Sunday, 15 May 2011

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fashion Fair 2011 - get your glad rags on

[All images my own - please ask before reproducing].

The stalls were set up, the cupcakes were on display and the retro fashion was wall to wall; this could only be a vintage fashion fair (or a great trip in a time machine). Judy's Affordable Vintage Fashion Fair, which I will abbreviate to Judy's, is one of the most eagerly anticipated events for lovers of all things pre-modern. The fair travels and down the country, hitting major cities and delighting students and former hippies alike. The atmosphere was brilliant in Brighton today, with a dedicated throng of Early Bird entrants - including myself - clamouring to pass through the gates of the racecourse at 11am.

So what can you expect to find at such an event? Obviously clothing is a major draw, forming the bulk of the goods on show, and there was a heavy emphasis on the 1940s and 50s today in particular. You can expect to pick up a great tea dress from either era for about £30, and then take your pick of the beautiful costume jewellery nestled in between the clothing rails. Accessories abounded too, from battered but sturdy suitcases to dainty evening handbags or clutches. Menswear was catered for in many guises, from the denim of James Dean wannabes to the Fred Perry and Ben Sherman for the streetwise man, or the tweed jackets or bow ties of the aspiring dandy. My dad was pleased to find a great stash of cufflinks and ties, which he was drawn to with a magpie-like instinct.

The stallholders, too, are immersed in the vintage world and often have some of the best looks - see two examples above, including Eleanor, a milliner who makes excellent fascinators and headpieces. And another aspect of Judy's to mention was its sideline in furniture stalls, which arose from a collaboration with the Vintage Furniture Flea. Here you could find the perfect cushion, Ercol chair (which my dad remembered from the first time around...) or a piece of glassware. This was the perfect accompaniment to the clothing and accessories areas, although noticeably smaller in the number of stands. I hope that the furniture element will be retained in further Judy's events, because it definitely sat well aesthetically and it created a more holistic approach to vintage life.

So what did I come away with? Well, a 1950s hair slide, retro peony pink earrings, some miniature skeleton charms which will form part of a necklace I'm making, a black vanity case (a.k.a. my new handbag), and countless business cards that will probably result in many online purchases once I hit payday. Not to mention the two dresses, suitcases and a fascinator that I very nearly bought. It was a great day out and it has given me plenty of new ideas for outfit building and continuing to embrace vintage in my wardrobe. If Judy's is heading to a city near you, don't miss out.

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