Clothes in Clerkenwell,
Handbags in Hammersmith,
Treasures in Chelsea,
Vintage Vanity !!
Ladies, as you know I love Vintage…. Vintage dresses, bags, shoes, hats, gloves, lace, buckles, haberdashery and above all – jewellery.
For some reason, I like things that have had a long fascinating history and that have been worn and loved before. They may have seen aspects of life that I will never know about, eras that are now only portrayed in films or read about in books, or they may have been shut in a cupboard long forgotten, overjoyed to now be let loose on a new generation of admirers. These days many new items, be it furniture, clothes or accessories seem to have a somewhat mass produced feel to them – churned out in a hurried fashion, unless of course you are willing to pay a fortune! So the ‘old’ with its more detailed finishings, and careful construction I find very appealing.
And so it is that on the odd Sunday afternoon, when the urge hits for a good old rummage (more difficult in the winter time, as I have to tear myself away from dozing in front of the open fire,) you will find me browsing around in a Vintage Fair in some part of London, often deep in thought as the inspirational ideas come thick and fast, but always enjoying that elusive hunt for a fabulous brooch, or necklace, piece of lace or roll of ribbon that can be used on some amazing design. (Latest great find was an ancient bottle of assorted black covered buttons of all shapes, sizes and fabrics that had been cut off men’s coats – you’ll be surprised where they may turn up – sewn onto some new design!)
Who goes to vintage fairs you are wondering? Let me tell you!!
Lots of young trendy girls go, who, wanting to look different and quirky will pick up the most amazing dresses and accessories and put them together in a way that only the young can do and get away with. I am convinced that vintage fairs are every teenage girl’s dream – so much originality to be had and so many of them searching through the clothes and jewellery.
Celebrities and A list stars are a plenty – also wanting to find some amazing, distinctly different dress for the next event they are attending. I would love to divulge who I have seen rummaging, along with their stylist, for their next red carpet dress but a secret it shall remain!
Designers looking for new ideas from ironically old ideas, along with inspiration and perhaps vintage haberdashery like myself. The most amazing observation I made some time ago was a world-renowned menswear designer buying dainty rolls of lace! I have always wondered what he was going to do with it?
Then there are lots and lots of women enjoying the hunt for something fun, something different and original to add to their wardrobes. Many men and women get dressed up from head to toe in their favourite ‘look’ be it the 1920’s, 30’s, 40’s. It is always fun to people watch at vintage fairs!
There are perhaps 7 – 8 venues around London that hold such fairs, but here are my three favourites.
Held in the loveliest venue of all and my favourite – The Old Finsbury Town Hall. The stalls are varied and full of great stuff, make-up artists and hairstylists are on hand to create retro hair do’s. Smoochy old jazz sets a fabulous atmosphere and afternoon tea can be taken with lovely old-fashioned cakes and sweets all served on beautiful fine china. A real treat to attend, and one I try not to miss. Next event is on the 19th of February.
Easy to get to with Farringdon and Angel stations being the closest and about a 10minute walk.
Held in the Chelsea Town Hall, which is also quite magnificent, the ‘Frock Me Fair’ is also a treat to attend, for the stalls are fabulous with a wonderful selection of both men’s and women’s wear as well as plenty of accessories to tempt you! Next event on the 12th of February.
Once again easy to get to – Sloane Square being the closest station and a 5-minute walk.
The largest of all the fairs, with stallholders coming from far and near to attend; the selection of clothes and accessories is enormous. Not such an atmospheric setting, but good fun none-the–less. Always held on the second Sunday of the month.
Closest tube Hammersmith – 5 min walk.
So should you fancy looking for that amazing pair of vintage shoes, or glorious old handbag, why not try a vintage fair – and who knows, you may catch me buying some massive roll of soft salmon pink underwear elastic that I have decided will come in handy for secretly putting inside some of my dresses! (A treasure I did in fact find some months ago and has proved most suitable in a number of our soft silk creations as it is ultra soft and feels lovely on the skin!)
If we meet, whilst both reaching for that sparkly pair of 1920's shoes at the next fair, please say hi!
And you're more than welcome to have them!
Oh and just another little tip to keep in mind. Never pay the asking price for an item at a vintage fair. The stand owners are used to people haggling and asking for lower prices and will generally give 10% off at a minimum. If you happen to love an item that they have had for some time and not been able to sell, they may give it to you for a fraction of the price, or at the end of the day they tend to drop their prices right down to get rid of stuff.
I will always ask if they will take a certain amount for an item, usually a lot lower than I think it is worth and willing to pay, so that the seller can come back with a higher price that you may be happy with, or you can say no to, then drop back down to something inbetween. The big rule is to never look too eager for item, they wont drop the price much at all. It is all a bit of a game.. but necessary to get a good price!
If you have no idea what the true cost for an item should be, ask the seller seriously what their best price is. You may be utterly surprised!