LETTERS: Made to last

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The Independent Online
I WOULDN'T want to quarrel with Nicholas Bagnall ("Words", 1 October) over the utilitarian philosophy of Mill or Bentham, but I think he is needlessly scornful about Utility coats.

Utility clothes were certainly cheap: prices were fixed, tax-free and subsidised; manufacturers enjoyed economies of scale through limiting designs and long runs. But "of cheapest cut" suggests shoddiness - exactly the opposite of Utility. Utility cloth, clothing, furniture and other products met tightly drawn standards.

Researching a book about Utility clothes I was amazed how many examples of Utility are still around, more than 40 years after the Utility scheme ended.

Chris Sladen

London W5

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