When I enter Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, I want to run through the rails of clothing in joyful slow-mo, flinging clothes hither and thither, throwing oversized rings and itty-bitty lace in the air, and basically drowning in an orgy of period goodness. This vintage phenomenon that started in 2005 travels from city to city, peddling delicious macks, the odd velvet gown from the 1920s, and rare Biba finds that lurk in the depths if you have the patience to look.
The stalls of clothing, accessories, sometimes furniture and other goodies, are a mixture of vintage ware, reworked knick-knacks and handmade goods. If you like shopping in charity shops in Kensington or Hampstead, the words ‘Affordable Vintage’ may seem something of an oxymoron, but Judy’s isn’t kidding around. No matter if you’re more of a goth than a 1950s housewife, or if it’s really Miss Marple that curls your toes, this gem of a fair will find you rare treats at very reasonable prices.
Kieran Leckey, the marketing manager, one of a young and friendly team of dedicated vintage fashion hounds, describes their Bethnal Green Affordable Vintage Fair: ‘We founded the fair in 2006. It was a huge hit, one of the first London fairs. Daisy Lowe and the Pierces even used to come shop. But cut to 2012 – sooo many vintage fairs out there. We wanted to shake things up. York Hall in Bethnal Green is a gorgeous venue and we wanted to create an event where people could stay all day.’ So they created ‘an East End haunt’ with music and cupcakes where committed shoppers can spend an entire Sunday just hanging out and sorting through the racks. What Kieran doesn’t say is that York Hall gives the fair a long, warehouse kind of venue, very hip, very retro, and very quintessentially vintage.
Judy Berger, the founder, says that the fair was born in Leeds through ‘love, lust and a little frustration. I had nothing to wear and vintage was through the roof!’ The fair now sources vintage traders from all over the UK and checks all the stock for the affordable and the wearable.
If clothing doesn’t knock your socks off, then check out the vinyl and the taxidermy and the stocks of furniture. The Kilo sales give you a bagful of clothing at just £15 and Spitalfields Market hosts the fair every month. Don’t forget to check it out on April 7th and 9th. In honour of the 2012 Olympics, fashion scouts will be handing out medals and vouchers to the best-dressed customers!
Judy’s Vintage Market
Old Spitalfields Market
65 Brushfield Street