Why Vintage is Mintage in Manchester

So ever since I became an overly cocky, self assured but at the same time crippingly self conscious teenager I’ve been interested in things that are vintage. Though since coming out the other end of teen angst a few years ago, my interests in vintage have swayed more towards trinkets and furniture rather than 3 paisley printed scarfs for £10.

I was home at the weekend in Manchester, and in my opinion, the home of proper vintage. I’m not saying the term we used was coined there, or even that it’s got the best shops for it, but it has got one thing, a good balance. People whack the vintage label on anything and put the price up by £20 and people will pay, thinking they are getting a true bargain, or if not a bargain, they’re parting with this cash for an overpriced item because it’s ‘vintage’ That’s what I’ve found since vintage shopping in London anyway.

Two years ago, the sudden desire to own a fedora with a little fish hook feather overpowered me and I dragged my friend Musty to Portobello Market so I could seek one out. Now anyone who knows me quite well will know that I have a child’s sized head; a pea head if you will. I just can’t get hats to fit, and if I find one, oh boy am I snapping it up. So I found a hat that fits me kind of as long as I’m not going anywhere windy (good job I moved from Lancaster) but the guy tells me it’s £25 because it’s ‘true vintage’. Yeah? ‘True vintage’ you say? I didn’t know true vintage was made in china and stuck on the inside of the hat. Naturally, on principle I didn’t buy it.

Whilst living my teen years in Manchester, me and friend would regularly visit haunts on Oldham Street such as Ryan Vintage for £15 Fred Perry’s, Retro Rehab for £1 sale rail cocktail dresses and the £3 and under for well, £3 and under clothes. These were the days when you were paying max £10-15 for a Ralph Lauren shirt and £4 on a pair of vintage boots was a splurge. Then came the invasion of vintage chain brands like COW who somehow got away with charging £20 for a ‘vintage’ tie dye t-shirt and £40 for a pair of worn out moccasins.

Moving to London, I know ‘vintage’ is more expensive, it’s a tourist commodity, places like Portobello Market and Carnaby Street and you know what I don’t blame companies wanting to make more bang for their buck I really don’t. But it means I just don’t buy vintage anymore. Instead you’ll find me shopping around for Burberry bargains on eBay or going to an East End charity shop.

When I visited home this past weekend, my mum told me of a ‘Vintage Emporium’ that had popped up at Pear Mill in Stockport. Now Stockport doesn’t pop up at me when I think of ‘Vintage Emporium’ and neither does Pear Mill; a place I used to get dragged around looking at pine furniture in the early noughties. But I was really quite pleasantly surprised by the turn out.

You walk up to this part of the mill which towered over by the great old chimney and soot stained brick from years gone by and it’s quite quaint in it’s own little way. Inside, everything is set out in little shop styled format, a common theme any vintage rummager will know. But what really stood out about this place was the prices. Dresses from upwards of £7, shoes from as low as £8, trinkets and jewellery all £2,£3 and £5, little pieces of history.

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The place was full of objects of character such as the three piece suite below, and a beautiful Indian hand painted wardrobe. Chests and trunks going for £60 instead of the £250 I’d seen weeks earlier in Portobello. One thing is for sure, as soon as I get my own place, I’m renting a van and sweeping this place of it’s amazing vintage furniture from eras spanning the 20th century.

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This place is full of vintage delights and at the prices that vintage should be. The products still show the quality of their make, and I didn’t spot one item that I thought more on the gross end of vintage, no raggedy Brick Lane scarfs here. Being an old mill, the place adds character to the items, even with it’s bare walls and wooden floors, it feels like stepping back in time, especially when you see the psychedelic fitting rooms. All in all, a pure vintage delight, and I walked away with some mustard crocodile shoes for £14.

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And the good news? The place is expanding to upstairs and to celebrate the grand opening, they’re holding a fashion show this Saturday 2nd May at 2pm, if you’re up North, it’s definitely worth dropping by. Info and tickets can be found here on their Facebook.

RTS Futures Event – I Made It In Digital – 27/04/2015

rts

Attending this event last night with my friend and co-founder of an exciting new venture, I expected the same kind of deal from an RTS Futures event, a whole lot about what you can do in the future but not a lot about how to get there.

However this appointment hosted at The Hospital Club put forward a panel that in the world of digital are golden and the best part is, it was young people giving advice to other young people, older people and anyone that has an interest in digital people.

On the panel hosted by the ever entertaining and BBC Radiobabe Alice Levine was Steve Bartlett, a 22 year old (and definite heartthrob) entrepreneur, successful on the back of the UK’s largest influencer marketing agency Social Chain; Fleur De Force one of YouTube’s highest viewed beauty and style vloggers; Dan Biddle, Head of Broadcast Partnerships @Twitter (and resident funny guy too); and the ever so fashionable Kat Hebden who heads up the teams for the UK brands you might have heard of such as X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent. Together this super panel promised to deliver to us young hopefuls, the chance to understand why they themselves made it in digital, but also why their business models made it too.

