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Vintage Fashion Fairs

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by catwalkcreative, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. Have you been to a vintage fashion fair recently? Or, are you planning to sell your vintage wares at a fair any time soon? I'd really love to hear about it. Perhaps you attend them on a regular basis. It doesn't matter where you live. Vintage enthusiasts are everywhere!

    Tell us about your best buy and post a photo - we like eye-candy!

    In addition, if you're planning on selling at a vintage fair any time soon, tell us about it. What kind of vintage will you be selling? Please take a photo of your stall and share it with us.

    I bought lots of goodies from my own local fair including this soft velvet jacket from the 1930's.


    The Vintage Fashion Fair is held annually at the Armitage Centre in Fallowfield, Manchester. There's over 100 stalls with everything from vintage buttons and beads to Victorian capes, flapper dresses, vintage fabrics and old magazines. That was back in February - my first visit. I was like a kid in a candy shop! I spent all day buying, talking and drooling over the merchandise.

    What I love about these fairs is that quite a lot of the sellers don't sell online and so it's the only chance you get of buying their vintage wares! In addition, it's great to meet and talk with others who share the same passion. I wasn't selling, I was there purely to buy, buy, buy! The stalls at this particular venue cost around £90 but it's such a popular event with hundreds of visitors. I'm really looking forward to the next fair. Let's hear about yours!

    Another purchase. Vintage brown cord opera bag with unusual side-clasp fasteners.

    TAMARA LYNN MYERS likes this.
  2. crinolinegirl

    crinolinegirl Alumni

    I've always wanted to go to the Manchester fair but unfortunately, I don't drive and it's a long way to put all the driving on Gary. :(

    I used to sell at fairs but stopped as I was finding that people were caring less and less about taking care of the clothes (while trying on and looking through the rails) and I was coming back with more damaged stuff than money from selling!

    It's too bad as I don't have a B&M shop and only sell online so it was my chance for people to see my stock up close and personal without a computer screen in front of you!

    Leeds was a good fair, I enjoyed that one and my friend Edwin's Bristol Fair (Blind Lemon Vintage) was good too. Those two were my favorites to sell and buy at.

    My favorite venue to sell at was the costume museum in Bath (built in the Regency era) at the Ashley Hall Fairs. It was a GORGEOUS setting and I brought all my vintage lingerie and made it look like a underwear shop/bodiour.
    This was my Bath stall:

    These days I'm a customer rather than a seller at the fairs and I found my antique top hat that I use for side saddle riding at the Leeds fair. I have a big head so always lost out on Ebay trying to bid for one against the men but I was lucky enough to find one and bge able to try it on at the fair.

    I do miss doing the fairs but aside from the damaged stock, it was ALOT of hard work and driving for Gary and boring weekends for Jake that I didn't think it was fair for either of them to do, so C&C is online only now.

  3. Thank you Lei. You look amazing in your hat! :clapping: Your stall in Bath is awesome! It's so lovely to see vintage displayed in such a thoughtful way. Funnily enough I've just joined the Facebook group of Blind Lemon Vintage and now see that you're a friend of the owner. Small world!

    I do think it takes a lot of organisation to run a stall - getting the transportation sorted out and then making sure clothes rails are sturdy enough. It must be a nightmare for stall holders with the fear of having stock damaged. I know I managed to get a discount on a 1930's dress because an earlier customer had 'yanked' it off the hanger and ripped the shoulder seam. It's such a shame that (some) people don't respect the clothing, that's for sure. I managed to repair the damaged seam and the dress was saved! Result!

