In recent years, as vintage has evolved into a mainstream phenomenon there has been a commensurate premium placed on the price of what many would view as second hand clothes.
Of course, high prices can sometimes reflect the rare, iconic or collectable status of an item, but more often than not, ten-a-penny tea dresses, poor quality polyester blouses and barely ‘vintage’ items are still demanding big bucks.
Enter Judy’s. When I went to my first fair back in 2011 in St Andrews, if I’m being honest I was a little sceptical. How “affordable” would affordable be? But my cynicism proved to be totally unfounded – vintage dresses for under £30, jumpers for under £20 and handbags and jewellery for under a fiver! I was sold.
Judy’s ethos of affordability is unmatched on the vintage scene – you can’t argue with prices cheaper than the high street. I’ve found some real gems there in the past, such as this necklace, this Laura Ashley dress and this jumper. All excellent quality, all bargains, and all items that I have worn again and again.
This weekend at Spitalfields, my challenge was to seek out the most affordable sellers at the fair. A tricky challenge to choose just three if you ask me! Here are my winning stalls, who were all awarded a yummy cupcake from Flavourtown bakery (thanks again Flavourtown!) and a wee medal for their dedication to affordable vintage.
This stall Vintage Freak caught my eye immediately – jumpers at 2 for £15 and shorts 2 for £8! These items of clothing are probably two of the most sought-after vintage items so I think store owner Michael Campos was onto a really good thing here. We chatted about vintage and how much of what’s classed as ‘vintage’ is often overpriced. Michael was clearly passionate about keeping his wares affordable – whilst maintaining a high quality – and luckily for us this meant bargains a-plenty! Vintage Freak is a Judy’s stalwart and also sell on ASOS marketplace and are prolific tweeters – well worth checking out.
I must admit I was drawn like a magpie (some things never change) to the beautiful vintage jewellery of Vintage Reclaimed. Gorgeous beads, rings, earrings and watches covered the two tables held by vintage trader Liam Woodgates, who has worked closely with Judy’s from the outset. I especially loved the little collectable pieces – such as teaspoons, dressing table trinkets and even delicate watch faces. What was even more impressive were the prices: rings at two for £5, earrings for £3 – definitely less than the high street, and the real deal vintage item rather than something cheap and disposable. I kept returning to this stall again and again; original, affordable and witty. They also sell on ASOS Marketplace and are well worth a visit at the next market.
Maybe it’s because I’m moving into my new flat soon and my head is full of ideas of how to fill it with pretty things, but I have recently developed an obsession with retro crockery. However, it can be an expensive habit… If you go to one of the big markets such as Portobello Rd market, then you might find some bargains, but more often than not the prices are sky high – think £30+ for a set of four cups and saucers. Charlie Wills from Rare and Racy agrees that this is madness, and she sells beautiful vintage china at bargain prices – £1 each for cups and saucers. There were even a few full sets! I particularly liked the idea of getting a few different odd pieces and having mix and match crockery… watch this space at the next fair once we’ve moved into our new flat! I loved the French glass pudding bowls and these pink retro print tins above. Charlie has been with Judy’s right from the very start and is passionate about keeping vintage affordable. An incredibly deserving medal winner!
What do you think about vintage pricing? Is it really a reflection of the objects’ true value? Answers on a (vintage) postcard…