LouLou’s return to Oxford Town Hall

Loulou’s Vintage Fair was back in town on Saturday the 31st…

Vintage fairs are truly experiences in themselves. The relaxed bazaar-style atmosphere, the eclectic assortment of decades and styles, the ‘most ridiculous item for sale’ treasure hunt with your friends — everything about them is so more fun and sociable than your average retail therapy. It has a special distinction from store shopping for me: the piles of outrageous jumpers, patterns and prints, textures and colours all competing for space and attention — what’s more, an abundance of fashion history. With the sheer amount of products available, everyone can find something they like; it’s an experience I would absolutely recommend to vintage virgins. And hey, even if you later suffer buyer’s regret, at least you won’t have paid a fortune for your failed fashion foray. Actually, stall owners observed a footfall recently from previous fairs here in Oxford; it seems as if we’re all feeling the pinch, as some of us were purely browsing for inspiration.

So, what was on offer? Well, one thing’s for sure – all tastes were catered to. Stalls seemed to be revelling in 80s styles, although the 60s and 70s are still going strong, with plenty of denim appearing beside piecrust collars and busy abstract prints. This is partially due to a change in the availability of older pieces, which are becoming scarcer and require more resourcefulness to find. One stall owner told me: “It is a real shame because they are a thousand times the quality.” It all comes down to the changing social ethos over time. Many people advocate vintage for its recycling aspect, for giving a piece of clothing a new lease of life; unfortunately, however, synthetic pieces are not assured to have as long a life expectancy as other materials. Still, almost every item on sale was excellently preserved.

The great advantage of this fair was that it fell in one of the coldest months, whereas the other two are held in much warmer times of the year. This led to a larger proportion of winter wear being out on show, including thicker shirts (specifically of the indie, lumberjack variety) and more knitwear in general. One lady was even bringing out home-knit crochet cardigans that were so bright they made your eyes hurt. But the overall impression I left with was the wonderful variety of clothing: traders told me that when it comes to vintage in Oxford, the more unique, the better.

This edition of Loulou’s Vintage Fair was marked by their expansion into the domain of household wares. Although these stalls maybe weren’t ideal for the student demographic, either in budget or lifestyle, they really added some visual variety to the goods on show. From collectible binoculars and old-school toys to pinup girl prints, they were a goldmine for finding birthday presents or a little something to bring some old-world charm to your own space.

I really enjoyed this vintage fair – and I hope you did too (and if you missed out, they’ll be back!). Here’s to hoping that by the next time Loulou’s in town we’ve all won the lottery, robbed a bank, or struck gold. Love you Loulou!

Image: In pastel