Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The Vintage Furniture Flea: London gets the Itch

Greetings loved ones,

For some, Sunday March 27th was a day like every other. For those in and around London's York Hall, it was not.

It was around 7am. Commuting from the four corners, vintage pilgrims in vans and transits descended on early-morning Bethnal Green with bags under their arms and bags under their eyes. Unloading in the early morning light, husbands and wives, good friends and work mates to-me-to-you'd big,burly boxes and objects indoors, casting shadows all over Old Ford Road. Setting up shop and swapping hellos with fellow traders and neighbours, these early-morning soldiers were here for one thing; The Vintage Furniture Flea.

An event not even a year old, The Vintage Furniture Flea is the younger sibling of Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair, the nation's largest vintage marketplace. Coming from that lineage, one automatically expects great things -affordability, eccentricity, an event not so niche as to exclude but not so open as to be flavourless. With its November debut being heralded by the likes of Time Out and BBC Homes and Antiques, the Flea's sophomore event had a lot to live up to; gone was the element of novelty and in its place, an audience waiting with bated breath. Opening it's doors to the 'earlybird' public at 11am, it was crunch time.

To wander around the Vintage Furniture Flea is to lose yourself; gone are the right angles and clean lines that are the staple of modern retail. Instead of standing stacked in plastic and cardboard at the end of a concourse, mid-century furnshings refuse, rebel; whole sets of china, lighting, magazines and furniture are placed together as if to say 'here I am, just as I ever was.' Wandering around the Furniture Flea, one instantaneously gets the vibe that these lounges and living rooms were so much more 'living' then their modern-day counterparts. Marketed as an 'antidote to flatpack,' founder Judy Berger's passion for furnishings from the fifties and onwards is reflected in the G-Plan tables, the European glassware, the lens of a Diana camera in the hands of a curious stranger. With pricing openly the most affordable in the game, how did we ever get so stifled in the way we decorate?

To observe the 2,000 strong crowd throughout the day was to see a plethora of emotions; young couples and students came, searching for the kitsch and the affordable, the perfect object to spark up conversation with an envious housemate or neighbour. As with any event catering for a particular taste, the collectors flocked, tipping-up cups in the search for a certain signature or mark to make their hearts jump. Perhaps the most interesting group to any vintage voyeur is that of the family; generations bonded over an afternoon out, mums and dads move through the living rooms of their childhood, every cut of glass, every colour of a curtain a memory. Whilst their kids run around York Hall like an alien territory, grandparents pull out chairs and plunge down, uttering 'they don't make them like they used to.'

Way beyond the thrill of simple bargain hunting, there is a sense of reverance that permeates The Vintage Furniture Flea. Away from the forced awe and floor plans of Ikea and similarly, the sense of forced appreciation in many popular tourist attractions [I'm not saying Ikea is like the Colusseum but hey, both do share a sense of forced head-turning, a 'look at this now'] there are no lino arrows or 'You're Here' signs in the Vintage Furniture Flea; just like Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair, every event is what you make of it, every stall is a call to memory, to personality and that's the beauty of it.

Editor of W Magazine Stefano Tonchi wrote that during a dinner with Marc Jacobs, he asked the designer who is both accused of "setting more trends than almost everyone whilst incessantly referencing" what qualifies as new? Jacobs quite simply replied that "anything can be new, anything can be given a fresh, new context." In the Spring light of York Hall, these objects are made new again. If we agree with Tonchi that "obsession with the new is like a drug," give me rehab [Flea-hab] any day.


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Joan on the Road

Greetings vintage fans and welcome to our new weekly section, Joan on the Road. Everyone's favourite plastic paparazzo, Joan's been out and about finding out what makes Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair tick. First up, Cambridge and Southampton - she's absolutely MAD for it...

'Joan was always on the cover of the fifties magazines...'

'The cat that got the cream at The Old Tea Party'

'Another bargain clocked as the fair progresses'

'Joan held the keys to many mens hearts...'

'Three cupcakes in, Joan thought 'to hell with my figure!'

Tune in next week for more folks.

Life in plastic, it's fantastic!


Monday, 21 March 2011

A Birds-Eye View with Vintage Vulture

Greetings loved ones,

How do? We hope that you've been donning your once-dusty favourite playsuits, shorts and summer dresses and exposing those pins to a bit of pre-spring sun [we're still looking a little translucent but another few weeks and we'll be on our way from pasty to perfect - hooray!]