A summary of points from the panel-

Branding-

  • Building yourself up as a commodity takes time and means you have to be proactive on yourself. No one to tell you what to do and when to do it but yourself.
  • Being passionate about your content is as important as the content itself, if you’re not, it shows.
  • Adapt your skills as you go along. Just because you don’t know anything about X,Y,Z doesn’t mean you can’t learn it along the way and incorporate these new skills later on.
  • There is pressure to deliver good content, make sure the content is fitting in with the brand’s (whether a person or product) personality is the first step.

Broadcast Vs Digital

  • The speed of decisions is different; you can be much more reactionary. You can find out about a topic or product, review it and plug it all in the same day in a matter of hours.
  • You can go back on digital by deleting. Something doesn’t get a good reaction? Delete. Something doesn’t get a reaction at all? Delete.
  • With digital you can pay attention to audience feedback and this can generate new ideas as well as make decisions on future projects.

Questions to ask yourself

  • How am I/my product/my brand relevant to my chosen audience?
  • Am I consistent with promoting myself/my product/my brand?
  • Is my content engaging and starting a conversation among my chosen audience?

Things to remember

  • Don’t be the cool dad on Twitter trying to get down with the kids. Be yourself and this will show with how you appear online.
  • Don’t watch other people’s/brands content and replicate, or think that’s how it should be done, find your own niche.
  • Don’t be afraid to just do it. If it doesn’t work, that’s why there’s a big Delete button.

I think the discussion was summed up very well by Kat Hebden who said. ‘Content online will change along with how we consume’. Digital is an ever changing world/cyberspace and there’s no better time to join in and give it a go in whatever shape or form.

The next RTS Event is First Dates: Falling in Love with Ideas being held just round the corner from the BBC on Hallam Street on Monday 11th May and tickets can be purchased for £10 from the RTSFutures Website here.

I’m not fat shaming…I’m fat shaping

Okay I wasn’t going to comment on it, but my stupid everyone-has-to-hear-my-opinion nature got the better of me, so I’m going to talk about whether being Fat is Fabulous and I’ll open up very bluntly and honestly with no…no it’s not. You might remember I did a post a few weeks ago surrounding the controversy of Tess Holliday becoming the first ‘Plus Size’ or what we actually call ‘clinically obese’ model. There’s been a debate today in the news whether we should call fat women fabulous and the only answer to this question is no, no we bloody well should not.

Jameliaa got slammed this week for kind of maybe a little bit but not really saying FAT PEOPLE ARE HIDEOUS BURN ALL OF THE CLOTHES THAT SHOPS SELL OVER SIZE 20, and then I heard some guy on BBC Radio London this morning saying JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE IS SIZE 24 DOESN’T MAKE THEM UNNATTRACTIVE. Umm, perhaps it doesn’t make them unattractive, beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all but scientifically if someone is a size 24 by choice, they are literally hammering nails into their own coffin. No one became a size 24 from eating celery and having a tuna steak with grilled veg for dinner. When I used to work in Topshop I would constantly be asked why leggings were not stocked in sizes upwards of a size 16, and I had to point customers down the road to Evans who ‘specialised’ in bigger sizes. I’m not condoning Topshop not selling clothes upwards of size 16, but I’m not condemning them either. Like Jamelia said, we should as a nation, be promoting a healthy body image, one that isn’t obsessed with being a size 0 and one that’s not lost control of eating habits and ended up a size 24.

I’m sick of beating around the bush and feeling bad for saying the truth that everyone knows. Being fat is not fabulous. In fact it’s bad. It’s bad on your heart, it’s bad for your bones and it’s bad on your self esteem. You get the odd jolly fat person who’s bubbly and ‘totally comfortable with their size’, but are they really? Are you telling me you don’t wish that you could be a healthy size for your height? At 5″7, I’m classed as tall for a woman, and I’m around 9 1/2 stone, give or take a few pounds depending on how the stress eating is going. I wouldn’t say I was fat, but I’m certainly not at the weight I want to be and was when I was 17 (god damn that young metabolism!). Now I’m not going to sit here and say I’m the knowledge on health and exercise, I eat quite well and I go running probably not as many times a week as I should and I occasionally buy a muffin from the canteen but I know that for me, personally, I would like to lose a little weight. I’ve watched my best friend lose 3 stone over the course of a year and never look or feel better, I’ve been out with someone who beat the bulge and went for 16 stone to 11 stone and they are both people close to me that I saw change not only what they ate and how much exercise they did, but the changes they made to their lifestyles.

As much as smoking and drinking and going out all the time tends to be the lifestyle of most students and homeless vagrants, getting up earlier and going for a light jog in the morning can be too. But so can sitting on your arse, feeling sorry for yourself and eating another cake to continue a cycle of not doing anything about it. Before I get any hate comments saying that I’m fat shaming, I’m not,I’m fat shaping. I know that some people have thyroid problems which impacts their weight and some people have syndromes such as Prada Willi and I get that, I totally do, we’re not just one big pile of statistical data that we can take presumptions from, but what we are as a collective is human beings and as human beings we deserve to respect our bodies.

