(Cross posted from K.R.A.S. The Ken Russell Appreciation Society "Fullfrontalnus Illuminatio Mea")
This is a call to action for all vintage and vintage reproduction fans, advocates and sellers. I came upon the most awful discovery a few weeks ago while online window shopping.
A website called "Queen of Holloway" (I refuse to link to their site).
No, they have ZERO affiliation with the far superior Vivien of Holloway who manufacture clothing in London and put money back into the British economy. Queen of Holloway may have a British web address but they clearly manufacture in CHINA; stealing ideas, clothing designs and yes, ACTUAL PHOTOS of clothing from ethical Pin Up Clothing and vintage reproduction designers.
The name "Queen of Holloway" is horrendous. That's like calling one's company "Pin Up Gal Clothing" or "Fables By Bonnie" a complete and utter copy of someone else's hard work and creativity. Even Vintage reproduction names like Brighton's wonderful Dolly Dagger who have a relatively small production line are being copied which is inexcusable.
So those who are buying Made in China rip offs like this, ask yourself how would YOU feel if you'd started from scratch, building your own following, choosing fabrics and designs that were your personal signature, paying taxes, licensing and then someone simply came along and photo copied every single thing you did and sold it-even down to illegally using your own professional photos?
I see more than few of my fellow dress addicts are buying from "Queen of Holloway" which is pitiful.
Come on ladies! Bad call!
Many of us who are investing in Pinup and vintage reproduction are considering starting our own clothing lines at some point or have friends that already are. Vintage Repro and Pin Up is becoming big business and a chance to do what you love and have fun while turning a profit. I'm discovering how costly it is and what an investment I'll need to make. I would be gutted if this happened to me and worst of all- powerless. Legal fees for businesses domestically are astronomical enough but international rip offs like this are very hard to monitor and bring to justice because you need thousands of dollars to go after them.
IF YOU BUY FROM EVIL QUEEN OF HOLLOWAY YOU ARE AS BIG A THIEF AS THEY ARE!
But isn't ALL Pin Up clothing somewhat of a "copy"?
No. The majority of what you see has been meticulously hand crafted, modernized and fitted on various shapes and tested (sometimes for years) for fit and form on a multitude of fabrics. Women's lives, figures, fabrics etc are not the same as they were mid-century and vinatge reproduction designers have had to be creative to accommodate this. The labels being ripped off by Evil Queen of Holloway made it possible for millions of women who can't afford vintage and/or do not fit in high street/modern clothing to look good and feel great in what we wear.
But hasn't there always been this kind of clothing? Why is the price still so high? No, in fact before the internet, if you were bigger than say a 36C-24-36 and 5'5 and did not live near a major city, your chances of getting vintage that was wearable was near impossible unless you had literally loads of money. Sometimes you'd find new "vintagey" pieces at Macys or Contempo Casuals but only if you were lucky and below a juniors size 13. If you saw a vintage repro in magazine often you could not even find it. As recently as 2000 I tried ordering an Anna Sui vintage style top and when they sent the wrong one I had to travel to Neiman's to return it. Vintage often ripped , fell apart or had to be altered so thankfully the internet and lines like Pin Up Girl clothing, Bernie Dexter and Bettie Page changed all of that for the better AND have kept their business in the USA. The price is NOT high for the quality and the ethics. in fact it is VERY reasonable if you look closer.
But some of the big names in Vintage Reproduction manufacture in China why not buy from "Queen of Holloway" if its all coming from the same place? Actually the majority of the big names in vintage repro do NOT manufacture in China. Stop Staring, Vivien of Holloway, Pin up Girl Clothing, Bettie Page, Bernie Dexter, Fables By Barrie, Heartbreaker, Dolly Dagger etc, etc all create in either the UK or the United States, putting money back into the economy and selling a superior product. Some UK labels like Oasis Floral Frocks and Lady Vintage manufacture in Romania but that's still a huge improvement over China.
What about Trashy Diva? Don't they manufacture out of China? Yes, Trashy Diva moved their production to China awhile back which is not preferable but not an excuse to see them ripped off as they make a superior product. For starters they still employ US citizens at FIVE store fronts in New Orleans and they were doing vintage Repro as far back as the mid 90's. It has not been possible for them to keep stores open and still manufacture in the US. Remember, in the 90s and there was a huge surge in "globalization" and "free trade" that saw nearly all US and many UK clothing manufacturers outsource to China. The companies operating post 2004 or so, unlike Trashy Diva, have all had the benefits of the internet, Facebook, You Tube, My Space, Pay Pal, Ebay, social networking, Etsy, the Pin Up and burlesque community etc etc etc to make their name. Hopefully Trashy Diva can come back to the US someday.
But what if I just buy ONE dress that isn't a copy? They have SO many cute fabrics and designs that are NOT copies after all and they have hard to find sizes so what's the harm in that? For starters you are still funding actual fraud. That would be like saying "Ok, I'm not a thief if I steal your butter but not your cow." You can go onto Etsy and have custom dresses made where you can pay off the seamstress in instalments and get an astonishing product that will last a lifetime. Sometimes a custom dress on Etsy is as low as 150.00. You can get a great product made by someone earning a living wage or walk around in your Chinese slave labour rip off dress-the choice is up to you.
Sorry, I'm still not sold. A dress is a dress and I'm not paying high prices. Please see below then.
WE MUST SUPPORT THEM AND SAY NO MORE MADE IN CHINA!
IF YOU DON'T THEN YOU PAY FOR THE ABOVE. Convinced now?