Saturday, July 28, 2012


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 pin up brands 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 designers like Whirling Turban and Dolly Dagger.

The name "Queen of Holloway" is horrendous. That's like calling one's company "Pin Up Gal Clothing" , "The Dancing Turban" 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 saddening. Come on ladies! REALLY 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.



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 vintage 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 34C-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, Dolly Dagger, Whirling Turban 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, 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 of course disappointing 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 90's. It may 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 will 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 installments 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.

When you buy  Made in China Pin Up Clothing and counterfeit Vintage reproductions from  fakes such as "Queen of Holloway" you are supporting the horrific tragedy above. The Chinese Government will do nothing to stop Rhino and Tiger extinction and are in fact encouraging it. And of course human rights abuses in China are some of the worst in the world and include some of the most awful things I've ever read about and will not mention here. True, we have all been literally forced via the greedy 1% in this era to buy many things we need from China but at LEAST Pin Up fans and vintage aficionados are  keeping  their money in Europe and the US. 



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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Walking up to Valhalla

Our endless UK rain gave way to glorious sunshine and a few willowy clouds and Ken had a wonderful send off with all his dearest family and friends this past Monday afternoon, 9th of July. He had asked especially for a Viking funeral and his wife Lisi officiated a lovely ceremony. The ceremony was held on the spectacular Beaulieu River in Hampshire which starts next to homes and gardens, winds past homes to meet the marinas and small boats and then pours into the sea. Ken is joined with all this beauty not so far from where he was born, came of age and where he lived and will continue to surrounded by loved ones and friends. When I was about 6 or 7 I read a story in a school book of two boys who had a little river tributary near their home and sailed a canoe upon it. In the book they also became lost and spent the night in a forest building a 'tent' from branches and leaves. The illustration looked just like where Ken is today.

Early sun on Beaulieu water
Lights the undersides of oaks,
Clumps of leaves it floods and
All transparent glow the branches
Which the double sunlight soaks;
And to her craft on Beaulieu water
Clemency the General's daughter
Pulls across with even strokes.

Schoolboy sure she is this morning;
Soon her sharpie's rigg'd and free.
Cool beneath a garden awning
Mrs Fairclough sipping tea
And raising large long-distance glasses
As the little sharpie passes,
Sighs our sailor girl to see:

Tulip figure, so appealing,

Oval face, so serious-eyed,

Tree-roots pass'd and muddy beaches,

On to huge and lake-like reaches

Soft and sun-warm, see her glide,

Slacks the slim young limbs


Sun-brown arm the tiller feeling,

Before the wind and with the tide.

Evening light will bring the water,

Day-long sun will burst the bud,

Clemency, the General's daughter

Will return upon the flood.

But the older woman only

Knows the ebb tide leaves her lonely.

With the shining fields of mud.

Youth and Age on Beaulieu River, by John Betjeman
Hants (1945)

The river is always flowing
Relentless towards the costal tides
It travels down to the great ocean
While most of us simply watch from the water side

The water becomes Siddhartha's teacher
Sometimes powerful and stern
Sometimes gentle , forgiving
It never changes in direction
As it carries even mountains down to the sea

I'll take you over
I don't want your money
Just hang on tight
Till we reach the other wall
Kings and beggars
They all cling to my ankle
The horn blows wide, and the currents roar

God fill this gutter
That breaks my shoulder
Smash me to pieces
And wash me to mud
Dry me to dust
And set me to smolder
Please let me dissolve in the autumn flood

The rivers always flowing
But I'm free now
From It's grace
I'll be swept down to the ocean
And now you
You will take my place

-Pete Townshend "The Ferrymen"

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Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Ken Russell's Birthday and Viking Send Off!

Ken had his Viking Celebration on The Beaulieu river and his birthday this week More details to follow.

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Monday, July 02, 2012

For these hard times

 "Tommy at last realizes he’s not a spiritual guide, he’s one more human being, who needs to learn from other people, from all humanity.  At last, he sings triumphantly, “Right behind you, I see the millions." Ascending to the mountaintop, he reaches the peak and triumphantly greets the rising sun, a huge, warm, reddish sphere that en-haloes his entire body in a victorious stance, legs apart, arms spread in exultation. This is only the second time the full circle of the sun has appeared in this movie filled with shiny spheres and moons. The first time was in the first scene, where Tommy’s dad, in mountaineering garb, reached the peak of the same mountain at sunset, and then began his descent, as we know, into death. Tommy returns to the mountain and the sun reunites him with his father and his vital inheritance as a living human. 

With this closing scene, Russell has literally fitted the entire opera between the two celestial spheres, the sun and moon, raising every human’s battle to break out of the lies that conceal reality to an epic level. Transcendence, Russell seems to be saying, isn’t achieved by playing human games like pinball, in which you progress through a linear pattern to higher and higher numbers, and judge your success by popular acclaim.  Rather, it is an adventure that you do not begin until you throw over the oppressors that prevent you from speaking the truth.  Russell concludes a work that takes over your senses at high speed and high volume with a message that, although born from the turmoil of the sixties, will resonate meaningfully for generations to come" - by Charles Carreon



Meher Baba

I have come not to teach but to awaken. Understand therefore that I lay down no precepts.
Throughout eternity I have laid down principles and precepts, but mankind has ignored them. Man's inability to live God's words makes the Avatar's teaching a mockery. Instead of practising the compassion he taught, man has waged crusades in his name. Instead of living the humility, purity and truth of his words, man has given way to hatred, greed and violence.
Because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present avataric form I observe Silence. You have asked for and been given enough words — it is now time to live them. To get nearer and nearer to God you have to get further and further away from "I", "My", and "Mine". You have not to renounce anything but your own self. It is as simple as that, though found to be almost impossible. It is possible for you to renounce your limited self by my Grace. I have come to release that Grace.
I repeat, I lay down no precepts. When I release the tide of Truth which I have come to give, men's daily lives will be the living precept. The words I have not spoken will come to life in them.
I veil myself from man by his own curtain of ignorance, and manifest my Glory to a few. My present avataric Form is the last Incarnation of this cycle of time, hence my Manifestation will be the greatest. When I break my Silence, the impact of my Love will be universal and all life in creation will know, feel and receive of it. It will help every individual to break himself free from his bondage in his own way. I am the Divine Beloved who loves you more than you can ever love yourself. The breaking of my Silence will help you to help yourself in knowing your real self.
All this world confusion and chaos was inevitable and no one is to blame. What had to happen has happened; and what has to happen will happen. There was and is no way out except through my coming in your midst. I had to come, and I have come. I am the Ancient One.

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