All posts by monkson

Bags Of Love

Influencers, fashion students and all who love some arm candy will be queuing along Cromwell Road and into Knightsbridge and beyond when the V&A opens its doors on the highly anticipated exhibition Bags : Inside Out on Nov 21st

Iconic bags such as the Fendi Baguette and the Birkin will feature alongside other notable pieces all with their own backstory to tell. The bag, whatever its size, is the ultimate accessory and can make , or break , the outfit sillouette.

But the history of the humble bag can be traced back to the sixteenth century when women wore a ‘chatelaine’ which was basically a clasp with chains to which household items such as keys were attached.

Moving onto the eighteenth century, ‘chatelaine’ morphed into ‘indispensables” and became more practical with a drawstring enclosure able to enclose more personal items such as a fan or perfume.

The ‘Indispensible’

However it was in the mid nineteenth century when the first ‘designer’ bag emerged. An up and coming entrepreneur, Samuel Parkinson noticed his wife’s ‘indispensable’ was far too small for the practicalities of travel. He asked for the help of a London based manufacturer of leather goods, H.J. Cave & Sons, to design a larger leather handbag which would distinguish his wife from the less affluent travellers. His designs are said to have inspired Louis Vuitton and Guccio Gucci ……the rest is handbag history !!

Fast forward to the twenty first century and designer handbags have become an object of desire. For many they are out of their price range and as such a huge industry in fake bags emerged. The grades of manufacturing are often so high it can be almost impossible to tell the difference between that and the real thing. For those where the latest IT bag is affordable, yet unattainable, there are other companies who can do the hard work for you. One such London based company Aquarius Luxury Concierge ( offer a bespoke personnal shopping experience, sourcing luxury products, including handbags, for their clients.

For the rest of us who can only dream of owning such a collection of desirables, we can pop along to the V&A at the end of the month where the endless display of clutches, crossbodies and totes will continue to fuel our handbag fantasies.

Bags: Inside Out opens at the V&A from Nov 21st.

Tickets available

The birth of a brand…..

I often get asked how Monks On Vacation got its name as it seems to grab attention before our garments have managed to get a look in! it was actually on a family holiday to Mykonos and we were out in Mykonos Town enjoying the fabulous simplicity of the Greek cuisine.We followed this with a few cocktails in a local bar watching the summer crowd wander past dressed in their beautiful Mykonos white uniform.They looked relaxed, glamorous and could equally have been at home on the beach as at one of the many upmarket restaurants or bars on this fabulous island.I don’t think I have ever seen such a synergy between the vacation wardrobe and where its being worn.The beauty and simplicity of design, abundance of white in every texture with a touch of a muted colour in a neutral grey or beige beautifully blended in amongst the natural environment surrounding us. myk3 myk 4 It was here that we looked at the drinks menu and a cocktail jumped out at us because of its name ‘Monks On Vacation’. My husband, always one to see a marketing tool commented on what a great name for a business. Looking out at the catwalk taking place infront of us it all made perfect sense. At that moment Monks On Vaction as a fashion brand was born. The ethos of the brand was also defined then too. Small collections comprising of a limited number of designs with small runs.The beauty would be in how these pieces would work together, to form not just a single outfit but multiple ones. A collection that could be packed in a carry on for a city break away, or to a longer more leisurely vacation on the beach. Garments which would work equally dressed up or down, glamorous or relaxed. Pieces that would take you though a 24/7 busy lifestyle, from the gym to a qwick shopping trip to a glass of wine with friends. Our collections would be versatile yet stylish with every occasion covered. martinique stripe low rushy pants low popper jacket alt low Our first collections comprised of staple wardrobe garments on which future collections will build on. Our signature designs focused on detail such as our Maxi Sweat with its oversized arm length and cuff width. maxi dress loungewear We are continually looking to develop our concept and have exciting details to release over the coming weeks. MOV has come a long way in the last 18 months and especially since that cocktail in Mykonos. We would love you all to stay tuned in and join the next stage of our fabulous journey with us.

The Beauty of the Pop Up

So MOV is 18 months old and the New Year is always a good time to take stock of all the amazing events which have happened over the year. With sales moving happily on our website we decided to venture into popups as an ideal way to introduce ourselves to new customers and to see how are garments work on real bodies as opposed to our inhouse models! The best part of being out there in the market place is to get real feedback too which is vital to emerging brands such as ourselves. We showcased our ranges in some fabulous local businesses who have been amazingly supportive to us in the whole process. It’s wonderful to see local independents working together to bring ideas to life giving us all a chance to move our brands forward onto the next step.IMG_5430 IMG_5897 IMG_5601 Looking for new channels for sales is a priority for any business. Website sales are often quite difficult to drive despite constant social media activity and I know we aren’t the first new business to say that!! Therefore we needed a new platform to introduce ourselves to a wider audience and Pop Ups became the welcome answer. Apart from the obvious benefits of being able to meet existing and new clients, the Pop Ups also give us a chance to see our collection being showcased as if in our own premises. Usually the garments are hanging on rails in my office available for immediate reference, but are also held behind protective plastic covers, keeping samples clean and pressed and away from potential damage. This is a necessary precaution not least by the continual (welcome!!) presence of my two gorgeous labradors who love to lie by my desk while I’m working! The most common problem for start ups like us is the lack of finances to rent good retail space, and so the compromise is to rent space in a working environment. This idea becomes even better when that space is mutually compatible in which the dynamic and footfall compliments both brands. We have been so lucky with Cafe Mila in Godalming, Bardoe & Appel in Guildford and &hobbs in Shere in which this was apparent. Therefore for us the PopUp has been vital in our development, not only as a natural sales progression, but also for our own identity. To see our garments up on the rails in a beautiful sales environment and to introduce ourselves to new customers who wouldn’t necessarily have even been driven to our website, has been massively satisfying and dare I say it, a huge sense of pride too in what we have achieved. So going forward into 2017 look out for us popping up in new venues and we already have dates booked in or diary. We’re always looking out for new spaces too, so if there’s anyone out there with any ideas, or any business owners who’d like to support us in this way please let us know as we’d love to collaborate with you. In the meantime we’ll keep you all posted on our events and our upcoming new collection and look forward to an exciting year ahead for MOV. If you do have any ideas of a great Pop Up location, or collaborative ideas, please get in touch with Anneli,, as we’d love to hear from you. horns header