Earlier this year, I put myself forward for Miss Vintage – you can read about my entry here.
On the Sunday of Twinwood all the finalists got together backstage ready to strut their stuff and do their thing. I was full of self-doubt and fearful of being booed/laughed at but I was there for a reason and I wouldn’t run away from it.
Everyone who I spoke to about Miss Vintage really emphasised the importance of true vintage. Now I love true vintage and over a quarter of all my clothes are vintage but I wanted to wear something that was properly representative of me. I knew I wanted a dress that combined a fifties swing dress pattern with elements from my heritage – a mix of true vintage and reproduction clothing.
Lots of buddies recommended Felicity Esme Rackstraw of Esme’s Vintage Closet so I contacted her with my ideas. She took her time and listened to me – I sent her rough doodles and then she sent me through her final sketch and I was bowled over. I’ve never had a piece of clothing made for me before and I was apprehensive about the process. Flic answered every question and kept me up-to-date. She managed to find the most stunning vintage sari on Ebay and it set the colour scheme for my entire outfit.
Originally, the base dress was going to be a bright green but the fabric we had wasn’t working. On a day out with Flic in Manchester, she came across this stunning teal blue fabric and it was so perfect with the swatch from the sari. It came in the week before Twinwood and when I tried it on, I felt bloody fabulous!
For accessories, I had my Rockets Originals shoes, vintage gold earrings (I swapped them with a pair I was wearing as one fell out) and a vintage beetle brooch from Hirst Antiques. I wanted some hair flowers to go with my dress too, so Flic sent some of the sari to Holly of Alternate Normality so she could create a floral piece.
It was made up of hibiscus flowers (Fijian heritage), marigolds (Desi heritage) and foxgloves (upbringing in Birmingham). It was a true piece of art and really finished off my outfit.
Miss Vintage In Photos
This was a representation of my love of vintage and my pride in my culture. The bug brooch was representative of myself as a third generation immigrant – regarded as nuisance or a pest but ultimately, a beautiful and vital part of nature.
If you’d like to watch everything, you can check out the live feed videos on Vintage Life’s Facebook page. Congratulations to Dawn Trigwell who won first prize – well deserved!
I shared this post on Facebook after Miss Vintage and it pretty much sums up my thoughts.
Totally out of my comfort zone but I stood in front of a crowd and said my piece.
Many believe that politics and heavy issues shouldn’t be be brought up at these kinds of events. Thing is I didn’t turn up to compete with these gorgeous creatures: we checked each other’s teeth for lipstick, helped calm each other’s nerves, checked seams were straight and even dusted each other with a bit of face powder. It was a supportive and encouraging group of women, sharing their love of vintage style.
My main aim for doing this was to highlight a few things:
- Fashion is fun – you make your own rules.
- Reproduction and vintage clothing are not in competition with one another – it’s what works for you.
- Diversity is beautiful and immigrants are beautiful.
- Vintage style exists in more forms than what you see in mainstream media – we need to see more of it.
I hope I at least got some of that across. Thanks to everyone for their encouragement and support – I know I became a nightmare in the run-up as I got more anxious about being booed or laughed at. All was well on the day!
If I could change anything, I would have wanted more time to talk – it’s so difficult though as timings were pretty tight. I would had worried less (as with most things) and I would have had more of a giggle. On the flip-side though, I met some wonderful people and made new friends.
Of course, there are bigger issues out there in the world and there are so many problems to solve. I just wanted to open a door to discussion and diversity in the vintage subculture, I don’t know if I did that but I hope people continue to to spread the message that it’s OK to be different and it’s OK to be fabulous too.
Thanks to my friends and family for encouraging me, especially Nick who bore the brunt of my anxiety – you were and are wonderful!