It's full steam ahead at Judy HQ this week, with everyone on the team looking ahead to a double whammy weekend of Oxford and, of course, The Vintage Furniture Flea. Those heading over to the Flea on Sunday [which is all of you, RIGHT?] will not be disappointed; we don't know where our traders have found their stock [honestly, it's like they've hijacked a Tardis or something!] but you're in for a treat. Looky here...

Glorious n'est pas? If you needed one more reason to cement a Sunday peruse of York Hall firmly in mind, a spot of afternoon razzle dazzle should do it; Soho chaunteuses 'The Belinis' [alongside their talented band] will be providing the afternoon's entertainment via a series toe-tapping numbers from 2:30pm. The notion of afternoon jazz may conjur up images of Howard Moon, elbow patches and way too much sax but these folks are nothing but cool; performing modern-day hits with a glamorous twist, check them here...

Britney Spears to a double base? HELLO!

If that wasn't enough to get you in the Judy mood, we've got our glorious return to Oxford [huzzah!] With every fair we do in the Shire soaring up and up, we really don't know what to expect! In that vain, perhaps our decision to book a TOWN CRIER [yes, you head correct] may have been a mistake [NB: hiring a town crier is NEVER a mistake] Patrolling the streets of Oxford on Friday and Saturday, look out for our man heralding the arrival of Judy's in perfect style. No facebook invites, no BBIMs, just one man, one bell and a whole lot of warbling!

'Hear ye, Hear ye, Judy's vintage fair cometh!'

See ye there vintage fans,


Friday, 18 March 2011

Britton's Got Talent: Cambridge and Southampton

Dresses, dresses, dresses, were the only things on our minds in Cambridge and Southampton last weekend. Judy and I couldn't get enough and there were so many on offer for us to sift through. The Judy's crew make no secret of the fact we all have a penchant for dresses(not sure about Keiran?!) and we were not left disappointed.     

At Cambridge I picked out two extra special dresses for the summertime! The first was this delicate flocked number. £85 from Mothball Vintage.
I was doing my best Florence Welch impression in this beaut... LOOK AT THE BACK... £55 and worth every penny. 
Southampton was abundant with bargains. This dress had it all, peter pan collar, check, polka dots, check and a velvet bow, perfect, non? And only £20, fantastic!
Another lovely Laura Ashley dress from Little Red Retro a complete steal at £10.  

Lastly not a dress but cute nonetheless, a floral cord romper perfect for the up coming festival season with little tie details on the pockets. Also from Little Red Retro £20.
Here at Judy's HQ we all have our fingers crossed for a beautiful, sunny, spring like day for our York Fair on Sunday. I'll be on the hunt for some home wares and a little menswear to keep all you gents happy! Come and join us for a veritable feast of vintage and afternoon tea courtesy of The Marvelous Tea Dance Company. What a way to spend a Sunday!

Over and out.


Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Birds-Eye View with Vintage Vulture

Greetings loved ones,

It's that time of the week again to give you our retro overview of all things old-world.

First up, a wee word about last weekend's fairs - Cambridge and Southampton. Our first Cambridge fair of 2011, we were super-psyched to head to the Guild Hall for a bit of a jolly. Alas, there really is no rest for the wicked as a whopping 2000 of you wandered in throughout the day [i say wandered, read: crowd-surfed] for a gander [if you were there, do comment below - we love looking at other people's goodies!] Add to this our debut fair in Southampton on Sunday, [once again, incessant] and there we have the formula to a winning weekend! Everyone's favourite plastic paparazzo will be going into it tomorrow but lordy folks, weren't you stylish! Here's my favourite outfit from the Guild Hall...

Statement tights, florals and everyone's fave mute mongrel on a tee- winner!

Here at Judy HQ, there's an air of excitement; not only are we returning to the Yorkshire triangle [my second favourite triangle after dairylea] of York, Sheffield and Leeds within the next few weeks, but we've announced a new one for the datebooks, Leamington Spa! Coming to the stunning Assembly on Saturday June 4th, our Leamington event may seem far away but trust us - it isn't. You'll be too hot, tanned and dying to get shopping before you know it. In other news, here's another thing we're all anticipating....

Yes! It's here! Tickets for Mr Hemingway's 'Vintage London' festival are on sale today! All the goodness of 'Vintage at Goodwood' in an urban environment - we can't wait! Curating the marketplace once more, we at Judy's are responsible for the traders spanning the length of the Thames ['crums!' you must be thinking, 'that's a lot of work!'] Yes dear reader, we love a challenge and with a good 750,000 folk set to descend on the marketplace, we're more than excited. That said, the real challenge lies in what on God's green earth are we to wear?! Toying at the moment with gentry-worthy tweeds, 90's prints and a certain rolling desire to channel Prince [those hours spent googling high-waisted jeans will never be returned!] the jury is out on my Southbank look. If you see anyone on the Thames resembling 'Fresh Prince Charles,' it's likely to be me.