    I've been asked to do a couple of fairs but declined, purely because logistically it wasn't worth it. However, I love going to vintage fairs to buy and always wish I'd taken more cash along! It's great to support vintage in this way and a great opportunity to talk to the professionals and pick up tips on caring for the clothes etc. Always handy to take along business cards too - you just never know who you're going to meet.
  4. Don't be shy :embaressed: I know there must be some of you vintage fashionistas that have visited a vintage fair or intend selling at one soon. Will you share your thoughts? Oh go on! :)
  5. Linn

    Linn Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'm not sure that the word "fair" applies but I am planning to attend the Vintage Fashion Expo in SF in mid-September. It's held on a weekend, both Sat. and Sunday. I usually attend both days and do it "slowly." I am a buyer - both for my RL Shop and for my personal collection.

    I usually go to SF for the Deco Show - held the first weekend in June and December. There are a lot of vintage clothing dealers at these shows. The shows are held indoors in a large space called "The Concourse" near the SF Design Center.

  6. That sounds amazing Linn! Oh I would be there in a shot! If you take your camera along I'd love to see some photos. As a buyer, do you find that sort of event very expensive or can you still pick up a bargain or two?
  7. Linn

    Linn Super Moderator Staff Member

    There is an modest entrance fee at both events. And of course for me there is airfare, hotel, cab fare, meals, etc. but since vintage is my "passion" it is something that I treat myself to and thoroughly enjoy and it's where I go for a long weekend away! (Much like someone in England going to Paris for the weekend - except for the airfare.)

    I have found some great "bargains" at these shows but you do have to look carefully. Like all indoor venues, the lighting is not ideal, so I have learned to examine pieces more carefully for damage. Many of the same vendors sell at the Fashion Expo and the Deco Show and since I have been going to the Deco shows for years, I have developed relationships with them.

  8. It's a good point you make about the lighting. I've found lighting to be very poor so careful inspection is always recommended. Can't wait to hear about your vintage buying weekend :)
  9. missproper

    missproper Alumni

    There are no vintage fairs here! :no::no::no:
    I wish there were!!

    Whats with people having no respect for vintage? I am SO careful when I try things on or when I'm just looking! I used to do a ton of fashion shows, but so much of my stuff would get damaged! The models were SO rough with the garments, it was painful.

    Oh, and Lei - Your booth looks gorgeous! :wub:
  10. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    There's no vintage fashion fairs around here either. But every December, there's a huge antiques fair/indoor flea market for four days (Thursday-Sunday) here in Zurich, and the place where it's being held is just a 5-10 minute walk from where I live. My best friend, who lives in Vienna, likes it so much, that she's come to visit me every December for the last few years, so we that we could go to this fair together. It has pretty much everything, and the sellers and wares range from small-time antique shop stuff to "serious" (meaning high-quality) antiques.
    My friend loves art and paintings, and she has bought some beautiful paintings there for herself, that, she says, she'd never find in Vienna at those prices.

    There are normally about 4-5 stalls that sell vintage fashion, but honestly, they're too expensive for me. I'd rather keep shopping for vintage fashion at the charity shops around here. Besides, there's usually no place there to try something on, and if I buy something expensive, I want to make sure that it fits.
    One huge stall is one that sells newer second-hand designer clothing that I wouldn't call vintage.
    But what's around a lot is vintage jewelery.
    There's a lady with a stall chock-full with American costume jewelery, mostly probably 1940s to 60s, that she collected herself over the years. She's not cheap either, but the prices are fair, and she has good stuff.

    Generally, you never know what you'll find at this fair, and some years have been better than others. Things of which everybodys knows they're collectible usually go too high anyway. From what I know, stall prices are quite high.

    Vintage Barbie Dolls are a total no-no at this fair for example - some dolls I see every year, and still with the same high price, that no collector who knows their stuff a bit would pay. The sellers are no doll collectors, and they won't even listen if one tries to explain why they simply can't sell that doll at the price they have.

    Dito for vintage powder compacts. When my mother started collecting them maybe 10 years ago, you could still make good finds. Nowadays, every dealer with a used, tarnished Stratton compact thinks he can ask a 100 Francs for it :o.

    But what I always do - I head for my favourite English tableware dealer, who really knows his stuff and his prices, and see if he has anything from the tableware that I inherited from my grandma, that I do not yet have. I collect it, but I also use it .

  11. Thanks for your input guys! :headbang: Zurich sounds pretty expensive but if you can still get really nice pieces of vintage in charity shops then that's where I'd be heading. Your antiques fair sound amazing I must say. Always nice to go along with a friend and make a day (or two) out of it.

    And those models sound like a nightmare! I hate the disrespect some people have towards vintage clothes. Trying to squeeze modern frames into tiny waisted vintage frocks just sends a shiver down my spine! Yikes! Not easy to find a metal zip to replace the damaged one let alone pay someone to do the repair. It doesn't help that so many of the rails can be jam-packed so tightly with clothes making them difficult to see properly.
  12. missproper

    missproper Alumni

    The worst was when the models were changing outfits they would tear off the dress and throw it on the dirty floor!! Meanwhile they're standing right beside a garment rack with empty hangers on it! I was livid. :restlessvillagers:
    I had even told them that after they take off the garment to just hand it to me, but I guess the floor was more appealing.
  13. Midge

    Midge Super Moderator Staff Member

    Louise - my friend and I scour all the charity shops whenever she's here - and I do it by myself every now and then :bouncy:. Zurich IS expensive, that's a fact. Last December we went to the fair on three days out of four. Thursday morning (not all dealers there yet), Saturday morning (most visitors) and Sunday afternoon before it closed (looking for last-minute finds). Every day has its advantages.

    missproper - sounds absolutely horrible! What a nightmare...

  14. Yes, staying until the end of the day has it's advantages as the stall holders may be keen to reduce prices in order to close the sale. I love it when that happens!

    missproper - I'm livid too! Ugh! The thought of it :duh2: Not a brain cell between them :duh: :duh:
  15. Sweetrockingal

    Sweetrockingal Registered Guest

    I usually attend the Vintage Fashion Expo in Santa Monica/Los Angeles its like the SF one usually same vendors. I have also attended the Vintage Clothes and Textiles Expo in Burbank but they have more period clothing and textiles than they have 50s clothing and well thats what I wear and collect so I don't really shop there. Also here in San Diego we have the Del Mar Antiques and Collectibles Fair they have great jewlery and purses! That's where I got one of my favorite Wilardy's! :wub:

    I also recomend really getting to know the vendors and talking to them about their items. If you come back another year or whenever they have it they'll remember you and you can get deals like that. Also lets them know you know about the items and wont be taken for a hire price than what the items are worth!
  16. That's a great point! Especially if you're new to vintage and want to learn more. Ask the vendor about the fabrics used and the dating of the clothes. Take a notebook along. But remember - there may be other customers to serve so don't keep the vendor talking for too long.

    Collect business cards and/or leaflets and compile a scrapbook of your findings. Even if you don't have 'cash to splash', take some time to look at clothing labels and the construction of the garments. Test yourself by guessing the dates from the shapes and fabrics. It's surprising how much you can learn if you have the enthusiasm and the willingness to learn. :)
  17. Teresas Treasures

    Teresas Treasures Registered Guest

    I've been to the Vintage Fashion Expo in San Francisco three times. The best thing I got was an amazing GoldWorm dress.



  18. :wow22: That's one amazing frock! Is that 60's? Polyester fabric? I can't make it out. The bold fabric reminds me of a jacket I've recently acquired. It's not labelled (darn it!) and it's 80's but check out the fancy bold pattern!


  19. This is brilliant! You've given me an idea for a thread to post here on Friday. How about one for the boldest/loudest prints? It would be rude not to! :lol:
  20. Teresas Treasures

    Teresas Treasures Registered Guest

    It is late 60's/early 70s and it is a Poly knit. Goldworm did a "baroque" set of dresses and this is one of them. It actually isn't as loud on as it is in the pics - the dark green kind of mellows it out. And that blouse/jacket looks really Escada Margaretha Ley. Is it silk by any chance?

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