Do you remember “finding your true home” in the vintage community?
And how wonderful it was to discover that your passion was shared and cherished by others?
I do. It was at the best vintage fair I’ve ever been to (still to this day).
There, for the first time, I didn’t feel out of place in my 1940s suit, hair piled high. From the moment the first person tapped me on the shoulder and asked about the “soutache” on my lapels, I knew I’d found my people.
It was a long way from home, a plane ride away. I had saved for almost a year to acquire my own pieces of history. And although I went alone and didn’t know anyone there, when I walked into that room, heaving with smiling people, I felt instantly at home.
Finding Your Vintage Story: A Source of Inspiration
That experience set the bar for me on what an exceptional, authentic vintage fair and event should be: a community of like-minded people, with myriad styles and inspirations, brought together by their mutual love of historical fashion.
There were no hard and fast rules as to what should be worn and how. Instead what I found was a genuine exchange between friends, buyers and sellers, hardcore fans and the curious, all sharing their joy and finding appreciative homes for each treasure.
However, in recent years, as the vintage trend has taken hold, I’ve seen hyper commercialism chipping away at this wonderful camaraderie at the heart of why so many of us love vintage.
What I didn’t realize, back at that milestone event, was how much it would later inspire me to create and launch a new initiative to bring out the best in vintage for our community.
Ready, Set, Go! Breathing New Life Into Vintage Markets
I’m thrilled to announce the debut of Vintage Current Fashion Fair, coming this May 7-8 (Mother’s Day Weekend) as part of Ballarat Heritage Weekend 2016!
Having inherited my love of fashion from my mum, with her talent for sewing and restyling old outfits, and nurturing the love of vintage in my own daughters, teaching them to shop smart and appreciate styles from bygone days, hosting this event over Mother’s Day Weekend is an extra special treat for me.
Just as exciting is the opportunity to collaborate with so many talented, passionate vintage lovers around this event.
Thanks to our partnership with the brilliant teams at the City of Ballarat and Ballarat Regional Tourism, we anticipate a crowd of 20,000 enthusiasts at Ballarat Heritage Weekend 2016, and we’re working with several partners, vendors and sponsors to make this premiere event one for all to remember.
Here’s just a taste of what you can expect during this fun-filled weekend …
Pictured clockwise from top left: St Pat’s Hall VCFF heritage venue, local Ballarat fashion blogger Finding Femme, ladies ready for the Tweed Ride, Charlotte Smith on stage.
We’re teaming up with our good friend Charlotte Smith, author of Dreaming of Dior and Dreaming of Chanel, to host an interactive session on how to discover and refine your own vintage style. Charlotte is also hosting an array of stunning vintage fashion parades plus her “In Conversation” sessions with the fabulous Catriona Rowntree and Claudia Chan Shaw (pictured below).
Amongst our fast-growing list of wonderful VCFF vendors, you’ll find:
- Audrey Scarlett Vintage a personal favourite for their extensive range of affordable pieces.
- Frizzy Vintage with a great range of accessories and stunning Japanese vintage frocks.
- Vintage Online who carry a superior range of genuine vintage jewellery to fit every budget.
- Jack’s Daughter our friends set the standard for authentic vintage reproduction fashion (several of their designs are in my wardrobe right now).
- Steady with Betty Vintage Clothing beautiful vintage pieces, with show-stopping gowns, featured in countless glamour shoots I’ve styled.
- Recycology always makes me smile with their exotic collection of brightly coloured, fabulous pieces (including the most stunning burnt silk velvet kimono I had to have).
That’s barely the tip of the iceberg, as our plans and partnerships are rapidly growing, and the other key ingredient we’re looking for now is YOU.
Vintage Vendors, Makers and Sponsors: We Want You!
With over 25 years as a collector, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know some of Australia’s finest vintage vendors — the backbone of these events. Their tireless sourcing, restoring and curating is what makes these people as rare as the gems they sell.
The same goes for the vintage makers, who take the time to faithfully reproduce garments and accessories to our needs. From hoarding buttons and trim, to custom making the perfect piece just for you, these dedicated individuals are creating the vintage of the future.
