On Sunday I attended the Brighton Vintage Fair at the Corn Exchange as an invited blogger and had a thoroughly brilliant time. Despite the monsoon rain outside, the place was absolutely packed out and chock full of stalls selling clothing, jewellery, and ephemera. There was even a vintage hair and beauty salon, and a tearoom where I had a rather fab cup of coffee in a gorgeous china cup.
Louise, the organiser, welcomed a very soggy me at the door, and I set off to glean as much information as I could about starting out in vintage when you're either on a budget or are a newbie. Everyone was incredibly helpful and eager to share what they knew - so don't hesitate to ask questions at vintage/retro fairs, market stalls and shops!
What I Learned
- Do your Research: There is no point in going out just to buy "old things". Find out the difference between 20s fashion and 60s fashion. Find out who the key designers were, what the shapes and trends were, what jewellery was popular, what the makeup looked like. Look at old issues of Vogue. watch old movies. Look at old photographs. Really get to know your stuff, and recognise good workmanship and tailoring. Also understand that some clothes just aren't there for you to buy anymore, such as 60s fleeting fashions that weren't built to last. Learn how to sew - not only to recreate looks, but also to mend, maintain and alter what you do find.
- Keep your own individuality: it's fashion, not just vintage or retro. You can live the life authentically from underwear through to lipstick, or you can mix the styles to suit your personality, but make sure that it's your personality wearing the clothes and not the other way around.
- Know the difference between quality and junk: just like today, not everything from a certain period is well-made. If you're investing money in pieces, make sure that they have a good cut, that the stitching is polished, that the details are there, and that these items will continue to last and look good. Again, a knowledge of sewing is useful for any wear and tear.
- Know the difference between "vintage", "retro", and just plain "old": knowing which era fits into which category will save you a lot of money! Check the video above for the definitions. Also, again, just because it's vintage doesn't necessarily mean that it's good.
- Realise that vintage and retro makeup is NOT the same as makeup today: research colours and styles, but also look at specific techniques and textures. makeup then was not shiny or dewy or glossy, and most looks were a lot more structured, matte and polished than they are today. Work that eyeliner and line those lips!
HUGE Thank You To:
- Tanya at SpankT VinTage
- Sharon at Vintage Hair Lounge
- Holly at Margaret and Leslie
- Jackie at Vintagelady