There’s that moment when you walk into a charity shop or vintage market and you smell that scent; that one of nostalgia, and then in floods knowledge that these items were once owned and used many years ago. It’s that smell of history that be a big turn on for people who frequent any place that sells antique goods. Growing up, I was the person. Every weekend, my mother and I would go to thrift shops and yard sales, hoping to find something interesting and exquisite. These are the places I found many clothing items, boarding games and old cameras I would end up using a lot through my youth.
Today, my love for everything old, took me to Bethnal Green’s Affordable Vintage Fair in London, put on by Judy’s Vintage Fair. Tucked away in a community hall in East London, was a large gathering of vintage and antiques dealers, ready to sell their handpicked items with shoppers like me. I awoke this morning, ready to get up and put on some adorable clothes, and head out to this event I had heard about through Londonist. My outfit was inspired by the Pacific Northwest, concert-going, bohemian look that I love to see others wear.
Hat – Forever 21
Necklace – Forever 21
Little Black Dress – Ross Dress for Less
Kimono – Ross Dress for Less
Knee High Socks – Target
Boots – UrbanOG
Walking into the building, I was immediately welcomed by large signs to tell me I was in the right place. The York City Hall was the perfect venue to place this. It has its own sense of history, and the gymnasium was one of those old style ones that Americans don’t get to see too often. The layout of the room was easy to navigate, and although I walked around in a circle at least 5 times, I was never bored on each rotation, due to something new being seen each time.
Not only were there tons of pre-worn clothes to choose from, there was old furniture, books, jewelry, household items and more. It was hard to control myself and not want to decorate my whole room with these items, so I tried to control myself by merely browsing and promising myself that someday, when I have a permanent place, I’ll arrange my flat with a vintage theme, purchased from places like this.
Another fun aspect of this event was seeing all the quirky types of people who showed up. Vintage shopping is clearly a niche thing, and I was happy to see so many young hipsters like myself, so excited to reuse these old items in their daily life. Many people might think that the vintage fashion trend is just a way to be seen as “cool” or “unique,” but it’s also a form of recycling that is fun. It’s a wonderful thought to imagine who else wore the shirt you just bought, or why this fancy ring you purchase was given away. These items all have history.
There were the most adorable cakes and pastries available for purchase, as well as tea being served in gorgeous cups. I had just eaten, otherwise I would’ve sampled at least something. But all the shiny items and beautiful items in the room entranced me enough, and I was happy enough to walk around and see what I could potentially end up buying!
In the end, no clothes caught my fancy, but I did end up finding a box full of old French postcards, so I bought 3 for £10. The ones I got were all of couples from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, who looked like they were clearly in love. I hope to find someone to translate the beautiful love notes on the back for me. I also bought two vintage rings for £5, which I’ll add to my jewelry collection. Overall, I’m happy that I got out of there only spending £15, and being very happy with my purchases.
If you’re interested in attending one of these fairs, the Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair Facebook page can tell you where the next ones are (they span all of the UK) and go find some items for yourself. You’ll definitely see me at the next one in London. It often costs only £2 to enter, but it’s worth a lot more! If you’re not in the UK, I suggest finding your own local vintage fairs and markets to attend, because they are a great way to spend a day in the midst of all that’s old and nostalgic.