And of course, the re-imagineers (a term I much prefer to upcycling), who allow us to see what is possible for things that may otherwise have reached the end of their lives. They breathe new purpose into pieces, giving us the chance to create a new story for them.
Join Our Vintage Current Fashion Fair Mission
We’re proud to be creating a new haven for quality vintage vendors and passionate shoppers to come together during Ballarat Heritage Weekend.
We want to bring back all the reasons you fell in love with vintage in the first place, and that’s shaped our mission for Vintage Current Fashion Fair:
- It is unique – allowing you to explore your own personal sense of style to create something that reflects who you are.
- It has a story – vintage has romance and history, quietly weaving the tale of social change through each hemline.
- It is a responsible choice – wearing well and living through generations, teaching us about true value per wear and quality of make.
- It inspires – No longer are we slaves to the vicious cycle of fast fashion and the dictates of trends, we get to write the story.
- It represents real value – The hand beaded, pure cashmere sweater you find on these racks can be had for ½ or less the price of a mass produced high street version, and is made to a quality standard rarely seen today.
Whether you are a collector, a vendor, a maker or any manner of vintage enthusiast — anywhere in the world — if this mission resonates with you, we’d love to hear from you!
If you’re a seller of quality vintage, based or trading in Australia, let’s work together to help promote you and your passion. Click here to learn more and apply to be part of VCFF!
(Note: If you’re not based in Australia, don’t worry: We’ll be sharing videos, photos, posts and more online, and you can catch the buzz via our #VCFF event hashtag.)
Hawkeye Vintage is not your usual vintage fashion retailer. Founded by global traveller and savvy business chick, Danielle Goodwin; Hawkeye Vintage sources a unique and cleverly curated collection of high-end vintage garments.
While living in Japan, Danielle developed a keen eye for mixing and matching her designer vintage pieces for a cutting edge, modern look. The Japanese notion of conscious and creative dressing forms the backbone of the Hawkeye Vintage look.
Unlike many retailers in the vintage space, Hawkeye takes a very eclectic and accessible approach to their wares. While it seems more and more vintage retailers are increasing prices in the Australian market, Hawkeye provides exceptional quality pieces that make a top-notch investment of your cash.
The labels you know, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Pucci and Missoni, can all be found in abundance. With the superb detail and construction synonymous with these labels, Hawkeye’s selection of lesser-known labels are right at home. Each garment is chosen for its inherent beauty, quality and unique style.
The Hawkeye aesthetic inspires the regular sourcing trips throughout Europe and Japan, searching for the noteworthy, the collectable and the statements pieces that every wardrobe need. Danielle’s distinctive flair for matching high-end glamour with utilitarian street ware, is the heart behind this brand.
This month’s pop up designer vintage sale focuses strongly on Japanese and German vintage from 1960’s – 1990’s, with pieces starting as low as $40.
27-29th March 10am – 6 pm Daily
Location: Hazeldon Place, South Yarra
In my family we have a little habit. Some would call it a bad habit, I prefer to think of it as an eccentricity. We sing about everything. Yes, you read that correctly, it is often like a broadway disney mash up over here. Every little thing that triggers a line from a song has me singing as much of it as I can recall. My dad did this right throughout my childhood and is now amusing my girls with the same habit. It became a running joke for my brothers and I, often mimicking his rather flat rendition of Beatles songs at odd moments.
I’m just as bad if not worse. When I found this amazing blue velvet vintage style dress at Vicious Venus in Melbourne, I already had the sounds of “She wore blue velvet“, running through my head. (The era of that song tells you quite a bit about my childhood upbringing). It is a beautiful slinky midnight blue velveteen, with the perfect drape and fall. It may not be an obvious choice for a Melbourne summer evening dress, but with travels taking me to all climates, I always buy a great piece when I find it. Unlike a lot of these slinky type of dresses, it hugs in the right places (not the wrong ones) and mearly glances past the bits you don’t want to spend all night sucking in. Because really, if you’re going out for a great night on the town or a delicious dinner, the last thing you want is to feel like a stuffed sausage! I actually decided to go up two sizes just for this reason, then had the shoulders tailored for a better fit.
