Vintage. Are you thinking that it is all about old wine, old cars and the elderly then? I beg you, think again. Vintage clothing is glamour, vintage is beautiful and it is a state of mind. When you buy vintage, the stuff that you are buying has a history. It once belonged to someone else. It has been places you have never been; seen things you have never seen and done things that you have never done. When you buy vintage, whether it’s an old-school band t-shirt from the seventies, a beautiful fifties dress, or just a pair of retro sunglasses, you are investing in a piece of history and in a piece of art.
In order to invest in this manner, you must keep your eye out for vintage shops, and also fairs or markets. Be prepared for a good rummage. Try not to be too specific with regards to what you want because you might be disappointed if you don’t find it, and that’d just be horrible. If you keep an open mind though, you could purchase something really delightful. There’s also the “old vintage” style to consider as well – meaning reworked or handmade items. These pieces will still have a very strong and diverse history and still have quirks that make it obvious to you that they were not churned out in a factory along with thousands of identical items.
The Indie Craft and Vintage Market in York is the perfect place to bag a good find. Located at the Fiesta Mehicana restaurant next to the York Dungeons, the event includes local craft traders, vintage clothing stalls, a tea room, and a retro hairdresser! The founders of this feast, Katherine Lewis-Ward and Emma Kaye (under the name Radical Renegades), promise to bring you “everything from the world of vintage, kitsch, handmade and exquisitely designed”. With the emphasis placed firmly on local stalls at their shows, the team hand-pick the best traders from in and around York, and do their best to ensure that each piece has a great story to tell. Both sellers themselves, Katie and Emma have never “tried to compete with Judy’s [Affordable Vintage Fair]” (another credible outlet within the city) with their efforts and instead have created something more intimate and personal to York and its surroundings.
On my travels around the fair, I meet with Adam. He’s a talented young hairdresser from Leeds’ Edge². As part of this event, he offers a range of vintage hairstyles for absolutely free. The only thing that you would need to pay for in fact, is the three pound fee for a headscarf if you wish for one to set off your fabulous new look. After visiting, I end up feeling glamorous and in the mood to shop for a vintage outfit to match! As well as having the hairdresser upstairs, there are several craft stalls. Katie’s very own jewellery business Mother Said is one of the real gems. From typewriter rings to vintage watch fob pendants via “message in a bottle” necklaces, the stock is so beautifully put together with a personal handmade touch.
Another jewellery stall, on which they are making bracelets and earrings as they sit and I arrive on the scene, is Kigali Crafts Limited. This stall features pieces of jewellery made by people in Rwanda, making them an ethical fair-trade business. The jewellery is colourful and the craftsmanship strikes me as second to none – the style will suit anyone who loves something with a story behind it. By contrast, they also offer skull earrings and bracelets to appeal to those with a taste for all things gothic and alternative alongside wooden cupcake and ladybird pieces for the playful and young. Also worth a mention is Yorkshire Pud Crafts with their mix of heart stickers, cards and make-your-own-owl kits for sale.
Meanwhile, downstairs in what used to be a morgue (don’t worry – it sounds creepy, but it’s not), lurks all the vintage, renewed and handmade fashion! Highlights from the morgue part include the stalls of Mad Elizabeth, Pickle Pea and Nancy’s Vintage Boutique. Mad Elizabeth in particular show great diversity; whilst having hidden gems of clothing, they also showcase a table of fifties sunglasses and a range of scarves, both on promotion, as well as vintage necklaces. Pickle Pea‘s stall, manned by co-organiser Emma, includes vintage home-ware such as cushions and books that means not only can you look vintage but so can your home. Nancy’s Vintage Boutique, based at The Red House Antiques Centre in York catches my eye because of its simplicity. There aren’t so many clothes that you’re unable to see the woods for the trees. There’s a definite and unique charm here.
All-in-all, there is a great selection that means that you will come away with something you love, and even if you are empty-handed at the end of it all, then there will surely be ideas buzzing in your brain about what you could do with your own clothes to make them that little bit different.
The Indie Craft and Vintage Fair has a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, a beautiful selection of clothes, jewellery and craft items, and the ever-essential great soundtrack that creates a great experience. The next fair is on May 28 in the Fiesta Mehicana again, and it comes highly recommended!