Vintage vintage reproduction

VLV 18: Big Changes to the Swimsuit Contest?

5:00 AMDollie Simpson

As with any long standing music festival, Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender has gone through many changes. Changes in venue, changes in sponsors, and changes in rules. As with any change made, people will have an opinion on it. Some will love it, some will hate it, and some won't even notice. 

Recently, there was somewhat of a scandal on Facebook when it was announced that there would be changes to the Vintage Swimsuit Contest. A change in "host" company of the swimsuit contest was made by VLV management and there were some growing pains along the way. Some misinformation was spread on both sides, leaving people concerned that big changes would be coming to the revered Vintage Swimsuit Contest. Mainly, people were concerned that non-vintage would be allowed into the contest, and that would turn it into a T & A contest. A post was made in the Oh La La Vintage Swap and Sale group on Facebook that gathered over 300 comments, some not so nice. Some people even expressed plans to boycott the pool party all together, "I decided we are going to leave Sunday. No point in staying to support this trash." said one commenter.

In turn, a group of concerned citizens created a new Facebook group called "Bring Back the VLV Vintage Swimsuit Competition". They wrote an open letter to the management at VLV, saying "The very best thing about the VLV Vintage Swimsuit competition is that it's not only about being pretty and sexy. The competition is about the suits. And the reason that this is the case is that every single suit is guaranteed vintage. Take that aspect away, and you are opening up the competition to become just another personality contest, focused on the girls who tell the funniest jokes, or who have the most ample endowments - in short, you invite the competition to become nothing more than a meat market." Also adding, "What is also upsetting is the fact that we are learning of this organizational change only three months before the event. There are people who have already invested a substantial amount of time and money into swimsuits that they were looking forward to submitting for the contest.

As you can tell, the vintage community takes this event very seriously. Lastly, they added, "Finally, we ask you to consider the following: would you ever let PT Cruisers into the car show? We are guessing the answer is, no. The car show is a collector's event." The group also reached out to the new host company of the contest with their concerns, "We want to make sure it doesn't turn into a popularity contest, where the winner is the person with the loudest friends, or a meat market, where the winner is the girl with the perkiest assets."

Promoter Tom Ingram had this to say, "Thank you for all of your comments and feedback. I personally prefer an all vintage swimsuit contest. I was under the impression that there had been some reproduction swimwear in the competition in the past. This is the reason I said OK to allowing reproduction. At no time was that decision ever intended to change the style of the swimsuit contest. So we will keep the contest as VINTAGE ONLY. I am sorry if the announcement had caused anyone any disappointment. And I will never allow any PT Cruisers into the car show either."

After a few things were cleared up and the rules were determined, it appears as though not much has changed from the outside. So, in order to clear everything up, here is the latest info on the VLV Vintage Swimsuit Contest: 

Proudly sponsored by Lucy B Swimwear

Are you a vintage swimwear enthusiast! Well, come out for 3 days of fun in the sun while wearing your best poolside attire.

We have 3 fun, fashionable contests spread over 3 days!
Men’s swimsuit contest- Friday 3:45 PM
Couple’s Swimsuit contest- Saturday 3:45 PM
Womens’s Swimsuit contest- Sunday 3:45 PM

We’re looking for contestants with the best AUTHENTIC VINTAGE (pre-1970) swimwear. If you would like to compete in one of the contests, please follow the guidelines below, registration for Friday & Saturday differ from the registration process for Sunday, so please read carefully.

The Men’s Swimsuit Contest on Friday & the Couples Swimsuit Contest on Saturday, both do NOT require pre-registration. Arrive no later than 3PM at the Lucy B cabana at the Pool Party to sign in and receive your number, it’s as easy as that!

The Women’s Swimsuit Contest on Sunday requires pre-registration, no walk-ups will be accepted. Please email your full legal name, your stage name (if applicable), your contact phone number and a photo of the vintage swimsuit you plan to enter the contest wearing. At this stage of the contest, the judges will pick finalists to walk the stage based on the photo of your swimsuit alone, so make it a great one! Please submit your information to: for consideration. Any emails that do not contain all of the criteria above will not be considered.

(Click on company name for a direct link to their website)

General Rules for all Contestants:
If you arrive after 3PM, you will not be entered in the contest.
You must be in vintage.
You will be judged on vintage attire, coordinating accessories, stage presence and personality.
Previous first place winners may not enter.
Don’t forget sunscreen and to have FUN!

Did you see this as it unfolded? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. I love that everyone is as passionate about Viva Las Vegas as we are, but I was disappointed that everyone jumped to such swift conclusions. I was also troubled to see all the hate toward repro. I know we all love vintage, but some people truly love repro too. At the end of the day it is just clothes and you shouldn't let it determine if you are going to have a good time. In the end, it seems that all's well that ends well. I know I will be there on Sunday sporting my vintage suit either way. I am always the winner of my own contest. 

Dollie and Zack 

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  1. The repro vs vintage debate is a frequent one, but important: on the one hand, I think some repro brands, especially here in the UK, don't look very vintage at all! On the other, for people with atypical body types - very large or small, or with a disability that requires adapted clothing - sometimes repro or custom-made is the only way to go, and I'd hate to think that people were put off getting into vintage because it made them feel bad about their body. All that said, I think the decision to stick with original vintage for a swimsuit competition is a good one, and does help prevent it becoming too body-focussed.

  2. All of your VLV posts every year make me want to go so badly! It looks like such an awesome weekend.

  3. Oh how I dream of owning a vintage swimsuit! But as I am a 6' tall glamazon it is just never going to happen! Personally, I wear mostly repro because a) it fits me better, b) it is more affordable (I only make minimum wage and after rent, bills and groceries I don't have money to splash on beautiful vintage pieces), and c) some repro brands (Lady K Loves, Bernie Dexter, and Outerlimitz spring to mind) are fabulous and I love supporting small, independent businesses. As long as the repro is of high quality and standard I don't see a problem in including it

  4. The retro and vintage style which came back today but now revived into more stylish and cool patterns and color.


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