On 14 May, 2011, stepping into Room One was like stepping decades into the past; Loughborough Students Union hosted one of the most successful Vintage Fairs the town has ever known.

With the work of legends such as The Beatles, The Jam and Johnny Cash blaring out of the sound system, a cupcake stall available directly on entry and every sequin, stone and golden trinket glistening in the Room One spotlights, it was enough to send even the biggest vintage novice into a spending frenzy.

Katie Austin organised an event that had students queuing for the chance to spend a £1 entry fee into an Aladdin’s Cave of vintage delights.

One of the difficulties with vintage fashion could be its accessibility. Some people may be intimidated by the trend; not knowing how to make the style work to suit them, or even simply be scared off by big price tags.

This event broke down these barriers, allowing anyone to enjoy the wonderful quirkiness and individual flare of the vintage world.

Well made products using beautiful, high quality materials were reasonably priced and perfect for the student consumer.

Stalls were selling everything from day to day attire, such as customised band t-shirts, hand-made summer tops, and recycled Levi’s shorts, to evening wear in the form garments completely encrusted with sequins, classic vintage trends such as 1950’s tea dresses, and an array of trinkets and treasures that would bring out the magpie in anyone.

This eased any buyer new to vintage dress into the style, and allowed them to explore the adventurous and individual comfortably and effortlessly. Prices were reasonable; the high quality materials and craftsmanship proving far cheaper than the high street’s factory made churn outs.

This event should also not be misunderstood as a feminine shopping spree; a number of stalls catered for men’s fashion, and of course, no one can resist a good cupcake.

The fair had everything to ensure that students and locals alike could be suited in the finest handmade, vintage and recycled attire. It was a celebration of unique individual dressing, which corresponded with the modishly clad consumer turn out.

Stall holders themselves were friendly and approachable, and wonderfully demonstrated how to work the fashion easily and stylishly.

Boutiques and brands came from far and wide, handpicked by the organiser. Many of which were some of Loughborough’s own vintage sellers; such as Guitars and Gladrags, Raspberry Leotard, and other stores set up by our very own students.

Katie Austin, in a beautiful floral midi skirt, shimmering cropped cover-up and a rustic brown leather satchel, was a credit to the trend. She spoke enthusiastically and cheerfully even after a painfully early start to set up, and an exhausting task of running the event.

She commented on the success of the fair: “It went better than I could have expected. We had loads of people through the door and all the vintage sellers sold lots and were happy – they all want to come back for the next one!”

On asking her of her opinions of the prevalence of a vintage scene in Loughborough, she said:“I think that now vintage has really hit mainstream fashion more and more people are interested.

“Just from walking around Loughborough you can see more and more vintage inspired outfits, especially in the art school!

“Vintage fashion is one of a kind, cheaper and better quality then the high street and good for the environment – a chic way to recycle clothes!”

Katie plans to hold future fairs in October next year, either during Fresher’s Week or just afterward. There are thoughts to provide craft workshops and knitting lessons, to fully indulge in the world of crafty culture.

For a unique, fun, interesting, brilliant and beautiful experience that is definitely in the vogue; this is the perfect way to explore new realms of the fashion world, and of course, spend a bit of that well deserved loan money.

Katie Austin is certainly a name to watch.


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