Cathy Hay: Founder
Cathy Hay is the founder of this award-winning sewing community, which helps dressmakers to connect, learn together, and realise their most ambitious sewing dreams.
With a weakness for old clothes – VERY old clothes – she loves to reverse engineer and recreate the clothing of the past, so that it can step out of the glass museum case and live again.
It's about championing mental health, creativity, and a level of craftsmanship that doesn't have to be lost in the past.
Cathy belongs both in England and in northern California, suspended between two worlds in more ways than one. Her blog is The Peacock Dress and Other Stories.
Luca Costigliolo: Mentor
Luca Costigliolo changed the corsetry world in 2015 with just one Foundations Revealed article about synthetic whalebone. He is an extraordinarily talented costume cutter and maker for film, television and stage around the world, with a genius eye for what works in creating a truly stunning, historically accurate silhouette.
He recently worked in Hungary as a cutter on the Showtime costume drama The Borgias, creating all the costumes for the role of Lucrezia Borgia, designed by Oscar winner Gabriella Pescucci. For nine years he was the Head of Wardrobe for the Spoleto Opera Festival in Italy, and he was a member of the wardrobe team at Shakepseare’s Globe Theatre in London from 1999-2005, cutting and hand-making clothes for award winning productions.
He teaches accurate historical cutting and sewing techniques at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome along with world famous costume designer Piero Tosi. He also teaches short courses at the School of Historical Dress in London.
His knowledge on historical tailoring and dressmaking techniques have led him to collaborate with museums with important dress collections such as The Bowes Museum in the UK and the National Trust, for whom he has recreated an 1884 gown that belonged to Princess Alexandra. Luca was also the historical sewing expert on recent BBC programmes such as Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm.
Luca is the co-author of three pattern cutting and construction books for V&A Publications, as well as the forthcoming Patterns Of Fashion 5, continuing the work of Janet Arnold.
He's also a warm, friendly, funny, approachable guy, as you're about to find out, and he REALLY wants to help you succeed so that there can be more beautiful corsets and clothes in the world!
Lowana O'Shea: Mentor
Lowana is the designer and corsetiere behind celebrated Australian slow fashion label Vanyanís, specializing in exquisite corsetry, bridal couture and luxury ready-to-wear fashion. Vanyanís is also well known for the re-invention of engraved busks, which were launched in 2015 to corsetmakers worldwide.
Alongside running Vanyanís and working for other corsetry companies, Lowana opened her School of Couture in 2015, becoming a rare and valuable source of in-person corsetry classes in Australia. Driven to preserve the art of corsetry, Lowana passes her skills to a new cohort of emerging corset makers and gets a thrill every time she sees her students succeed and flourish. She is passionate about empowering her students with the skills they need to continue their sewing independently, providing the guidance and support she wished she had when starting her own journey.
Lowana's skills have been hard won through over a decade of study. She is known for her meticulous attention to detail and love of subtle (but extravagant) details in her work, becoming the corsetmaker's corsetmaker. After commissioning her bridal gown from Vanyanis, FR writer Amber Welch commented, "As a corsetiere myself, I'm convinced she's doing some of the most exquisite work in the industry, right up there with Mr Pearl."
Besides all her impressive professional credentials, I have encouraged Lowana to become your Mentor because she is also possibly the most loving and supportive human I have ever met. Her nurturing presence will enable you all to feel that you CAN reach for the stars!
Sharon Nevin: Correspondence Rock Star
Sharon is official Correspondence Rock Star for Harman Hay Publications, answering your email and keeping the administration running smoothly.
Sharon fell down the rabbit hole of historic costuming when she first started University and came across a medieval group at orientation week. Since then her interest in Medieval and Tudor costuming has expanded to cover much of the Early Modern period. Sharon is also fascinated by the mechanics and evolution of pattern drafting systems and changes in sewing techniques over time.
Sharon is Australian-British and is currently living in England (again).
Elizabeth Licata: Content Layout Rock Star
Elizabeth uploads and lays out all our new articles.
Her very first sewing project was an 18th-century robe à l’anglaise for a sixth-grade history report. It took her so long to get dressed that the principal thought she’d pulled a runner, and called the cops.
Elizabeth first cosplayed in 1997 in a truly awful Ranma 1/2 costume at the Chicago Comic Con. She's dressed up as a variety of characters over the years, and her personal philosophy is, "Go big, or go home." Style icons include Dolly Parton and Charo. Elizabeth spent several years working in costume shops around the country and has made costumes for everyone from good-hearted Oscar-winners to raving divas nobody has ever heard of. She collects vintage clothes and loves sewing more than anything in the world except baby cows.
She has a Master's in Japanese history from Stanford and currently works as a writer. Her long-term career goal is to become either a drag queen or a parade float.
More of her work can be seen at Ambience Chaser.