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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 11:37 GMT
Lace makers move into G-strings
Koniakow's website
The delicate underwear has attracted buyers all over the world
Renowned lace makers in the Polish village of Koniakow have found a new way of boosting sales - sexy underwear.

Artisans who used to create gowns and altar cloths for customers such as the late Pope now craft G-strings and other lingerie for sale all over the world.

They say the underwear is quicker to make and easier to sell than traditional goods such as tablecloths.

But not everyone in the deeply Catholic village is happy with the changes to the 200-year old industry.

"Our lace is well known in Poland," Mieczyslaw Kamieniarz, whose family has made lace for five generations, told the French news agency AFP.

"We have made it for John Paul II, for the Queen of England, for church altars. It's shameful and humiliating for Koniakow that this very same lace is being worn on people's backsides," he said.

Mieczyslaw Kamieniarz holds a more traditional piece of work
Traditionalists say the underwear betrays a 200-year-old craft
And some craftswomen apparently had doubts about the change.

"The priest told me that a woman came to confession and asked him if it was a sin to make G-strings," said Anna Barska, a 47-year-old lace maker.

But now many people have embraced the new business opportunity.

"Traditional lace craft was too expensive, so it wasn't selling anymore. We weren't making a living," said Malgorzata Sanaszek.

So when her experiment with G-strings proved to be a big hit, she set up a internet underwear sales company which now employs about 60 lace makers.

Buyers can choose bras, camisoles and other lingerie in dozens of delicate designs and colours. There is even a lacy thong on offer for men.

"Everything is guaranteed as 100% traditional Koniakow lace," Ms Sanaszek said.

Country profile: Poland
09 Jan 07 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Poland
09 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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