by a family-
run chocolatier that claimed the
supermarket copied its Perfect Match
Valentine’s gift.
M&S has now offered to sell the
Bath-based company Choc on Choc’s
chocolate matchstick product after a
weekend of outrage on social media.
It was a customer who spotted the
striking similarity between M&S’s box
of £3 chocolate matchsticks and the
company’s £8 Perfect Match Chocolate
Gift Box, which Choc on Choc has been
making and selling since 2015.
Flo Broughton, who started the arti-
san chocolate business with her father,
Kerr Dunlop, around the family kit-
chen table in 2003, said she was
shocked to see M&S’s product.
“It was clear they had copied my
design,” she said. “I was flattered that
they think so highly of it but extremely
disappointed that a British institution
believed this was OK.”
Broughton said she approached

Long hair ban


gets the chop


at boys’ school


Cameron Charters


A school has scrapped “the madness of
discriminatory and archaic” hair poli-
cies to encourage students to express
themselves and their culture.
Julie Richardson, the head teacher at
Verulam School in St Albans, which is
for boys, said big afros, long hair, corn-
rows and man buns were all acceptable
at her school. And while still having to
dress smartly, students would no longer
have to wear a blazer and tie.
Previously students could be sent
home from the Hertfordshire school if
their hair was deemed to be “extreme in
style, colour or length”.
Richardson has removed these rules,
which she said were outdated and un-
fairly targeted students of colour. She
said: “Too many young people feel that
they need to look a certain way and
conform. This is fuelled by social media.
We want our students to know it is OK
to be themselves.”
The school has also done away with
business attire for the sixth form, with
students given greater choice. This in-
cludes cultural and religious dress such
as ankle length thobes, which are often
worn in the Middle East. Richardson
said: “If business men and women in the
City are no longer wearing suits and ties
why should teenagers.”
She said of most schools: “They have
vision statements claiming to be inclu-
sive yet their policies are anything but.”


M&S concedes Valentine’s


gifts are strikingly similar


Lucy Tobin

Five teenagers


arrested after


fatal stabbing


Nadeem Badshah


Tributes have been paid to a 16-year-
old boy who was stabbed to death on a
quiet street in Manchester. Five teen-
agers have been arrested on suspicion
of his murder.
Kennie Carter, described as a “beau-
tiful young soul” by a family friend, was
found stabbed in Stretford, a market
town in Trafford, Greater Manchester,
at about 7pm on Saturday. The emer-
gency services took him to hospital,
where he died, police said.
Four teenagers, aged between 15 and
17, were arrested on suspicion of
murder. A fifth boy later handed him-
self in to police.
Beckiee Carol-Jadee McCabe, a
family friend, said: “I grew up with his
family, my family are very close with
his, they are like family to me.
“That such a beautiful young soul has
been taken far too soon at the age 16, he
was such a quiet boy growing up,
wouldn’t do any harm. It’s so devastat-
ing that he’s had to lose his life because
of knife crime, He’s going to be deeply
missed by all that knew Kennie.”
A local woman who said her son was
friends with Kennie told the Manches-
ter Evening News: “He was a lovely boy.
He didn’t cause problems or harm to
anybody. He was funny, he made every-
one laugh and had a cheeky smile.”
She added: “A group of lads keep
coming down and bullying the lads
round here... They need stopping
because they’re not going to stop.”
A spokesman for Greater Manches-
ter police said: “A large scene remains in
place around Thirlwell Avenue, where
the incident took. Further cordons are
also in place as investigators continue
with their inquiries.”


Influencers


affect 4% of


style choices


Influencers and celebrity endorsement
affect the style choices of as few as 4 per
cent of people, a survey suggests.
The YouGov research, commis-
sioned by Hull University, found that
43 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 were
likely to have changed buying habits in
the past two years, swapping fast fash-
ion for more second-hand or vintage
clothes – double the rate of over-55s.
About 41 per cent of this group of said
they had changed their habits because
of environmental, waste and sustain-
ability concerns.
Of the 2,094 adults surveyed across
the UK, 65 per cent they were influ-
enced by the treatment of workers in
the supply chain; 57 per cent said the
sustainability of how the clothes are
produced is a factor in their fashion
choices, 55 per cent said they were more
likely to buy clothing knowing it had
been produced in a more sustainable
way; and 51 per cent said they would pay
more for sustainable clothing.
Peter Andrews, a senior lecturer in
digital and social media marketing at
Hull University, said: “Despite what we
are led to believe — that celebrities and
influencers are dictating fashion
choices, particularly among the young-
er generations — this survey suggests
the opposite is true.
“Whilst mega-influencers might
have a large number of followers, the
evidence is that they have less actual in-
fluence on their followers. Everyday in-
fluencers — micro-influencers — have
a much closer relationship with their
followers and therefore have a greater
level of actual influence.”

Flo Broughton and
her father Kerr
Dunlop’s gift, right,
and the Marks &
Spencer version

M&S’s head of product via the net-
working site LinkedIn two weeks ago
but did not hear back. On Friday she
decided to post about the episode on
Choc on Choc’s Instagram account,
which has 22,000 followers.
“It’s not just the perfect match, it’s the
perfect copy,” she wrote.
She also claimed the supermarket
was guilty of double standards as it is
suing Aldi for copyright infringement
of its Colin the Caterpillar Cake.
Broughton pointed out that M&S
said in another legal claim against Aldi
that it understands “the enormous
time, passion, creativity, energy and
attention to detail that goes into
designing, developing and bringing a
product to market”.
Broughton said: “It doesn’t feel like
it’s appreciating it [with my chocolate
design]. This is an example of a bigger
business taking a unique idea and mass
producing it.”
Almost 1,500 people supported Choc
on Choc’s Instagram post. Facing a
growing outcry, M&S contacted the
company, which employs 35 people, via
Instagram on Saturday night.
“They said, ‘We want to speak to you
and try to resolve this’,” Broughton said.

“Then on Sunday lunchtime we had a
Teams [video conferencing] call and
came to an agreement.”
She agreed a deal with the supermar-
ket that includes M&S buying 500 of
Choc on Choc’s chocolate matchsticks
for sale in its branches for Valentine’s
Day next month, with an agreement
that Choc on Choc will also design and
make a range of Mother’s Day and
Easter chocolates for the supermarket.
Broughton, 42, founded Choc on
Choc with her father, now 77, an
inventor who in the 1980s designed the
hedgehog wellington boot wiper.
Choc on Choc’s customers include
members of the royal family, the
comedian Michael McIntyre, the
musician Sting and the actor Nicolas
Cage. Their products, which include
chocolate brussels sprouts and choco-
late beans on toast, are also found on
the shelves of Selfridges and Harvey
Nichols.
Marks & Spencer said in a statement:
“We take IP [intellectual property
rights] very seriously and when we saw
Choc on Choc’s social media posts we
immediately got in touch.” It added that
it was delighted to be working with the
company.
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