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Missguided staff were ‘sacked over the PHONE via a pre-recorded message then automatically muted’

Have YOU been laid off by Missguided? 

Please email: kaya.terry@mailonline.co.uk 

Missguided staff were allegedly ‘sacked over the phone via a pre-recorded message and then automatically muted’ after the fast-fashion chain firm collapsed due to owing their suppliers millions of pounds worth of outstanding payments.

The company fell into administration on Monday after failing to secure a last-minute buyer after suffering from surging supply costs, wider inflationary pressures and waning consumer confidence in a competitive market.  

Missguided allegedly placed two phone calls simultaneously this week – one for those ‘whose jobs were safe’ and the second was for ‘around 80 staff members’ who had been ‘let go’. 

The call, which reportedly ‘lasted between four to five minutes’, was ‘automatically muted’ – leaving staff ‘unable to say anything’ after they were brutally told ‘they were no longer required’. 

Several staff members ‘found out they had been made redundant from their colleagues whilst they were on holiday’, reports The I.

One employee, who asked to remain anonymous, said: ‘We had no notice – we got the email about 20 minutes before the call at 4pm’.

‘No one knew there were two separate calls with two separate conference IDs – one for people who had been asked to stay on and the second for people who were being made redundant.

‘We were told not to come back to the office and someone independent would collect [our] equipment, and then they cut off [the call].’ 

It was reported that security guards were stood outside the Manchester headquarters this morning and were checking every staff members ID against a list to make sure those entering the building had kept their jobs. 

A Missguided employee – who had retained their position at the company – added: ‘The predominant feelings among colleagues [who have been kept on] are confusion, anger and for those of us lucky enough to have jobs already lined up, eagerness to leave.’  

The sacking of Missguided staff comes as Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, which also owns Sports Direct and House of Fraser, confirmed this morning that it had bought the intellectual property of the fast fashion retailer and sister brand Mennace for around £20million.

It confirmed that Missguided will continue to be operated by administrators for a transition period of around eight weeks. Frasers said it then intends to continue to run Missguided as a ‘standalone’ brand within its group.

Missguided was founded in 2009 by Nitin Passi (pictured with model Sofia Richie in Los Angeles in September 2019)

In 2014, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger created a limited edition collection with Missguided that she shot the campaign images for

In 2014, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger created a limited edition collection with Missguided that she shot the campaign images for 

Love Island star Zara McDermott created her own summer collection with the fast fashion chain in June last year

Love Island star Zara McDermott created her own summer collection with the fast fashion chain in June last year 

The fashion chain has had several celebrity endorsements and exclusively designed collections. Pictured: Sofia Richie in a campaign image for the brand showing off her own line

The fashion chain has had several celebrity endorsements and exclusively designed collections. Pictured: Sofia Richie in a campaign image for the brand showing off her own line 

One of Missguided's many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission. Kim had posted a photo of herself in a new dress, only for Missguided to vow to produce its own version

One of Missguided’s many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission. Kim had posted a photo of herself in a new dress, only for Missguided to vow to produce its own version

Missguided will continue to be operated by administrators for a transition period of around eight weeks. Pictured: Missguided campaign image

Missguided will continue to be operated by administrators for a transition period of around eight weeks. Pictured: Missguided campaign image 

Mike Ashley's retail empire Frasers Group has snapped up troubled fast fashion brand Missguided in a rescue deal

Mike Ashley’s retail empire Frasers Group has snapped up troubled fast fashion brand Missguided in a rescue deal

Frasers Group chief executive Michael Murray is Mr Ashley’s son-in-law after marrying the tycoon’s daughter Anna last month

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley who has bought Missguided and sister brand Mennace for around £20million:

Mike Ashley, 57, is a British billionaire who started Sports Direct, under Fraser Group, in 1982 when he was just 18 years old – the company now has more than 800 stores.

Fraser Group owns a string of well-known brands, including Sports Direct, House of Fraser, Flannels, GAME, Jack Wills, Sofa.com, Evans Cycles, USC, and Everlast. 

In 2007, he bought famed soccer club Newcastle United and later sold it for around $400 million in October 2021.

Ashley was previously executive deputy chairman of Frasers Group – which changed its name from Sports Direct International to Frasers Group last year – until 2016, when long-serving chief executive Dave Forsey resigned. 

According to the 2021 Sunday Times Rich List, Ashley is the 61st richest person in the UK – with an estimated net worth of £2.7 billion

The tycoon has now acquired fast-fashion brand Missguided and sister brand Mennace for around £20million – and said he intends to continue to run the company as a ‘standalone’ brand within its group.