In prep for London and the great British springtime in general, Judy took some time out from our Southampton and Cambridge events to do what she does best...shop! Here's a little snapshot of the boss' best bits [er...wait, rephrase that...]

Lace bow dress, £20, The Bivol Trust - Southampton's Affordable Vintage Fair

Wicker bag, £15, Style and the City - Southampton's Affordable Vintage Fair

Finally, an item snapped up for a fiver for any globetrotter worth their salt...

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair - keeping you looking a million bucks.

That's all for today folks - stay posted for Joan on the Road and Britton's got talent!


Friday, 11 March 2011

Britton's Got Talent: Edinburgh and St Andrew's

Hello and welcome to my nouveau weekly feature here on the Judy's blog. I'm fair manager Britton and my mission, should I choose to accept it (which of course I do!) is to scour this Great British vintage-loving Nation for the best vintage finds available at Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair. The scavenger hunt kicked off last weekend at our Edinburgh and St Andrew's fairs. Here's the talent that was on offer...
First off this perfectly prim original 50's black velvet dress with peter pan collar courtesy of Glamour Bunny a snip at £35, both Joan and I were totally smitten.
My brogues are set to get a little ribbon treatment after I spotted these beauts at Edinburgh and the shoes didn't stop there, look at this pair of canvas flats complete with embroidered flowers... too cute! Both pairs were just £25.
Next I spied the perfect addition to every outfit, delicate little lace peter pan collar necklaces from Little Winter.
At St Andrew's I fell in love with this Laura Ashley blazer. Re-worked by the lovely ladies at Vi Nouveau, their additions of bows  and braid trims made it irresistible!  

The search continues this weekend. I'll be on the look out for more treats at our Cambridge and Southampton fairs.

Over and out.

BGT x  

Thursday, 10 March 2011

'Through the looking glass[onion]' - A Vintage Field Trip!

Greetings loved ones,

This week, we packed our bags and anoraks for our first-ever Affordable Vintage Fair field trip! Single file, we piled onto the Judy mobile to take a trip to deepest, darkest Barnsley to take a peek around one of the UK's biggest Vintage Wholesaler, Glass Onion.

For those of you who have attended one of our Vintage Kilo Sales in Leeds and London, Glass Onion are the folks behind the 2.5 tonnes of lovely vintage clothing that wings itself up and down the country to every event. With more and more small-fry Kilo copycats springing up every week, we decided to take a trip to the source of all things vintage to see what makes our supplier the top...

Entering the humongous Barnsley warehouse, both Bookings Manager Sam and myself felt a little guilty. Off the beaten track, it was rare that individual vintage fans such as ourselves were allowed in to peruse. Contracted to businesses at both ends of the scale, Glass Onion is no place for the solo vintage fan, bowing before this retro Mecca. Don't believe me? Take a look at the image below, a little snapshot we took on the way in later labelled 'delivery day...'

Evidently, your average vintage fan doesn't have a spare fork-lift truck to hand to cart their goods [possible investment?] At least, dear reader, you can see the sheer scale of what it is we're talking about - bags and bags of mixed vintage bits ample enough to make an old-school, textile Taj Mahal [with an addequate amount of forklift trucks of course]

Moving on and trembling at the knees a little bit, we had a lovely chat with all the folk working in the warehouse. Guiding our tour, Claire [pictured below] took us around the rooms, literally filled to the brim with stock. Taking us into the smaller businesses section, we saw where traders came to handpick their stock. Ranging from corduroy to scuba ware, picasso shirts to parkas, literally all tastes were catered for. Here's what we got up to...

Having a good root around, we soon started to pile together a vintage hitlist of all the bits that we had to have. Indulging my penchant for the 80s, i opted for incredible purple print, elastic-cuffed jogging bottoms [perfect for festivals] and ever a child of the 90s, Sam went for a festive 'smiley face' vest...

Unfortunately, our wonderful bits had been bagged-up and paid for by other traders and so, honouring the wholesale code, we popped them back.

