Sunday, 12 June 2011

Whats happened to the vintage fair?

0n Sunday 12th June, Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair held an event in York. It took my friend and I well over an hour to drive there, but having being to another York one plus many in Leeds before, we thought it would be worth the journey.

On arriving there, queues filtered through the locations doors and out into the gardens. Clothing and accessory stalls filled two floors. Rails and rails were packed tightly together and many young vintage hunters pushed passed each other to get the pick of the best finds.

In my honest opinion, I was really disappointed with what was on offer. Not only was the location too small to fit each stall holder in with a comfortable shopping space for each customer. If we were to compare this to a high street store, the brand would be  satirized for having bad visual merchandising principles and no spatial awareness for customers needs.

Judy's Affordable Vintage Fairs have a reputation for supplying good quality, authentic vintage and antique items. However, a large percentage of the fashion on offer consisted of customized and altered "vintage" clothing. Not only were there more fake items than real ones, it was disappointing to have seemingly been deceived into thinking I was going to a vintage fair when infact it seemed I was at a handmade event - and a poor excuse for one at that.

As a vintage fashion lover, it is my absolute pet hate to see pretend vintage stalls passing off their home made skirts and dresses in old fashioned looking cheap material. It should be banned and should be marked clearly on the stalls that do this who are not selling what customers are expecting.

Aside from the majority of the items been fake, the latter were over priced. Yes, some items were clothes from the 50's and such forth, but £50 for a second hand dress, in my opinion, is way too steep. Are these stall holders forgetting that what they are selling is used, second hand? Just because vintage is now the cool, 'in thing' to be doing, doesn't mean they should over charge their customers.

What made this genre of clothing so popular in the first place is its economic price tags. But why should we pay that amount of money for an item we could pick up from the high street at a fraction of the price? Yes some pieces are authentic and its fab to own a piece of fashion history, but these "business" men and women are ruining the essence of antique and historic clothing by over charging who would be a loyal source of income.

And why why why would you customize a real vintage item? I spoke to one stall holder (name witheld) who admitted to cutting the sleeves from a 70's era dress to make it sleeveless. WHY?! This is no longer vintage! Its a rip off of the beautiful dress it once was. If they want to be a designer, design your own clothes don't change another persons creativity and then charge us the earth to buy it - no thanks!

I am not sure how the Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair works, but checks need to be consistently carried out on who is selling what and whether it really is as authentic as they make it out to be. Fair enough, sell your own made tat, but don't trick someone who isn't as savvy about clothing as maybe my friend or I am.

I managed to speak to a few of the fair goers. One girl said "its so over priced, and for what? Something I could get from Topshop which is cheaper and brand new?"

"I don't think I will be bothering coming again. I think I'll stick to the high street I can trust".

 I really hope this won't be a downward spiral for vintage fairs as todays has made me more wary of attending them in the future. The stalls should be pulling together great collections of what tir customers what; real vintage clothing. Otherwise, the more they fob us off with fakes and overpriced items, the more we will be forced to shop the high street and become less ethically balanced and even less likely to support these independent retailers and business owners.

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