Frasers chief executive Michael Murray said: ‘We are delighted to secure a long-term future for Missguided, which will benefit from the strength and scale of Frasers Group’s platform and our operational excellence.’

Mr Murray, who is Mr Ashley’s son-in-law after marrying his daughter Anna on May 14, added: ‘Missguided’s digital-first approach to the latest trends in women’s fashion will bring additional expertise to the wider Frasers Group.’ 

The business had called in administrators from Teneo after it was issued with a winding-up petition by suppliers owed millions of pounds. The insolvency specialists had been trying to sell the business and assets of the retailer.

Missguided, which employs around 330 staff from its Manchester base, was founded in 2009 by Nitin Passi and grew rapidly amid rising demand for online fashion.

However, the company was hit hard by surging supply costs, wider inflationary pressures and waning consumer confidence in the increasingly competitive market. 

Boohoo had been in talks to buy the business in a pre-pack administration deal, while Asos and JD Sports were also reported to have been interested.

Administrators said the business will continue to trade while they seek to sell off assets and stressed that there has been a ‘high level of interest’. 

Last autumn, Missguided was saved in a takeover by investment firm Alteri, which announced redundancies in December as part of a turnaround plan. 

However, last month the retailer confirmed it was looking for a potential new buyer as founder Mr Passi stepped down as chief executive amid continued financial pressure. 

Mr Murray took over as Frasers chief executive in May from father-in-law Mr Ashley, who stayed on as the chairman and biggest shareholder, with a 65 per cent stake.

Mr Ashley set up Frasers’ company Sports Direct as a single store in Maidenhead in 1982 and grew it into a giant with 769 UK stores, 25,000 staff and £3.6billion in annual sales, snapping up brands including House of Fraser, Flannels and Jack Wills.

When Mr Murray – who was not previously an executive on the company’s board – took over as chief executive, he became one of the youngest bosses in the FTSE 250.

Kevin Mountford, co-founder of Raisin UK, said Fraser Group will now have to concentrate ‘rebuilding supplier relations’ and ‘work to make Missguided ‘attractive for the current market.’

He added: ‘Missguided’s digital-first approach to the latest trends in women’s fashion will bring additional expertise to the wider Frasers Group, especially as they have clothing retailers such as Jack Wills in their portfolio.

Missguided had fallen into administration yesterday after failing to secure a last-minute buyer

Missguided had fallen into administration yesterday after failing to secure a last-minute buyer

Pictured: Model Jourdan Dunn wearing her own £250 design in collaboration with Missguided at their official launch party in 2018

Pictured: Model Jourdan Dunn wearing her own £250 design in collaboration with Missguided at their official launch party in 2018 

Three suppliers for Missguided warned they are at risk of going bankrupt due to outstanding payments (pictured, Love Island star Mary Bedford poses for the brand)

Three suppliers for Missguided warned they are at risk of going bankrupt due to outstanding payments (pictured, Love Island star Mary Bedford poses for the brand)

Kylie Jenner, Sofia Richie, and Tana Mongeau party at Sofia Richie's Missguided launch event in 2019

Kylie Jenner, Sofia Richie, and Tana Mongeau party at Sofia Richie’s Missguided launch event in 2019 

‘Additionally, Missguided comes with many deals, with their clothing range in some Asda stores nationwide and also stocked through other retailers like Next where Frasers does not currently have those relationships.

‘But the hard work starts now as Fraser’s will have to work to rebuild supplier relations and also work to make Missguided work for the current market!’

Fast fashion brands have been in the spotlight for many controversies since the Covid-19 pandemic, and have also faced profit slumps. 

Passi, a fitness fanatic who drove a £300million pink Lamborghini, revolutionised online fashion retailing with his focus on social media endorsements by celebrities including Nicole Scherzinger, Sofia Richie and Jourdan Dunn – while tempting millions of young women to buy his products by advertising them on popular TV shows like Love Island.   

He founded the fast-fashion brand in 2009 with a £50,000 loan from his father, Danny, which he reportedly paid back in six months. Danny developed a fashion distribution empire through the companies By Design and SRG, which were estimated at £23million in 2007.

Missguided’s marketing would go on to play heavily on its female image, describing ‘female empowerment’ as the firm’s ‘core message’. 

Passi outlined his ambitions for the company in a 2015 interview with the Old Cranleighan Society, calling it a ‘young, fresh and aspirational brand’ that hoped to attract customers with the ‘individualism’ of its designs. 