I’m surprised (well not really), just how often we get stuck by the number on a sizing label and refuse to buy anything bigger or smaller due to vanity, rather than just finding what fits us best. If there is one piece of advice I can give you about dressing well and looking glamorous, it is to buy the correct fit. And if you can’t buy the right fit, spend the few dollars to have someone tailor it just for you. For something you really love and you know will become a go to piece, it is worth every penny. Even though I do have the skills, I don’t have the time, so the wonderful Jayne at Empire Room here in Melbourne does my alterations. as a professional costume maker and seamstress, Jayne is worth her weight in gold!
Such a fabulous dress required equally fabulous shoes and these are simply amazing! Covered in crystals, these heels from Bordello are my new favourites. The last in their shoes are so well made and suit my feet beautifully, making every pair I own incredibly comfortable. Once I discovered that this last worked for me, I’ve gradually been building up my collection of pieces, including all their mules.
This was the outfit I had planned in my head for Christmas festivities, but the way things worked out with travelling and trips, I haven’t had a chance to really get out there in it. Instead I plan on putting it out there on the red carpet for the opening of the Strictly Ballroom musical on Saturday evening; which given the musical stylings this set off for me, seems all too appropriate!
It’s wonderful the people you meet at local vintage fairs. These shows aren’t just good for the frocks and the chats, but for uncovering the hidden gems in the vintage vending world.
While I sat at my stand I spent most of the day eyeing off pieces at the stall directly opposite me. A black cloche hat with a waterfall of feathers, a large silver bow with strategically placed diamontes, and the perfect little leopard print pill box hat. When I realised I could wait no longer and simply had to add the leopard print to my collection, I wandered over to make the deal. While handing over my paltry sum for this pretty piece, I struck up a conversation with the stall holder and owner Marsha Byron. Here was a lady with a familiar sense of drama and a passion for fabulous I could well relate to.
Marsha began to tell me about how she and her daughter had set up their business, Designer Showcase, when the passion for vintage jewellery over took them both like wild fire. Seeing its beautiful construction, the settings both delicate and decadent, and learning its history, became something they longed to collect and share. Like me, they both have an enduring passion for beauty but are quite miffed (is that a nice way to say it?) about the trend for “cheap”, imitation vintage jewellery.
When shopping at your local mall in Australia, you’ll now find fewer than three retailers who all sell these sorts of pieces. Sourced in bulk overseas, tarted up with the marketing wand, then sold off to you at the “bargain” price of $49.95. Your “new vintage” jewellery may last the night if you’re lucky (I’ve tried and can say every single one has needed repair after the first wear), but it’s not a patch on the real thing.
A week of so later, I went to visit Marsha in her studio amongst black velvet cushions of jewel encrusted pins and displays of dripping milk glass adornments. It’s easy to see why I stayed nearly four hours.
Simply referring to the Designer Showcase pieces as “Vintage” is a bit of a misnomer, as there are pieces in this collection from Victorian times. While not all of the very oldest may still be wearable in their original form, Marsha takes a sensitive hand to rework some of these pieces into new forms. A lonely earring becomes a cocktail ring, a hair slide can become a statement brooch; and so the story continues.
This story has a lovely ending / beginning for us too, as I’m proud to announce that Designer Showcase Vintage Jewellery is now an official sponsor of Vintage Current! This means that we’ll have the inside track on all kinds of lovely pieces for you, competitions, giveaways and even more beautiful pictures.
With prices beginning at approximately $20-$55 for earrings, brooches around $30-$60, necklaces at $30-$100+ for those super special special pieces, this is my new Australian online go to for all occasions. So don’t waste your hard earned pennies on “cheap” new tat, go vintage all the way!
A cold and rainy Tuesday in Ballarat seemed like the perfect day for taking a bit of a wander amongst the Mill Markets vintage stalls. Having visited before, I knew they had a little cafe section and even the tempting draw card of an open fire. I didn’t have anything specific in mind, but like all good vintage hunters, you know you can never pass up an opportunity for a bit of a ‘look see’. After all, that is how we manage to come up with the amazing finds; by constantly being on the look out.
