Classic Canes has seen sales of its walking aids shoot up by 20% and interest in its products soar since the Downton Abbey film hit cinema screens last week.
Downton Abbey’s Violet Crawley, played by Dame Maggie Smith, carries an elegantly styled walking cane, quite different to the clinical or plain ones usually seen on today’s streets.
Classic Canes manufactures stylish walking aids, featuring designs that make the products into fashion accessories as well as supportive medical devices.
In an interview with The Express, managing director Charlotte Gillan said that Dame Maggie’s cane is something she can flaunt as it is “far more than a mobility aid”.
Classic Canes turns over around £1 million a year and sells via a network of 2,000 stockists in 40 countries, largely made up of mobility retailers. Its products range from £15 all the way to high-end supports costing £1,500.
Gillan told The Express that consumer tastes and retailing have changed in the last generation and now women in particular are demanding comfortable and stylish canes that look good and offer them support.
She said: “Today’s older generation are as fashion conscious as anyone else and enjoy making a statement through their sartorial style. Our canes feature much loved works such as Monet’s ‘waterlilies’ painting to our latest edgy skull design that has won a big following.”
And the canes are not exclusively bought by older people. Some people buy the canes purely as a consumer item even if they do not have any mobility issues.
“Many people have a collection of our sticks for different occasions, rather like shoes, and then they become heritage items handed down to the next generation,” Gillan said.
Classic Canes, which both imports and exports, increased its stock levels last year in anticipation of Brexit but is reluctant to bolster stocks again.
Gillan added: “The EU is an obvious export market for us, France and Germany are ideal because they understand and appreciate the British sense of style and have good networks.”