The company turned over £202million in the financial year ending March 2020, £107.7m of which came from the UK, £48.5m from the EU, and the rest from young fashionistas in more than 170 other countries which the company shipped its products to. 

Channel 4’s Inside Missguided documentary, which aired in 2020, went behind the scenes to explore what life was like for the company’s young, female-dominated workforce at its offices in the heart of Manchester, which featured tech firm-style features like themed meeting rooms and purple ‘chill pods’. 

Pictured: TV personality Maya Jama, rapper Stormzy and Missguided founder Nitin Passi at a Missguided launch in 2017

Pictured: TV personality Maya Jama, rapper Stormzy and Missguided founder Nitin Passi at a Missguided launch in 2017 

Missguided turned over £202million in the financial year ending March 2020, £107.7m of which came from the UK, £48.5m from the EU, and the rest from young fashionistas in more than 170 other countries which the company shipped its products to

Missguided turned over £202million in the financial year ending March 2020, £107.7m of which came from the UK, £48.5m from the EU, and the rest from young fashionistas in more than 170 other countries which the company shipped its products to

Missguided's marketing would go on to play heavily on its female image, describing 'female empowerment' as the firm's 'core message'. Pictured: Reality star Zara McDermott shows off her line with the fast-fashion brand

Missguided’s marketing would go on to play heavily on its female image, describing ‘female empowerment’ as the firm’s ‘core message’. Pictured: Reality star Zara McDermott shows off her line with the fast-fashion brand

Cameras filmed a ‘gender reveal party’ inside the office, and insights from employees including the Creative Manager, Treasure, who told how the HQ was where staff ‘s***, live and breathe fashion’. 

But he was also known for controversial stunts like the release of a £1 bikini, which attracted heavy criticism from environmentalists and campaigners concerned about low wages in the fast fashion industry.

Passi told The Observer at the time: ‘The £1 bikini was priced to generate interest and we’re not embarrassed about it. We’ve always lived close to the edge when it comes to marketing, but we’re comfortable with that because there are never short cuts when it comes to the product.’

The e-tailer was placed firmly on the fashion map following their successful collection with Nicole Sherzinger in 2014, making £5.5million from eager customers. The collection was such a hit with fans that the star curated a second line of garments the same year. 

The former Missguided boss – who became the first fashion outlet to sponsor an MTV show – made his debut appearance in The Sunday Times Rich List in April 2015 with a fortune estimated at £133m. 

He previously told the Sunday Times: ‘Someone at work told me and I was like, what? I guess it can’t be a bad thing.’

One of Missguided’s many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission.  

In one instance, Kim shared a shot on social media from a fitting where she was dressed in a sizzling gold spandex dress that was designed by her husband Kanye. The star implored fast fashion sites to ‘wait until I wear this in real life before you knock it off.’ 

The brand faced a huge blow in 2020 after Love Island winner Molly-Mae Hague, who is dating Manchester boxer Tommy Fury, snubbed Missguided in favour of a Pretty Little Thing partnership - despite them offering her a two collection deal for £350,000, an £80,000 Range Rover, as well as an exclusive outfit for her famous elephant stuffed toy, Ellie Bellie

The brand faced a huge blow in 2020 after Love Island winner Molly-Mae Hague, who is dating Manchester boxer Tommy Fury, snubbed Missguided in favour of a Pretty Little Thing partnership – despite them offering her a two collection deal for £350,000, an £80,000 Range Rover, as well as an exclusive outfit for her famous elephant stuffed toy, Ellie Bellie

One of Missguided's many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission

One of Missguided’s many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission 

Shortly after she posted the image, Missguided responded with a shot of their knockoff and even tagged Kim in their caption.

‘The devil works hard but Missguided works harder,’ the caption read beneath a shot of a model who bore a striking resemblance to Kim in an identical dress. @kimkardashian you’ve only got a few days before this drops online.’

Kim later wrote online that it was ‘devastating’ to see fast fashion companies rip off designs that had consumed the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ of ‘true designers’. She originally demanded $10m in damages but was awarded $2.7m by a US judge. 

The brand faced a further blow in 2020 after Love Island winner Molly-Mae Hague, who is dating Manchester boxer Tommy Fury, snubbed Missguided – despite them offering her a two collection deal for £350,000, an £80,000 Range Rover, as well as an exclusive outfit for her famous elephant stuffed toy, Ellie Bellie.

