These high street dresses from Monsoon take artisans 21 hours to make, but they're actually affordable

Some have over 21,000 beads and sequins on them!

Monsoon has long been a go-to destination for special occasion dressing and their new Artisan collection certainly doesn’t disappoint on the run-up to party season.

We love a bit of spangle, which is why our head has been turned by Artisan, Monsoon's collection of handmade pieces that have been carefully crafted with the upmost attention to detail by an atelier of experts. Each piece from the collection guarantees a fair and ethical journey from design house to hanger too, by way of skilled artisan communities across Asia.

Um, that sounds expensive, right? But given the amount of work, the prices are surprisingly affordable. Prices range from £120 - £280, which is very reasonable given that some of the dresses take 21 hours to make and have over 21,000 beads and sequins on them!

W&H's Monsoon Artisan Edit

We've picked our six favourite dresses from the collection. We chose them because of the flattering cuts, exquisite embellishment, and the arm coverage they offered. We have been reliably informed that the Petuna and Rosanna dresses are best-sellers already, and we can see why...

SHOP NOW: Petuna Peacock dress, £150

SHOP NOW: Harriet hanky hem dress, £140

SHOP NOW: Rosanna balloon sleeve dress, £130


SHOP NOW: Limited edition Keira cape dress, £280

SHOP NOW: Tatiana maxi dress, £170

SHOP NOW: Amber heart sequin dress, £150

As you can see, this season’s Artisan range focuses on beautiful embroidered patterns and hand embellishment with beads and sequins.

About Monsoon's Artisan collection

We wanted to know more so we spoke to Monsoon to find out exactly what goes in to the creation of these beautiful pieces.

How many Artisan workers do you work with?

We work with 3 communities in and around Delhi who do our hand embellishment and hand-embroidery. We have been working with these communities for over 10 years with over 900 skilled homeworkers.

How long have you worked with Artisans and how does this help the Artisans and their community?

We’ve been working with our current Homeworking community for over 15 years.

It gives empowerment to women who in these rural communities can really benefit from a second income. This supports these families to increase their income and support their children going to school.

Additionally it supports these old techniques and values this expertise. It also supports the cultures and techniques so that Artisan continues to live on through the generations, celebrating the uniqueness of our heritage artisans.

SHOP NOW: Artisan collection

What percentage of your range is handworked?

At least 25% of our range is handworked and we aim to increase this in the next few seasons.

How long does an Artisan product take to make?

This is all dependent on the type of handiwork that is being done. Each of our sub-suppliers does a ‘time-in-motion’ calculation to understand the length of time needed to do the handwork and therefore that their workers are receiving fair wages for the hours which they work – although they are paid based on the number of pieces they do, so they can be flexible in their working arrangement.


The Chiara dress takes 17 hours and is made with 6,800 sequins

The Stephanie dress takes 21 hours and is made with 27,000 beads and sequins.

SHOP NOW: Artisan collection

So for something a little bit special that not only looks but also does good, head over to Monsoon. We don’t know about you but we’re starting to get excited for the party season ahead!

Eloisa is a fashion stylist and deputy fashion editor working across eight Women’s Lifestyle publications at Future, including Her previous styling projects include contributions to Condé Nast Brides, Now, Essentials, and online commercials for brands, including Strongbow and Nivea, organizing the logistics of both UK and international shoots.

While building up experience in the fashion industry, Eloisa assisted stylists and art directors on shoots for brands including Elle US, Harpers Bazaar, M&S, Miss Vogue Australia, Next, Samsung, and Vogue Australia, to name just a few.