2014 Winner's Interview: HEYDAY! Vintage Style - Best Reproduction
Architectural Degree gave good foundations to Fashion Empire!
We catch up with double National Vintage Awards winner Shona van Beers and her vintage style clothing business Heyday! . Originally from New Zealand, Shona knew early on from rock and roll dancing how clothes need to fit and move, and has been vintage style dressing the nation for the past decade.
The styles of the 1930s to 60s (and even the 70s and 80s) suited a woman's figure so well that it is a shame that modern clothes have tended to lose the waist. Heyday's clothes are glamorous and well made. Using authentic style patterns and style fabrics wherever possible.
In this world of disposable fashion, they are making the vintage of tomorrow inspired from the classics of the past.
Welcome, Shona van Beers, tell us a bit about how Heyday! started
I got into Vintage style dressing when I first learnt Rock and Roll dancing when I was 15. At first my mother and I got sewing using her old patterns. But I was always a bit shy of wearing it out "normally" until I moved to London (13 years ago) and met the thriving scene here. Since I'd always sewn, Heyday was born out of that (and a horrible job). I live and work from home in Surrey, living with my lovely husband and my lovely black cat, Henry. I actually have an Architectural degree and you'll be surprised how often that is relevant!
What do you have planned for your business/yourself in the next year?
I'm excited to be hosting the fashion show at the War and Peace. We do a comparison of real historical garments versus Heyday and see if the audience can guess which is which. It is often 50/50 how often they think the reproduction one is the actual vintage one. That means I'm doing my job right!
I'm also getting the menswear back up and running after lots of pattern alterations, and MORE women's designs are coming out. YAY!
What are your favourite vintage events?
Twinwood, Hep Cats Holiday, War and Peace.
Twinwood for the dancing, friendly atmosphere, big bands, shopping and normally nice weather
Hepcats for the really good dancing, and fun times, especially the July one. (A chance to practice or learn some new dance moves before The National Vintage Awards ceremony 2015!)
War and Peace is a longer event, so is more chilled out. I love the history and passion that the patrons bring to it. You can find out so much information! From what button for what uniform (and why) to how much food ration a WW2 soldier would carry. It is friendly and silly and you meet nice people there having a chilled out holiday
Why did you decide to enter the NVAs?
I like the competition, it keeps me on my toes a bit which is always good. I've made good contacts through the awards and it is good publicity
How did you feel when you won?
Surprised! But that is a good thing eh? It pays to not go into it with your hopes too high. It is a affirming feeling to win, it means that all that hard work you've done has been seen by someone. You feel more visible.
What was the most positive thing about entering the NVAs?
Often, beavering away on your own can feel quite isolating, but being part of the awards means you see more of the depth of the industry, all the different businesses that make it up and share in this unique "thing" called vintage. The quality of the contestants is always astounding
What would you say to other people who are thinking about entering in 2015?
Just do it. To be honest, the entry fee (if there is one for your category) is worth it for the advertising. Since it is a mix of public vote and actual judges I think it strikes the best balance it can, while getting the best out of social media in the process (a necessary advertising tool nowadays)
Do come to the award ceremony if you can — they are fun!
What business tip/quote would you give to anyone starting out in the vintage industry?
You do need to be passionate. It is not anywhere as easy or glamourous as it might look! In fact, there are some things you need to know..
The industry is getting tighter and tighter as more businesses seem to be starting out each week. That goes for newly made vintage and real historical items. Profits can be very tight as some big players can undercut us little guys (yes I still call myself a little guy as it really is still just me with part time help!). Doing it part time while having paid work at least at the start is a good idea!
You might not imagine it, but it can be tough behind the scenes. Other traders and organisers are not ALL nice people — there is often some drama. Your designs do get stolen. People do say mean things. Customers expect more from you than they would from say Debenhams. They ask for discounts just because they missed the sale or bought 2 things, or promised you a dance. And, your friends are your customers — that can be tricky.
How has being a NVA Winner affected your business/yourself?
It does give you some credibility and a great chance to celebrate. My family didn't really think I did much until I won the award!
When I dust the trophy I do still do a little dance.
A big thank you to the NVA team for all your hard work and I hope to see you at the ceremony!