Instead, the reality star signed a reported £1million deal with competitor Pretty Little Thing and was recently named the brand’s Creative Director. 

With consumers moving to sustainable wardrobes and Love Island switching their long-running partnership with Missguided to eBay – analysts argue we could see the end of fast fashion brands.

In a twist from their usual fast fashion reputation, the ITV2 show is joining forces with eBay to create a more eco-friendly wardrobe for their islanders. The decision comes from the show as they hope to ‘inspire’ their viewers to also shop second hand.

In 2018, statistics revealed that Missguided sales spiked by 40 per cent between 7pm and midnight when the show aired. 

Now, celebrity stylist Amy Bannerman, who has worked with Dua Lipa, Rita Ora, Sophie Turner and Carey Mulligan to name a few – has been signed by the ITV2 reality show to style pre-owned wardrobes for the contestants.

Pictured: Love Island's Demi Jones poses in a campaign image for a summer collection for Missguided

 Pictured: Love Island’s Demi Jones poses in a campaign image for a summer collection for Missguided

Missguided model

Missguided model

With consumers moving to sustainable wardrobes and Love Island switching their long-running partnership with Missguided to eBay – analysts argue we could see the end of fast fashion brands

Professor Dilys Williams, the founder and Director of Centre for Sustainable Fashion, said Missguided’s collapse ‘exposes the fragility of the fast fashion model’ and shows ‘social perspectives are changing’ – but also showcases the insurgence of ultra-fast fashion, like Chinese brand Shein. 

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: ‘On one hand, it really exposes the fragility of this fast fashion model that relies on cheap resources. This pusher model is really being exposed and the debts – million of pounds is owed to suppliers and workers. But the biggest debit in fashion is to nature.

‘It’s good for an environmental and social perspective, and shows cultures are changes, for example Love Island being sponsored by eBay. It shows the change in the way people are thinking about fashion.

‘But we can’t be naïve because on the other hand we have ultra-fast fashion. Businesses like Shein, that have just been valued at more than H&M and Zara combined, they are increasingly coming into this patch and they have unprecedented license to do harm – there’s nothing stopping them.’

Meanehile, Shein is leading the fast-fashion market by using ‘algorithms’ that entice consumers to keep buying more.

Professor Williams added: ‘They work on algorithms, there’s no design team, there’s no looking at what a customer wants – they push millions and millions of designs out. They do it by overstimulating them and try to push addiction. But they themselves are addicted to selling more garments.

‘In the US there are laws about labour rights and the Modern Slavery Act amendment is also coming back through the UK government. The UK government needs to act, there’s lots more that they can do.

‘The Modern Slavery Act – which consolidates current slavery and human trafficking offences, and introduces new preventive measures, support systems and a regulatory body – will make a difference if it’s robust and if the government put into place ways in which it can be monitored.

‘Access to fashion is a super important thing. There is this push by these companies to almost blame the customer. For people who are busy, it’s a great model – you can click and get something through your door. But we’re seeing lots of small businesses cropping up showing changes in attitude.’

Passi in a trailer for Channel 4's Inside Missguided documentary, which aired in 2020

Passi in a trailer for Channel 4’s Inside Missguided documentary, which aired in 2020

In July 2020, Boohoo, a rival of Missguided, saw their shares plunge by £1.3billion after Priti Patel asked the National Crime Agency to investigate the fast fashion chain over claims they were using an alleged £3.50-an-hour sweatshop in Leicester to product cheap clothing during the pandemic.

The Home Secretary stepped in to probe the issues amid claims the factories were operating without social distancing measures in place with workers not all wearing masks.

Ms Patel called the allegations ‘truly appalling’ and vowed to clamp down on modern slavery in Britain.

The clothing produced by the fast fashion industry also produces more than 92 million tonnes of waste a year, and consumes around 1.5trillion tonnes of water annually.

A study found that fast fashion is helping to kill the planet, and British shoppers were at the forefront of the waste with more garments bought per person per year in the UK than anywhere else in Europe with an astonishing 59 lbs worth in weight.

Developing countries bear most of the brunt of this excess waste.

The UK’s waste is more than double the global average of 29 lbs — and almost twice as much as fashion-conscious Italian consumers, who purchase an average of 32 lbs each. Germans are the second most wasteful, buying 37 lbs per person.

