For those of you who wandered down Queen Street in Exeter on the 19th November, it may have just been another non-eventful Sunday afternoon. However, it became very difficult for the average weekend shopper not to notice the Crikey it’s Vintage! Christmas fair. Situated in the Thistle Hotel, I decided to give up battling the cold wind and give in to curiosity and step inside to see what this fair had to offer.
To give readers a bit more information about Crikey it’s Vintage!, it was founded in 2011, the brainchild of Shelly with the help of her friend Cassie. They were later also joined by Kim who organises the fashion shows at each event. The events are held quarterly and are always popular, as they often provide a space for local Devonshire vintage and craft businesses to showcase their wares.
Back to the events of the fair, as soon as you hit the entrance, your ears are treated to the joyous tones of the Blitzes and Peaces, offering traditional 1940s tunes which certainly gave vintage goers a spring in their step as they looked round the fair. With over 50 stalls, there was at least something to satisfy your vintage or handmade craft need. I was particularly drawn to the cupcakes on offer from Tea in the City but settled for their infamous Rickety Rocky Road, which left my taste buds delighted.
There was also a large room dedicated to vintage clothing offering fur coats, tea dresses, and handbags. The fashion section was not solely aimed at women as even for the men there was a good selection of jackets and trousers available to buy. For those who were unsure how to carry off the vintage look, the fashion shows which were held throughout the day gave guidance and highlighted some key pieces from some of the stall holders.
I was also fortunate enough to fit in a vintage makeover in my vintage shopping tour and was pampered by the gorgeous Sophie, Lucy and Venessa who managed to transform me from an everyday student into a vintage lovely! Sophie Hamer was in charge of make-up and showed me that it is possible to wear red lipstick and not look like something out of a horror movie!! Venessa Harris then had the tricky task of giving me red nails with a moon shape cuticle. Yes, it is as complicated as it sounds, but she did an excellent job. To finish off the look, Lucy Milton took my rather thick, difficult hair and crafted it into a modern beehive, which was a wearable hairstyle, perfect for a night out or afternoon tea with the girls.
There is often an assumption that vintage events can be exclusive and you already have to be an
expert in the 1940s or a similar era and have an image to match in order to ‘fit in’. It is time to dispel this myth and emphasise that vintage fairs are for everyone, from those who don’t know the difference between a victory roll and a sausage roll, to those who have a better vintage wardrobe than Dita von Teese! The great thing about these events is that there is no exclusivity, everybody is brought together by their interest in bygone eras and maintaining traditional crafts, and everybody likes sharing their knowledge about vintage finds.
I was certainly greeted at Crikey it’s Vintage! by lots of friendly and sociable people aged between 9 and 99, so don’t ever feel put off by the word ‘vintage’. Next time you see a vintage event, go and check it out; you never know what one-off pieces you may find!
Crikey it’s Vintage! run several events throughout the year. The next event is on the 2nd March (Crikey it’s a Spring Fling!). It is an all day vintage fair followed by an evening of rock’n’roll!
See www.crikeyitsvintage.co.uk for more information.
Reported for Razz by Stephanie Cross (Twitter: @stephiecross1)