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Check Out Rebecca Russell’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Russell. 

Hi Rebecca, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
How it all began . . . 

Honestly, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t fascinated with history and clothing. From the age of seven, I would sit for hours engrossed in movies like Les Miserables (Anthony Perkins) The Count of Monte Cristo (Richard Chamberlain), The King and I (with Yul Brenner), Gone with the Wind, and countless other classics. Even then, I was studying the clothing so I could run to my box of play clothes and attempt to recreate that perfect historical look. 

Okay, so my research methods and sewing ability may not have been quite “up-to-par” at that point in time. but my motivation, creativity, and enthusiasm were definitely running wild. I spent countless summers watching my grandmother as she sewed dress after dress for me and my sister on her one and only sewing machine, a wedding gift from my grandfather in the 1940s. At home, I would sneak up to my mother’s bedroom to try to figure out her sewing machine (which she never used and eventually taught me so I would stop knotting up all the bobbin threads). 

Eventually, it paid off. 

In 1986 (at the age of 12) I attended my first Civil War Reenactment – the 125th Anniversary of the Battle of Bull Run. Just days after the event, I designed and crafted my first Civil War-era day dress. Of course, it was still far from authentic or perfectly period (styled from the TV miniseries, “North and South,” and made up of synthetic satin) but it was a start. I received enough gentle optimism and advice from fellow re-enactors that I was able to begin my research in earnest: visiting libraries, museums, examining period pieces and images for details. 

From that time on, I immersed myself in researching historical costume; learning something new almost every day. And that’s the point when it comes to historical garments and sewing: the learning never ends! I started a business straight out of college (when the internet was brand new) then stopped for many years to raise three children on my own. It was not until I recently remarried, had my fourth child at the age of 45 and COVID hit, forcing me to re-examine many things in my world and my life, that I decided to open my historical clothing company once again. And this was the beginning of BeespokeVintage! 

Today I recreate historically accurate clothing from the 1770s thru the 1970s, though my current customer base tends to focus on the 1930s and 1940s. Historical costuming and curating is a foundational part of who I am. I see the world through clothing and fit and fabric and “wearable messages” and I am thrilled to be able to work in this crazy, creative, exhilarating industry. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No creative endeavor is ever a perfectly smooth road. Giving up my predictable, high-paying, 9-5 job was the first huge hurdle I had to get over. Not being a primary bread-winner . . . gulp . . . well that is a hard pill to swallow for me and a HUGE leap of faith! But my husband, children, friends, and family were all behind me 100% and that made the risk worth taking! 

The only other challenge for me has been learning all the ins and outs of the new social media jungle out there. None of that existed when I first opened my business right out of college and I had personally only ever had and used Facebook. Diving into social media was a giant learning curve. Baby steps, baby. Baby steps. 

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Vintage clothing is a hot market right now throughout the United States and the world. Vintage Markets have sprung up everywhere and the young crowd loves to integrate 1980s and 1990s vintage into their everyday wardrobe. You also see quite a bit of History Bounding which is another form of blending historical pieces or looks into everyday wardrobes. Where my company differs from these genres is that all my work is 100% custom-made: 

1) I do not carry true vintage (except on very rare occasions when I am moving some of my personal collection), and 

2) I do not mass produce any off-the-rack items. No item exists until a customer requests it. At that time the customer chooses the pattern, the fabric, the trimming, and provides measurements to have his or her garment come to life. 

I am most proud of the fact that customers can come to me with their dreams have something that never existed before breathed into life! Literally making dreams come true! 

What matters most to you? Why?
What matters most to me is for customers to be happy. Each piece I make is like a piece of me going out into the world. If a customer is not happy with it, then I have put something uphappy out into the world. I just don’t want that to be the case. So far, all my customers have been happy. Yay! 

Pricing:

  • Base 1920s-1950s Dresses $525
  • Base Victorian $1500
  • Base Regency $850

Contact Info:

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