Undercover at Lou-Lou’s Vintage Fair

Having fallen in love with LouLou’s Vintage Fair last term, the fact I eagerly awaited the January return of the ‘Best Vintage Fair in the UK comes as no surprise.

So after a week of cramming for collections and a heavy night at Wahoo, I awoke on Saturday 18th January with muted excitement. Today was the day I discovered my favourite hangover remedy: shopping for clothes. And shop we did in the showy main hall.

You could tell there was a big show in town by the fashionable shoppers snaking along St. Aldate’s. The friendly people helping keep the crowd flowing, the charming traders selling their high-quality wares, and the pleasant ambience of retro tunes all helped to create a great vibe. And, from a purely fashion perspective? Their stuff just rocked.  The racks of clothing from the 1920s right up to the 1990s in the opulent setting were just beautiful. Alongside quantity, which was noticeably slightly less than last time, quality was the order of the day. All of the traders I spoke to had high praise for Louise, the organiser of the affectionately named fair, and her personal efforts at vetting her traders. As Lynda Brown of Tattybojangles said, “she wants the absolute best for the customer basis”, and Rob from Ring O’ Roses noted, “Louise knows what people want, combining high quality vintage with recent fashion.”

So what did we see? My inherent preference for menswear made me realise that this fair was a lot better than the last one in terms of men’s items. The recent explosion of men’s fashion following the purported ‘Menaissance’ has established two major milestones for men’s clothing: formal is the new casual, and it’s all in the fit. The former proved itself with the vast array of blazers, men’s smart accessories and evening dress; the latter was evident in the sheepskin coats in actually decent sizes.

There was also an abundance of glistening jewellery, some pretty cool Vogue vintage prints, and cakes in the grand assembly room, courtesy of ‘Mabel’s Vintage Tea’.

Women’s clothing also seemed a big hit, even from the most unlikely of customers, as friends shopping for Magdalen’s Dragons and Drag-Queens bop seemed to prove.  There were a few unexpected gems including two royal red Coldstream Guards ceremonial uniforms, made famous by The Libertines, which when worn un-slashed by non-servicemen is worthy of arrest. After much deliberation by two Somervillians, it seemed they were willing to attain criminal records for the sake of fashion. Their commitment to the cause is absolutely lauded here in the OxStu.

If you are reading this then there is a pretty high chance you were also there. If you weren’t, my advice to you is to ensure you save the date of the next one. Better yet, as LouLou’s Vintage Fair operates in 38 UK cities, you are never too far from the popular travelling show. Hit up LouLou’s website, check out their local fairs and grab yourself a saving.

Photos by Liberty King