Missguided turned over £202million in the financial year ending March 2020, £107.7m of which came from the UK, £48.5m from the EU, and the rest from young fashionistas in more than 170 other countries which the company shipped its products to

Missguided turned over £202million in the financial year ending March 2020, £107.7m of which came from the UK, £48.5m from the EU, and the rest from young fashionistas in more than 170 other countries which the company shipped its products to

Fashion is now the second largest industrial polluter after aviation, accounting for 10 per cent or more than 1.7 billion tons of global carbon dioxide emissions annually.

Textile treatment and dyeing are responsible for a third of the micro-plastic pollution in the oceans — a colossal 190,000 tons per year.

Global clothing production has roughly doubled in 15 years. Brits are spending an estimated £2.7 billion on items we wear only once.

‘The average garment use-time has, consequently, decreased by 36 percent compared with 2005,’ said paper author and design researcher Kirsi Niinimaki of the Aalto University in Finland.

‘There is evidence in the UK, Norway and elsewhere suggesting disposal after little use, especially for impulse purchases.’

Fast fashion is based on low-priced, trend-led products — and relies on ‘recurring consumption’. This practice represents a ‘key environmental threat’, Professor Niinimaki said.

Constant turnovers in wardrobe contents has to stop — and be replaced by a new trend dubbed ‘slow style’, the researchers argued.

Shoes, dresses, shirts, trousers and coats need to last for years — instead of months — to combat climate change, they added.

Shoppers will also have to pay more, with the ‘environmental impact’ of their purchases reflected in the prices, the team concluded.

The rise and fall of Missguided: How firm founded by Lamborghini-driving fitness fanatic tried to lure in ‘fast fashionistas’ with celebs and own reality TV show – but ultimately paid price for low-paid workers, £1 bikinis and Kim Kardashian ‘knock-offs’

By Rory Tingle, Home Affairs Correspondent for MailOnline

Missguided – the women’s only clothes website that fell into administration today – was founded 12 years ago by Nitin Passi, a 39-year-old former public schoolboy who became one of the most recognisable faces in the fast fashion industry. 

Passi, a fitness fanatic who drove a £300million pink Lamborghini, revolutionised online fashion retailing with his focus on social media endorsements by celebrities including Nicole Scherzinger, Sofia Richie and Jourdan Dunn – while tempting millions of young women to buy his products by advertising them on popular TV show like Love Island. 

But he was also known for controversial stunts like the release of a £1 bikini, which attracted heavy criticism from environmentalists and campaigners concerned about low wages in the fast fashion industry.  

Claims of poor labour practices would go on to dog Passi throughout his time at Missguided, alongside a string of other controversies including a copyright lawsuit against Kim Kardashian which saw the firm forced to pay out £2million in damages.  

A Channel 4 documentary two years later coincided with the peak of Missguided’s success – as a boom in online sales during the pandemic helped gain Passi a fortune (listed as £250million by the 2019 Sunday Times Rich List). But the firm would go on to struggle as sales were hit by the reopening of physical stores and the cost of living crisis. 

Passi posing with Jourdan Dunn at a 2017 launch event in London for one of the company's new ranges

Passi posing with Jourdan Dunn at a 2017 launch event in London for one of the company’s new ranges 

How firm had to pay Kim Kardashian $2.7m (£2m) after she accused them of profiting off her image by peddling knock-off looks 

One of Missguided’s many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission.  

In one instance, Kim shared a shot on social media from a fitting where she was dressed in a sizzling gold spandex dress that was designed by her husband Kanye. The star implored fast fashion sites to ‘wait until I wear this in real life before you knock it off.’ 

Shortly after she posted the image, Missguided responded with a shot of their knockoff and even tagged Kim in their caption.

‘The devil works hard but Missguided works harder,’ the caption read beneath a shot of a model who bore a striking resemblance to Kim in an identical dress. @kimkardashian you’ve only got a few days before this drops online.’

Kim later wrote online that it was ‘devastating’ to see fast fashion companies rip off designs that had consumed the ‘blood, sweat and tears’ of ‘true designers’. She originally demanded $10m in damages but was awarded $2.7m by a US judge. 

Passi grew up in Hong Kong, New York – briefly – and Surrey, where he attended £41,000-a-year Cranleigh School. After sixth form he attended Newcastle University, where he studied business management, before working at his father’s fashion wholesaler after graduation. 

Fashion was in his blood, with his grandfather coming to the UK from India in the 1960s to set up a knitwear factory. 

He went on to found Missguided in 2009 with a £50,000 loan from his father, which he reportedly paid back in 6 months. 

Missguided’s marketing would go on to play heavily on its female image, describing ‘female empowerment’ as the firm’s ‘core message’. 

