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BSB Designer Interview

August 15, 2016

I was lucky enough to be interviewed by the British Style Bloggers community website, or BSB for short. Read the interview here.

bsb interview monksonvacation

The story behind the shoot

January 5, 2016

Looking back on 2015 and MOV’s short journey to now, the highlight for me was seeing all our work culminate in the pages of our website. All the hours of sourcing for fabrics which needed to be knitted in the UK and with the quality necessary for high end products. We found them of course in Leicester, and then started the many trips northbound to view reams of fabrics to enhance our designs, and create new ones, with fantastic prints for the new collection.

Then there were the days holed up in the design studio in Kingston, painstakingly cutting and toiling the patterns to perfection. The trips to the factory in North London, loading and unloading fabric rolls from the back of the car only to have boxes of finished garments couriered back for inspection. It was a very long learning curve, but one which I wouldn’t today have missed for the world and so brought us to the point of the photoshoot.

Or rather of two photshoots this year, as we added 7 new lines in the latter part of 2015 and that is where the idea of the video formulated with the idea to show exactly what did go on behind the scenes.

The first photoshoot was the biggie, the first time the designs and fabrics would come to life….and the first time I had directed one too …with two dogs in tow….what could go wrong ?!!

photoshoot photography

monksonvacation shoot


Actually very little as it happened. The sun shone and we could have been in the South of France instead of Sunny Surrey! I was surrounded by a lovely group of friends who were also the professionals I turned to with whom I could entrust my ‘baby’.

Firstly Sarah, my amazing photographer, who made the pictures as beautiful as they are as well as keeping me completely sane for the whole process! The lovely Leah who, when she wasn’t tanning herself in our self proclaimed St Tropez, was keeping Jenny’s stray strands under control take after take!

Sarah who not only managed to keep Jenny looking fresh and comfortable in the heat with perfect makeup application, also doubled up as Sarah’s very productive assistant providing extra shade, light, a stepladder or whatever was needed to get the perfect shot! And then there was Jenny who had never modelled before but who I knew would make the perfect person to showcase our collection.

From the beginning I wanted to design garments that would look good on ‘normal’ women who were part of ‘normal’ lives. Jenny is my Pilates teacher and who better to model comfortable, luxe relaxing jersey based garments!

Finally the location at St Martha’s Priory, Guildford, recently refurbished my extremely talented and gifted friend Tracy Appel provided the perfect backdrop for both photoshoots. So, the video is taken from the second shoot but you will get the gist of what went on for both shoots along with the work put in by everyone which was greatly appreciated…not least from my own daughter Ella who is credited for the fabulous video diary taken that day.

Definitely a highlight of 2015 for us, and it’s here in full! Enjoy

Posted by Monks On Vacation on Sunday, 3 January 2016

Treasure-box Brands

September 7, 2015

I spent a lazy Sunday afternoon reading a great article in Style magazine by Harriet Nelham Clark on the emergence of new brands offering beautifully designed and crafted everyday pieces.

The emphasis is on niche and individual brands as opposed to the mass produced garments flooding in from abroad.

Quality is paramount, highlighting ‘homegrown’labels delivering the expertise of British made fabrics and manufacturing. UK factories often don’t have the capability of mass production, but the flip side of that is that small brands are then able to find small runs of manufacturing for their designs which is both cost effective for the cash flow, but also allows direct and easy communication between the designer and production.

The finished garments are unique in that the quantities are often small , which according to Ruth Chapman, (one of the interviewees in the article) makes the pieces rare and the consumer to feel ‘individual’ when wearing them.

The downside of home production is that costs can be higher than a mass produced piece from the Far East. However the investment in such pieces overrides other considerations when those garments are manufactured with the piece of mind that the factories are managed in a responsible manner and fabrics are knitted using the best of innovation and creativity the UK has to offer.

The women these labels attract are confident in themselves and their personal style, happy to experiment but know their own unique evolving style boundaries.

When I founded MOV the desire was to create beautiful pieces, from gorgeous fabrics , which would stand the test of time. When you read an article such as I did yesterday, lounging in my Maxi Sweat (seen below) it was great to feel that we’re not alone in our thought process, or in how we’re making it happen and MOV are more than happy to carry the label of a ‘treasure-box brand’!

Maxi Sweat 4 Maxi sweat low