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Monday, 24 November 2014

The future is the past

And you thought only Timelords and Michael J Fox could travel back in time.

Think again. Tomorrow at Rheged, near Penrith, the past is the future.

The UK’s largest vintage fair comes to Cumbria, with 40 purveyors of vintage wares such as clothing, accessories and records.

And to set the dial firmly in the past there will also be a display of vintage cars and a screening of 1961 classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair was founded six years ago and since then has brought vintage to 30 cities and six festivals around the country.

Last summer Judy’s organised the largest vintage marketplace the UK has seen when 150 dealers helped attract thousands of fashion-conscious punters to the Vintage at Goodwood festival.

And now it’s Cumbria’s turn.

Director and founder Judy Berger told the News & Star: “With 18,000 shoppers throughout our events in February and March alone, demand for vintage is at an all-time high.

“From our initial groundwork, a taste of vintage seems like something that Cumbrian folk are excited about.

“For every new city we make sure we have a really good mix because we don’t know who’s going to turn up on the day. We don’t know what the people of Cumbria are going to want. If they like us, we’ll come back.”

Fashion and affordability seem to be the key factors. In terms of price, it depends on the decade.

“The older it is the more expensive it will be,” says Judy. “A 1950s’ dress can go for anything from £30-60. A 1980s’ dress might be £5-15.

“We do have items all the way back to the 1900s but they’re becoming hard to find these days.

“A lot of people like the financial aspect. It’s cheaper than the High Street and it’s unique, which is attractive in these days of mass production and stacking it high. Vintage is really in fashion at the moment.”

High Street chains have recognised this, which explains why they are producing their own vintage-style ranges.

“A lot of the High Street are reissuing designs they created in past decades. The only thing is, one of those dresses might cost about £50-75.”

All this talk of frocks suggests the fair will be a bloke-free zone. Judy is keen to dispel that suggestion.

“It’s a real mixed bag. It all depends on the city. We get a lot of students, families, mums and daughters, and the real avid vintage fans, which includes a lot of men.

“Some men will be dragged by their girlfriends, and they often end up leaving with a bag full of stuff.”

The most popular items tend to be dresses and women’s jackets.

“Any sort of winter coat is very popular. They’re so expensive on the High Street. You can find a good pure wool winter coat for £20-45 at a fair. For guys, lots of vintage shirts and polo shirts and sportswear.”

Other favourites include handbags, jewellery, 1920s’ plumage, 1940s’ tweed and much-coveted 1970s’ threads. Punters can also expect specialists in vintage homeware, antiques, furnishings, records and bric-a-brac. “We like to keep things eclectic. We mix on-trend vintage fashions such as 70s’ crochet and 50s’ dresses with crafts and accessories, jewellery and haberdashery.”

There will also be seven vintage cars outside and a chance to see Audrey Hepburn on Rheged’s massive Imax cinema when Breakfast at Tiffany’s is shown at 2pm. Admission to the film is £3.50.

For those who have never been to a vintage fair, Judy has some advice.

“Have a rummage and see what you find. People find once they go to a fair they get a buzz out of rummaging through and finding the perfect item and knowing you’re the only person who has it.”

Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair is at Rheged tomorrow, 10am-4pm. Entry £1. Under-12s free.

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