Vintage couture for kids

Designer and actress Melanie Salisbury founded British-based childrenswear company Rock 'n' Regal, which specialises in children’s clothing from age 5-12. Each piece is sourced, designed and hand finished in the UK. ACHICA Living chats to Melanie to find out more about her unique brand...

Have you always been interested in designing clothes?

My background is theatre - I’ve played Cinderella many times alongside the likes of Denise Welch and Bobby Davro. My mum was a choreographer and dancer, my dad was in Royal Ballet and my nan was a dancer too. I grew up not even thinking of doing anything other than working in the theatre. As a child my hobby was making and creating and I enjoyed sewing. My nan had a massive room of costumes and I used to play in there – they were more elaborate than usual dressing up clothes! It’s always been a hobby of mine to design and make clothing.

How did you come about founding Rock ‘n’ Regal?

My mum and I run Birmingham Stage School and five years ago we did a big show at the Royal Albert Hall in London and I took on the job of costume designer. It was dark Victorian-type circus costumes and I made some beautiful outfits that were wild in design.

That was my turning point. I had done a lot of performing but got to the point where I wanted to pursue designing as it’s something I really enjoy.

People started to ask me to make bespoke pieces for them – bridesmaid dresses and smarter clothes for children – things for special occasions that were just that bit different. A lot of people told me I should explore the childrenwear market full time and I thought it was worth giving it a go. Working with a lot of children at the dance school I got a lot of feedback – I knew what they liked and what they wanted to see more of.

Can you tell us a bit about your brand Rock ‘n’ Regal?

We have three main themes – rock, regal and British heritage. We try and incorporate those themes in all our designs. Making costumes has been a real asset in leading me in the design field – I’ve worn everything from Renaissance period dress through to Victorian and modern day costume. I’ve tried to adapt a lot of heritage cuts in modern clothes so there’s a bit of a twist.

We don’t just stick a flag on the front of a t-shirt to make it British, but we look at different cuts, how the clothing hangs, how to make the clothing look good from a distance etc.

Joan Collins is a fan of our designs. I met her while working in the theatre in Birimingham and she wanted some of my designs for her granddaughter.

What is your most coveted design?

The one that seems to be doing well this season is a skirt called Darcy. ACHICA has picked this one out to feature in the Rock 'n' Regal promotion. It’s a green British checked skirt with a bustle feature on the back. From the front it looks like a classic British skirt, turn it around and it has a fun element. Classic with a twist – that’s what we are at Rock 'n' Regal.

Any exciting projects you’re currently working on?

I love music and it’s an honor to be working with Abbey Road. They loved the undiluted Britishness of my designs when they saw them. They have one of the world’s largest collection of microphones, so we’re featuring a print of these on some of our clothing next season...

The Rock 'n' Regal promotion at ACHICA is on now

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor