Vintage fashion ain’t olden, it’s golden

Mary-Frances Doherty tries on a vintage outfit. Picture: Danny Lawson
Mary-Frances Doherty tries on a vintage outfit. Picture: Danny Lawson
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IT’s a style that can encompass everything from the glamour of the 1920s to the hippy chic of the 60s and 70s.

Vintage has become increasingly popular in recent years, with style-conscious fashionistas shunning the bland similarity of modern high street brands to search out unique items that can help them stand out from the crowd while evoking some of the most recognisable fashions of the last century.

And now the Capital is to host a one-day extravaganza celebrating everything vintage – from the hair and make-up to the music and even the photography.

Vintage Nation at The Corn Exchange will see more than 100 vintage stall-holders from across the country descending on the Capital.

It has been organised by Judy Berger, who founded the vintage fairs in 2005 after working in London as a stylist.

And after seeing their popularity in other cities, she is now bringing the experience to Edinburgh, and admitted it was set to be her biggest fair yet.

“We held our first Vintage Nation event in Brighton last year,” she said. “It was pretty stressful getting it all organised, but most definitely worth it. We had over 2500 people through the doors.

“We knew we had to tour it, and Edinburgh was an obvious destination. We know it’s home to a lot of very stylish people.”

And style is what vintage is all about, with Judy suggesting one of the biggest reasons for the surge in popularity of vintage second-hand clothes wasn’t just the chance to snap up a bargain, but a reaction to the modern dominance of a few global brands.

“Vintage is becoming increasing popular as we see worldwide fashion become more homogenised.

“It’s a global society and many of us see the same images and representations of fashion, and even shop in the exact same stores, despite living thousands of miles apart.

“The resurgence of vintage is very much a reaction to this. People want to stand out – they don’t want to wear something that everyone else has. There’s also the value for money – we don’t price out the average shopper like some vintage retailers do.

“And even if you decide to splash out, something doesn’t get to be ‘vintage’ by being poorly made. I recently bought a handmade dress from the 1950s, which was still in near enough perfect condition. It cost £45, but I would have been willing to pay more because a piece like that is an investment.”

Of course one of the biggest pitfalls of buying unique vintage pieces is that they tend not to come in a range of sizes. Fans of second-hand and vintage shopping will be all too familiar with the pain that comes of finding the perfect “investment” – only to discover it’s nowhere near your size. But never fear – help is at hand.

“There will be Customisation Workshops running throughout the day and trained staff on hand with sewing machines, studs, lace, jewels – pretty much an entire haberdashery,” says Judy. “They can show you how to add a bit more sparkle or individuality to your new find, or how to alter something to make it fit properly.”

And visitors will also be able to get the hair and make-up to match their perfect purchase thanks to a Pop-Up Beauty Lounge, where a team of experts will create the perfect look – before it is captured in the most retro fashion of all.

“Right beside the Beauty Lounge we have a Vintage Photobooth, which is full of interesting vintage props. So once you’re all glammed up, you and your friends can have the moment captured by a professional photographer,” says Judy.

And there’s more than just vintage clothing, accessories, jewellery and footwear on offer for the sharp-eyed shopper. The fair will also feature vintage furniture and homeware.

“There are so many fantastic, unique homes in Edinburgh whose owners are no doubt on the look-out for one-of-a-kind pieces they can purchase without breaking the bank.”

The Vintage Fair comes to the Capital in October, but for those who can’t wait, a warm-up event was being held today at Out of the Blue on Dalmeny Street which sees vintage goods literally being sold by the kilo.

Organisers had to get stuck into a mountain of vintage frocks, fake furs and footwear to select the five tonnes of stock for the Edinburgh Vintage Kilo Sale.

Judy explained: “We feature more modern vintage in the Kilo Sale, mainly from the 1970s onward, which we buy wholesale from a supplier.

Vintage lovers tend to have quite individualistic style, so what one person doesn’t look twice at may be the next 
person’s find of the decade.

“Very often people will tell us they found something 
amazing discarded in the changing rooms. I once found an exquisite caramel coloured ostrich-skin bag right at the bottom of a barrel that people had been going through all day – you have to be ready to rummage!”

The Edinburgh Vintage Kilo Sale is on until 4pm today at Out of the Blue, Dalmeny Street, with an entry price of only £1.

Vintage Nation is at The Corn Exchange on October 6 between noon and 6pm. Early bird tickets costing just £3 are already on sale – but going fast.