With Sonny Molone (Miss 10) on the camera, I’m was free to wander and poke around hands free; a very important factor in digging about in piles of potential treasures.
The stalls are each run by individual vendors with goods sold by stall number at the central counter. It means that there is generally no one on hand to ask questions about items you’re interested in, but on the flip side, it does allow you to feel like quite the treasure hunter. Many of the larger items include the vendors contact number to help you sort out any queries or deals you might have in mind.
There is a large proportion of stalls selling the usual suspects of nick nacks and what nots, some of the more collectible variety and some that will appeal to the more idiosyncratic collector.
“There was this duck see, and he walked into a bar…”
There is a mix of what could be categorised as vintage, retro, second hand and artisan pieces here at the Mill Markets Ballarat. It isn’t a strictly vintage dealer outlet pre curated to meet specific tastes, but rather more of a choose your own adventure shopping experience. Something that everyone will see differently. Where I gravitated towards the clothes in a search for nifty hand knits, the girls made a bee line for the retro toy section, coming up trumps with an 1980s Kermit the Frog doll.
If you’re hunting for clothes you’ll only find a small selection of true vintage pieces here. There are a couple of stalls selling vintage reproduction outfits from the likes of Pin Up Girl Clothing, and local hand made pieces. Home wear and conversation pieces is really what the Ballarat Mill Markets are all about. That one off find that makes a room like an old fuel pump, a retro beaded curtain featuring pop culture hero ‘Monkey” or even a life sized came,l (sadly not for sale that day).
All in all, if you’re planning a visit to Ballarat, this is one place I’d recommend adding to your touring list.
I took a day off last weekend for a special occasion; the Love Vintage Show was in town and I really needed new vintage style inspiration! It is hard to explain to Mr.SKM why I need to go to another vintage shopping event when my closets are overflowing, but more often than not, these events are really about socialising for me.
Whether it is a vintage show, a music festival or even a classic car event; it is the one time I get to see friends from all over the country and catch up about our mutual obsessions. This Sunday was no exception, and I wanted to treat my styling team to a big day out of “fancy old things”.
Sometimes I head to these events with a budget and an agenda, but this time it was really about finding new inspiration for me. We all go through times when we are sick of looking at our closets, no matter how much variety there is, and I’ve been struggling with this of late. I really adore vintage everything, but occasionally it is like I’ve overdosed on it and just need to press the reset button. That has been my last few months.
With a serious lack of storage space, I’ve had to pack up the majority of my vintage collection to make more room for Miss 6’s bedroom, and I found by putting everything away and out of eye line it gave me a bit more clarity. I’ve stuck to the same few basics and gone for function over high style, to give myself the ‘no frills’ time I needed to get on top of some major projects happening at home. (By major I mean heavy machinery and no roof!)
Having this little hiatus has given me the sartorial palette cleanse I needed. It’s allowed me to look at my collection with new eyes and decide what I should part with and what I truly love. Spending time in the company of my other artistic inspirations, gives me room for new ways to interpret and mix those old favourites. As vintage lovers with the internet at our disposal, it is all to easy to live exclusively in our own style microcosm; but without keeping your inspirations fresh, things can quickly go stale. And that was how I was feeling, stale.
Fast forward to a few months later, (now) and I have a sense of enthusiasm and refreshment that you just can’t fake. The kind that keeps you up sewing frustrating vintage patterns until midnight or more. And that is why I love these vintage shows; spending time not only browsing beautiful wares, but browsing the way other people interpret their take on vintage style.
Vintage will always hold new and fresh ideas for me, but it is important to know when and how to look after your style mojo. I’d guess I’m not the only one of us who goes thorugh this, and I’d love to hear what you do to keep things fresh!
Purple “Ava” dress from Pin Up Girl Clothing
Berry suede heels from Airstep
Hand bag from Prada
*Photography by Helen McLean*