Taking things all the way to the top, we had a lovely chat with head-honcho John on the ethos behind his wholesale enterprise. Passing everything from boxes of old-school umbrellas to bowties, it was evident that his tastes were eclectic. Unlike many wholesalers, Glass Onions forte comes in the fact that they're hoarders. 'Everything was made for a purpose,' John says, noting that even the most obscure of garments was made for a reason: to be fashionable. No matter how niche some of the items at Glass Onion may seem [a danger when you stock literally EVERYTHING under the sun] all garments will have their time as the trend wheel ticks on...

Bleary-eyed and dreaming of tracksuits, I began to ponder on the way home on what a good deal the Vintage Kilo Sale provides. Doing away with wholesale law, people like John and Judy are mavericks in letting Jonny [and Jane] vintage fan come fill a bag and pay the same cut price as a big-wig business. I know i'll definitely be at the front of the queue on May 14th [April 16th for London] bag in hand, waiting to play trader.

That's all folks - love from the backseat[wait...that sounds wrong]


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

A Birds-Eye View with Vintage Vulture

Greetings loved ones! As you can see, we here at the Style Blog have undergone a bit of a metamorphosis! Gone are the standard fonts and titles that now seem so inferior and out of our spring cocoon, comes shiny new headers plastering your page! On three dear readers, 1, 2, 3..."oohhhh, ahhhh!" Broken down into weekly segments, the Style blog brings to you our new regular features - Fair Manager Sarah Britton hunting through each weekly event to showcase her favourite finds in the aptly named 'Britton's got Talent'[Mega-LOL!], cool-hunting with our favourite plastic-paparazzo Joan in 'Joan on the Road,' wisdom, pearls and personal tales in 'Traders Top Tips' alongside regular guest reviews in 'All the Fun of the Fair.' Sheesh - a lot to take in huh? Without further ado, i come to my own section, a veritable look-down from the crows nest of the Good Ship Vintage on what's to come this week and what's got us spitting feathers. In true Paddy fashion, let the bird see the worm!

Up first, a wee word about Scotland last weekend. Edinburgh - hello! - over 1000 of you pouring through the door on Saturday! We've had words from you and our traders who were literally gushing like a vintage Vesuvius [eurgh - graphic!] over what a good show it was! Thanks a bunch! Add to this our debut up at St Andrews, we're talking over 2000 Scottish vintage fans in a weekender. Loco! For a blow by blow account, check out the wonderful account by Tribe journalist and fash/tourism writer Rosie Steer - http://everythinglooksrosie.wordpress.com/. Here's a little somethin' somethin' she picked up at the fair...

PRETTY tempting for all of you coming to Cambridge and nouveau fair, Southampton this weekend huh? With 1500 confirmed to come to Cambridge, we're a bit worried that we might have to crack out the hi-vis vests [S/S 11s must-have accessory!] Still, with items such as this lovely floral number up for grabs by Memoir Vintage [and only £20!] we'll see you in the queue....

Moving away from filling up wardrobes to, er, the objects themselves, images are coming in thick and fast for London's Vintage Furniture Flea on Sunday March 27th. Not really one for furnishings myself [often if i can't wear it, i don't want it] i was surprised to find myself salivating over these ridiculous vintage alarm clocks at a mere £15 per ticker [courtesy of Jane and Nick Reed]. We here at Judy HQ are still pondering the map thinking of where to take the flea next - if you're gagging for G-plan and think your city needs a Flea, give us a shout below.

Finally, something a little off the vintage topic but still within the vintage-inspired fashion field [VIFF for short - if we were a ven diagram, we'd definitely be overlapping] Like him or lump him, former Dior man John Galliano has ruffled more Parisian feathers than the dancers of the Moulin Rouge in an evening's work. Whatever your opinion of 'Galliano gate' [i'm keeping schtum on this one] one cannot help but admire his unwillingly final collection for Dior A/W. Here are two of my faves...

Perhaps it was the grimaces and the striking make-up of the models [maybe it's just the fur] but there was certainly an air if infamy to his collection. His women putting me in mind of Bond villains, of femmes fatales, of the spectral Nicole Kidman as Mrs Coulter, the manipulative matriarch who haunts the dreams of any child reading Pullman's Northern Lights series, a sense of villainy in his collection seemed to exist before it all kicked off. Whatever you make of the debaucle, the collection does what every good antagonist does - get's you talking. Perhaps we'll see a lot more fair-goers channelling their inner-villains come Autumn!

That's all for this week folks - keep your eyes peeled for our new features and a little blogpost about our first vintage field trip to the uk's biggest wholesaler, Glass Onion [more on that tomorrow!]

Love from above,