Passi outlined his ambitions for the company in a 2015 interview with the Old Cranleighan Society, calling it a ‘young, fresh and aspirational brand’ that hoped to attract customers with the ‘individualism’ of its designs. 

This strategy enjoyed major success, with Missguided turning over £202million in the financial year ending March 2020, £107.7m of which came from the UK, £48.5m from the EU, and the rest from young fashionistas in more than 170 other countries which the company shipped its products to. 

Channel 4’s Inside Missguided documentary, which aired in 2020, went behind the scenes to explore what life was like for the company’s young, female-dominated workforce at its offices in the heart of Manchester, which featured tech firm-style features like themed meeting rooms and purple ‘chill pods’. 

Cameras filmed a ‘gender reveal party’ inside the office, and insights from employees including the Creative Manager, Treasure, who told how the HQ was where staff ‘s***, live and breathe fashion’. 

But amid increasing criticism of the environmental and social cost of fast fashion – epitomised by the allegations of slave labour against its rival Bohoo in 2021 – Missguided also found itself caught in the crossfire.  

Passi's pink £300,000 Lamborghini, which he covered in stickers showing Pamela Anderson

Passi’s pink £300,000 Lamborghini, which he covered in stickers showing Pamela Anderson 

One of Missguided's many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission. Kim had posted a photo of herself in a new dress, only for Missguided to vow to produce its own version

One of Missguided’s many controversies came in 2019 when it lost a major lawsuit against Kim Kardashian after she accused the brand of copying her trendsetting looks without permission. Kim had posted a photo of herself in a new dress, only for Missguided to vow to produce its own version 

Fast fashion brands have been in the spotlight for many controversies since the Covid-19 pandemic, and have also faced profit slumps (pictured, a Missguided model)

Fast fashion brands have been in the spotlight for many controversies since the Covid-19 pandemic, and have also faced profit slumps (pictured, a Missguided model)

In January 2017, as part of an undercover Channel 4 documentary, the firm was named among a series of fast fashion companies underpaying their workers in factories in Leicester, with staff allegedly receiving between £3 and £3.50 an hour.

At the time Missguided gave a statement to C4 saying it was taking the allegations  seriously and was conducting an internal investigation. In 2018, Passi said the company had reduced its supply base in Leicester from around 80 suppliers to 12.   

That same year, Mr Passi was criticised by Labour MP Mary Creagh for failing to appear in Parliament to face questions from the environmental audit committee, which she chaired. 

Ms Creagh referenced underpayment in British garment factories, pollution and plastic waste in a letter to Passi, which asked him once again to attend the hearing after he sent a deputy in his place. 

Channel 4's Inside Missguided saw office employees talk about its happy work culture, but the company also came in for criticism for the way its clothes were produced

Channel 4’s Inside Missguided saw office employees talk about its happy work culture, but the company also came in for criticism for the way its clothes were produced 

A clip from the Channel 4 documentary showing models during a fashion shoot

A clip from the Channel 4 documentary showing models during a fashion shoot 

Recently the business has struggled to make a profit amid supply chain issues, competition from physical stores, and the growth of online rivals. Pic: A still from the C4 documentary

Recently the business has struggled to make a profit amid supply chain issues, competition from physical stores, and the growth of online rivals. Pic: A still from the C4 documentary 

Creagh wrote: ‘Given the seriousness of these issues we would expect them to warrant your personal attention as the ultimate decision maker in your organisation. Chief executives from both Boohoo and Asos have accepted our invitation to appear in parliament. We are disappointed that [you] have declined.’

The company also experienced a string of other negative headlines, including selling a jumper with the word ‘slut’ on it in 2015, hanging a ‘send nudes’ sign at its store in Bluewater Shopping Centre in 2017, and in 2020 selling controversial ‘hunger-busting’ pills. 

Despite these controversies, Missguided enjoyed strong sales over Covid and boasted revenues of £287million in the year to last March. 

American social media personality Sofia Richie modelling her collection with Missguided in 2019

American social media personality Sofia Richie modelling her collection with Missguided in 2019

But recently the business has struggled to make a profit amid supply chain issues, competition from physical stores, and the growth of online rivals. 

In December it had to be rescued by the finance firm Alteri Investors, and earlier this year Passi stepped down as chief executive and appointed consultancy Teneo to find a buyer or shut the business down.

The online retailer had been in talks with Boohoo, JD Sports and Asos but none of them finalised a takeover.

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