On Sunday we went along to the Vintage at Southbank festival. Mr V and I didn't fancy paying £60 a pop for half a day entrance into the main event but there were plenty of free things to see at the vintage high street and market set up in the Jubilee Gardens just next to the London Eye. I thought it would be an excellent excuse to don a vintage brocade fifties dress I haven't worn in years and to do some vintage clothes shopping (which I haven't done in years either!)
There was lots of vintagey type clothing on offer...
There was also lots of food and drink available and plenty of people walking around in head to toe vintage outfits.
Although there was plenty of wares on sale I have to say I was underwhelmed by the festival. A lot of second hand gear trying to be passed off as vintage, lots of "reworked" vintage and several brand new creations in "vintage style". What vintage was on sale was unbelievably expensive, especially after following and reading blogs of vintage queens who pick things up for peanuts (Vintage Vix you'd have died of shock!)
Some of the dealings I had with stall holders also left a very unpleasant taste in my mouth. One woman who I asked if I could take a picture of her stall was extremely rude to me when I told her it would be for a blog and shooed me off snapping "I've had enough of you (bloggers)". Well yaboo sucks to you too honey. No wonder nobody wanted to buy your fake hair flowers at £40 a pop with that kind of attitude.
So I stopped bothering to ask permission! Here's another photo of an extremely expensive, albeit beautifully presented stall where there were no price tags on anything - always a bad sign. The navy blue dress is an Ossie Clark design in a Celia Birtwell print. Asking price £700. Yep. Vintage collectors are obviously a recession proof lot.
The piece I loved was the gorgeous cream silk jacket hanging below it which was apparently bought by the seller in a market in France. I'm not sure when it would date from, 18th to 19th century perhaps? It would have set me back over £300 to buy it. Boo! Elsewhere it was the same story, pieces from the seventies and eighties were easily reaching asking prices of over £100 a piece. Even the second hand stuff that couldn't really be classed as proper vintage was pricey and there was a fair bit of trying to pass off stuff as an era it wasn't. I particularly objected to being told that a Laura Ashley dress that had a "Made in China" label in it, priced at £75 and that couldn't have been more than five years old, was from the nineteen twenties!
I lived in second hand clothes as a girl and teenager, much of it true vintage clothing that cost next to nothing. Those who love vintage do so because it is a way of looking unique in an age of mass production. Some love the era from which a particular look harks and others do it for recycling and waste reasons. However at those prices it is increasingly less to do about being economic with your clothing budget. For those prices I could get new garments that don't require dry cleaning, mending or tailoring to fit me. It used to be fun shopping for vintage clothing in markets in London. Now it feels more like hard work.
The final straw was when I finally found a nice stall owner who sent me off to an external communal change room as she didn't have a changing facility in her stall. I set off after her assistant leading the way and promptly lost her in the crowd. I stopped at another stall where I asked the two stall holders for directions to the communal change rooms and they insisted that no such thing existed and promptly proceeded to accuse me of stealing the two dresses I was carrying with me to try on!
Shopping experience thoroughly spoiled by then I was amazed to find that I loved one of the dresses. Although it was not cheap it wasn't going to break the bank and ticked all the boxes of why I love vintage. I'll feature it in another post soon.
I'm not one of those people who can pull off a head to toe vintage look. I generally throw some modern pieces into the mix, in this case my sandals and bag.
I chose a vintage look butterfly brooch with green stones set in gold to match the gold flowers on the pale green background. The glass flower clip on earrings are vintage earrings I inherited from my grandmother.
Wearing this dress in these photos, I bear an uncanny resemblance to images of her in photos of a visit she made to London at a similar age to what I am now.
Although I'm glad I didn't come away empty handed from the day out and have a nice dress I'm looking forward to wearing, I doubt I'd repeat the experience. Think I'd much rather try my luck at a car boot sale for my next vintage shopping trip!
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