Along with its numerous vintage boutiques and market stalls, lovers of all things retro will be pleased to hear that Norwich regularly hosts many fabulous travelling vintage fairs.
Cruising round the country, selling both high-end and bargain vintage, fairs such as the Norwich Vintage Fair, Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair and the Little Vintage Lover Fair pop up in Noz every few months.
So if you managed to miss the Norwich Vintage Fair at St Andrew’s Hall on the 14th or the Little Vintage Lover Fair at Dragon Hall on the 27th, panic not! You will not need to wait too long for another opportunity to blow your student loan on knitwear your nan would be proud of.
If you are determined to attend and rummage, and haven’t yet done so, it is definitely worth scouring Facebook and ‘liking’ “Vintage Norwich” and all other related pages; the fairs aren’t always well advertised and it’s very easy to miss the delightfully designed but sparsely distributed posters and fliers.
Most of Norwich’s vintage events are hosted at the lovely St Andrew’s Hall, opposite Cinema City. However, the Little Vintage Lover Fair is always held at Dragon Hall, which, if nothing else, gives you a chance to check out the very nice medieval architecture, nestled in the slightly dodgy end of town by the Waterfront.
Spread over several floors and tucked away in corners, roughly thirty stalls overflow with a myriad of vintage delights. Like every good vintage fair, the Little Vintage Lover Fair has all the staple items: borderline offensive jumpers, all of the velvet and every variation of the brown leather bag that you could dream of.
However, unlike the majority of Norwich’s vintage fairs, the Little Vintage Lover Fair has a lot more antiques and high-end (read: EXPENSIVE) items. Treasures spotted this year included the sweetest 1940’s dollhouse that mothers had to pull their children away from by the hair and a pale pink cone bra like the one in the John Paul Gaultier advert.
Perhaps the most special thing spied at the Little Vintage Lover Fair was a peach and white Edwardian silk dress with a lace collar, available to purchase for a mere £35. “Bargain!” you squawk.
No, be reasonable. Common sense is absolutely indispensable when vintage shopping. Not all fabrics age well and hand stitching, in particular, can be very delicate. £35 is a lot to play for a dress that may well disintegrate on its first outing; if it can happen to Kate Moss, it can happen to anyone. Courtney Love famously stood on the train of Kate’s vintage Dior dress, exposing quite a lot of bum cheek.
Wardrobe malfunctions aside, let us also consider the potential guilt at destroying a piece of history after a few too many Pinot Grigios. It’s probably best to leave the antiques to the collectors and spend your cash on some 80s specials. Not only is it cheap as chips (£15 for a dress, anyone?), but it’s also bloomin’ indestructible. Prince of Wales, do your worst.
Model: Lucy Barr-Hamilton. Stylist: Becky Evans. Photographer: Elizabeth Margereson. Location: The Mulberry