Monique with finalists samples
fabric comparison to early 50s fabric book
Heyday Sleeve
Lindy Bop & Monique
Label discussion tech consultant monique harrods
Lindy Bop packaging
Lindy Bop samples
claireabellas floral
Claireabellas legwear
Claireabellas against sample fabrics

The NVAs to "Great British Sewing Bee" as Vintage Reproduction finalists' samples are reviewed by period costume design specialist Monique Hollinshead

Who needs May Martin and Patrick Grant when The National Vintage Awards 2015 has Monique Hollinshead!

Monique Hollinshead trained at Mabel Fletcher in Liverpool in Theatre Costume Design in the late 1980s. The renowned college of the time for this specialist area, teaching its cohort detailed history and all aspects of garment construction, the importance of reproducing by going to source, period cuttings of all eras, corsetry and millinery. Monique has worked in theatres, tv & film for over 25 years, more recently for Opera North and for the musical Anything Goes at Sheffield Crucible. Freelancing for well known companies both in the UK and abroad. She is particularly known for creating more unusual pieces including vintage, steam punk, prop costumes and makes one off couture pieces. For those with young children, you will have no doubt seen the ambitious costumes and props made by Monique for the lead roles in My Parents are Aliens including 5 x size of replica boxing gloves! Other work includes mice and rat costumes for Northern Ballet's Nutcracker and Mesolithic costumes for National Geographic Channel's Stone Age Atlantis. Monique has inspired a new generation of period reproduction and costume designers, teaching for Bretton Hall and Leeds University for 9 years in costume design and construction, and runs a variety of specialist workshops for a variety of audiences, not to mention founding member of an antique & vintage book club in her spare time!

We met Monique at her studio and, over a 4-5hr consultation Monique meticulously examined each sample submitted by the Vintage Reproduction Finalists. Predominantly taking into consideration the following:

  • Excellence of sewing techniques and internal construction methods.
  • Suitability of the fabric and style to the purpose of the garment.
  • Artistic co-ordination of fabrics, trims, colours and design that reflect the purpose and style being reproduced.
  • Quality finish and presentation.

Monique's report was summarised and has been submitted to the judges along with further support information. Monique's background and extensive knowledge of genuine vintage and vintage inspired enterprise gave the natural opportunity to invite her to join industry movers and shakers such as Keeley Harris and Kate Beavis on the official judging panel and contribute to the scoring of other relevant categories.

Whilst in Monique's studio we were privileged to get a glimpse of her aladdin's cave of genuine vintage wonderment which included extensive source material; catalogues from 1920s, genuine fabric from across the decades and some very exciting pieces of apparel, pictured includes a 1930s blouse from Harrods, which Monique brought out when discussing the labels used by the finalists.


The finalists for this year's Best Vintage Reproduction category are:

Claireabella's Closet
Claireabella's Closet: Vintage Reproduction Ladies Clothing & Accessories, Handmade By Miss Bella. From Kitchen Worktop to working with high profile vintage inspired brands, travelling the country and launching her own legwear brand!

Heyday sells faithful reproductions of 30s — 50s fashions. They cater to men and ladies. After scooping the Best Reproduction award for the past two years, will it be hat trick from Heyday?

Lindy Bop
Lindy Bop: Vintage reproduction clothing inspired by the 1940's and 1950's, available in sizes 8 — 26. They focus predominantly on dresses, with a strong lean towards a rockabilly aesthetic.


To find out first who has won The National Vintage Awards — Best Vintage Reproduction award, please join us on Wednesday 15th July at Pittville Pump Room Cheltenham. Click here to purchase your ticket.

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