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]


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