I ADORE the Vintage Village! Literally half of the items in my wardrobe are from one of the many fantastic traders there, and my house is full of the many trinkets that are always on offer; from foot stools to magazine racks, eggs cups to ornaments and everything in between.
I have been one of the Finder’s of The Fair, my creative social network has increased massively since my first visit back in 2010 and the genuine friends I have made from my Vintage Village link is amazing. All in all it is safe to say I cannot speak more highly of the place. And the fact that it brought back to life the market hall that I have always loved is the icing on the cake.
The gem in Stockport Market’s crown, Vintage Village is well worth a visit. So much more than just shopping, it’s a social event and a lesson in design and style history. Running on the second sunday of every month, the next Vintage Village is this weekend. So I got together with Sarah, one of the market organisers, to find out more.
Hi Sarah. Can you tell Manchester’s Finest readers about Vintage Village?
The Vintage Village is a monthly event held at Stockport’s delightful Victorian gem, the Covered Market Hall. It’s a vintage fair that offers pretty much every type of vintage goods – clothing, accessories, jewellery, homeware, furniture, decorative items, toys, luggage, textiles, collectables – lightly peppered with a judicious selection of locally made crafts and upcycled vintage pieces. There’s also occasional live entertainment – the massed ranks of the Stockport Ukelele Players were a recent highlight – film shows and excellent, freshly prepared hot food available all day.
And what role do you play in it?
I’m pretty much a Jack of all trades. Here’s an incomplete list: I created the website and maintain it, manage our Twitter and Facebook presence, deal with most of the booking enquiries and admin, come up with ideas and research for future fairs, develop ideas for poster designs, write copy for press releases and articles, and generally try to ensure things are done when they need to be done. With varying degrees of success, it must be said.
How long has it been running?
Our first fair was in September 2010, and we recently celebrated our third birthday with a gorgeous cake, which Stuart Thornley Cake Design sprang on us as a lovely surprise. Stuart started with us in our early days as a part-timer with a job, and has now gone full time as a professional baker and is doing pretty well. We couldn’t possibly take credit for such a talented chap pursuing his dream vocation, but it’s a good story.
Stuart started with us in our early days as a part-timer with a job, and has now gone full time as a professional baker and is doing pretty well
And why did you decide to start up Vintage Village?
Our intention from the start was to present the kind of fair we would like to go to ourselves, with an emphasis on genuine vintage goods at least 20 years old, because we think ‘vintage’ should mean vintage. We also try to ensure that there’s always plenty of things to interest the chaps too.
Our intention from the start was to present the kind of fair we would like to go to ourselves and we also try to ensure that there’s always plenty of things to interest the chaps too
Of course, we’re very proud of Stockport, and gratified that a lot more people have now discovered the wonderful, picturesque architecture of the market area and old town as a result of coming to The Vintage Village. There’s also quite a cluster of vintage retail businesses nearby which have sprung up since we started our fair. For vintage enthusiasts there’s now plenty of good reasons to come here which simply didn’t exist three years ago.
We’re very proud of Stockport, and gratified that a lot more people have now discovered the wonderful, picturesque architecture of the market area and old town as a result of coming to The Vintage Village
So, why vintage?
Good question! I could query the whole concept of ‘vintage’ since it has been so diluted by opportunistic marketing – in fact, it is now a tiresomely overused marketing term for all kinds of newly manufactured goods that aren’t remotely vintage at all. Anyway, let’s put that discussion aside or I’ll get agitated.
I grew up on vintage, or, as it was known in earlier days, second-hand. That’s what you bought if you couldn’t afford new gear, and as a result it had an unfortunate social stigma. That attitude is long gone, and it’s now a positive and informed choice. And you get ecological brownie points because you’re re-using things that still have plenty of life in them.
I grew up on vintage, or, as it was known in earlier days, second-hand. That’s what you bought if you couldn’t afford new gear, and as a result it had an unfortunate social stigma. That attitude is long gone, and it’s now a positive and informed choice
Despite all the commercial band-wagon jumping, buying attractive, authentic vintage pieces is a shrewd move, especially in these difficult economic times. With the added bonus that, if you buy well, your purchases may even accrue in value over time.
And why do you think vintage is such a big hit currently?
There’s been a regular cycle of ‘buzzes’ about vintage since the mid-1960s at least. Every generation since seems to rediscover it in some form.
Also, there’s always been a hard core of vintage aficionados, many of them meticulous perfectionists who are devotees of, for example, 1940s wartime or 1960s Mod styles. These people are impervious to trends, and all the more admirable for being so.
These people are impervious to trends, and all the more admirable for being so. Their example shows that you should buy what you like, not what you think you should like. And there aren’t any rules – mix it up with new buys, mix up eras, just go with what you love
Their example shows that you should buy what you like, not what you think you should like. And there aren’t any rules – mix it up with new buys, mix up eras, just go with what you love.
What can people expect from Vintage Village?
A visitor to the Vintage Village will have up to 70 stalls of vintage goods to go at – we monitor the mix so there’s always a good variety, and, whilst we do have plenty of regular stall holders, the roster is constantly changing with new traders every month.
You will encounter a lot of very friendly and helpful stall holders who love chatting with interested visitors and sharing their wealth of information and experience. It’s a social event as much as a shopping opportunity, and I can’t tell you how many friendships have been forged during our fairs.
It’s a social event as much as a shopping opportunity, and I can’t tell you how many friendships have been forged during our fairs
It’s also a bit of a fashion parade, something we positively encourage. We consider it the biggest compliment to our event that some people dress up to the nines to attend. Especially if they’re wearing gear they bought at a previous fair!
Each monthly market is themed isn’t it? How do you go about selecting the themes?
There is a fairly logical process for picking our themes – ideally they should be locally/regionally relevant and pegged to a date on or near our fair day.
Failing that we’ll go for an international vintage-era theme that suits. And failing that we’ll just go “OK, it’s our Easter fair”!
But I do conduct a lot of research about each theme, and I’m very keen to share information about eminent local people, landmarks and businesses that are worth remembering. For example: the amazing Sabrina, Stockport’s own icon of glamour; The Toggery the coolest supplier of bespoke menswear for bands nationwide in the 1960s; The Plaza, Stockport’s incredible Art Deco landmark.
I’m very keen to share information about eminent local people, landmarks and businesses that are worth remembering
We pursue each theme to an extent depending on budget (negligible to zero) and time (equally negligible). I wish we had more resources to do full justice to our themes, but the bottom line is that is has to be a good vintage fair.
Can you tell me about the MANY stallholders you have?
We are in awe of our stallholders. They constantly amaze us with their fantastic stock and displays. There’s every type from someone trying to clear their grandma’s house on their weekends off, to avid collectors who have decided that they need to downsize a bit and reclaim their spare bedroom, to experienced professional sellers with extensive stock (and equally extensive knowledge).
We’re keen to encourage new traders, and we’re super thrilled to welcome the old hands who help raise the standards.
Where is it held, and why did you choose that location?
Full credit to my colleague Alan, who saw the potential of Stockport’s beautiful Victorian Covered Market Hall as the perfect venue for a vintage fair. He took the initiative and approached Stockport market’s manager, Paul Downs, with the idea of using the market hall on a Sunday, when it was normally closed – this had never been done before. And Paul had the courage to go with that idea and support us as we launched. I’ve also got to give a big salute to Esther Morrison of SMBC [Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council] too, whose energetic backing and constructive suggestions made all the difference.
Full credit to my colleague Alan, who saw the potential of Stockport’s beautiful Victorian Covered Market Hall as the perfect venue for a vintage fair
The second Sunday of every month throughout the year, 10.00 am to 4.00 pm.
What makes Vintage Village special?
That’s a hard one! I’ve always felt strongly that you should look after your stall holders, because if they’re happy then everyone’s happy. That’s why I started the Finds Of The Fair, which showcases some of the fabulous items our traders offer, as well as providing a really interesting insight into what some of our talented and creative visitors are seeking out. Stall holders can also have their own free Trader’s Page on our website. The spotlight is on them, rather than us, because they are the ones who make the show.
We’ve been very lucky to have such a beautiful venue, the covered market hall, which really sets the tone. And we’ve been equally lucky with the marvellous crowd we attract! It’s a relaxed, inclusive, friendly atmosphere with lots of unique bargains to be had.
The next Vintage Village is this sunday in Stockport’s Covered Market Hall. To keep up to date with The Vintage Village visit their website and follow their Facebook and Twitter. You can read an early review of The Vintage Village here.
Interview by Anne Louise Kershaw