We’ve been bombarded by media tempting us with sugary food and drink and quick fix meal options for too long and this stupid national myth that eating healthy is expensive! I went to my local market last week and I bought all my salad and veg for the week, 4 chicken breasts, a loaf of bread and stopped off in Sainsbury’s to get some yoghurt for dessert and it cost me £13. £13 to eat healthy for a week, it really isn’t hard, you just have to think outside of the (pizza)box. We need to use our own mediums of new media to be able to help ourselves eat better and live better; there are more food bloggers on the internet and apps like Instagram than ever before and we need to take advantage of these delicious and wholesome recipes that are FREE for us to use, the inspiration really is endless.

Here are a few of my favourite food blogs and instagram accounts to follow-

Plantfuel_

Deliciously Ella

The Body Coach

7 Ways To Be Happy And Not Lonely In London

I read today that 1 day of loneliness is equivalent damage to your health as 15 cigarettes. Sometimes we’re lonely and we don’t want to say we’re lonely so we pretend that everything’s okay and the biggest culprit of spanning this loneliness is moving to a new city, especially after being at university living out of each other’s pockets for 3 years.
When I first moved to London 2 years ago, I was fresh out of University and standing on the underground platform at Kings Cross waiting to endure my morning commute. The platform was rammo with people but I remember thinking that if a pin dropped now, I’d still be able to hear it. No one was speaking, it sounded like no one was even breathing, and it was then that I thought London was a lot lonelier than I’d imagined.
Sometimes London does this thing to you when you need to surround yourself with people to drown out pressures of work, struggles with finances and living in a demanding city but no matter how much partying and boozing you can do in London, you don’t always shake off that lonely feeling. Bar one friend from University, I didn’t know a single person in London and I often found that before I knew it I was sat in on a Saturday evening having binge watched Netflix all day and getting ready for round 2, and that often made me feel really lonely, and tired, and upset.
So, I thought I’d come up with 7 things that you can do in London to keep yourself happy and not feel lonely, even if you’re doing things by your physical self. If you can think of any other ideas please leave a comment with your suggestion below- I’d love to hear everyone’s else’s ideas for fun on your own!
1. Go to a Graveyard
Ok, so a graveyard doesn’t exactly scream ‘wild party!’ and actually springs to mind as a rather lonely place but one of the first things I did when I moved to London was go on a tour of Highgate Cemetery just up from Archway Station. If you think of all the people in London, and then think of all the dead people in London, think about how many of them are famous. From Karl Marx to William Blake, there’s a hell of a lot of dead famous people dotted in graveyards across London. I was walking through a small graveyard as a short cut when I was scouting some venues in the Farringdon area and I came across William Blake’s gravestone, just there, poking out of the ground. The tour at Highgate was fantastic, a little eerie (obvs) but weirdly, despite death being a seemingly lonely experience, it really was far from it.
2. Talk to a stranger
Now, use your judgement here, because I’m definitely not advocating stranger danger; just be aware of your surroundings Lots of people work in similar fields in London, take the media industry for example, talk to someone at one of the industry events you paid a £15 ticket for, hand out business cards. Chances are you probably cross paths with these people more than you think, it’s healthy for business to network and it’s even healthier for the ind. About a year ago I was sat on a train going up North when I heard a girl who looked a similar age to me talking about working in TV production. After earwigging for a bit I plucked up the courage to ask her her name, added her on Facebook and we’ve been ‘proper’ friends since then, all because I spoke to a stranger on a strain. (Also, watch Strangers on a Train, great movie).
3.  Go to a Lecture
When I left University. I was both happy and sad that I’d never have to sit in on a lecture again; but actually they’re a great way to fill up an evening, learn something new and maybe meet some new friends along the way. Kings College London do some great free public lectures on subjects from politics to poetry.
4. Go to a Market
London is the place to be for markets. From fresh fruit and veg to vintage clothes and pretty flowers, there is a market for every taste. Notting Hill specialises in trinkets and fashion items, music and beer, Borough MArket is the place to get some of the best street food dishes, Columbia Road offers the prettiest blooms in the capital and Brixton is full of vibrancy, dancing and cheap plantain. Usually crammed with people and a colourful, sensual experience, hitting up a market on your own for a couple of hours really shows and opens you up to the heart of London cultures.
5. Go Sightseeing
You’re in London. Chances are you work 9-5 anyway and will never get to see the likes of Big Ben or Kew Gardens. Pack a sandwich and make it your mission to visit a new site, even if you just do one in a weekend, I can guarantee it will swell you with London pride that you just can’t get rid of.
6. Go to Interactive Theatre
I went to Punchdrunk’s The Drowned Man last June and I had a great time experiencing Promenade theatre for the first time. I didn’t know what to expect and the great thing about promenade theatre is that it’s about immersing yourself into the experience as a whole. This means that you’re encouraged to break away from whoever you arrived with and go through the experience alone, to create a completely unique and tailored experience for yourself.
7. Go and join a club
Whether it’s ballet, or judo or indoor rock climbing, joining a club will enhance your social life, your stamina and your outlook on living in London. You’ll meet people who are joining a club to do something they love and interact with others who share the same interests at the same time. You can scout your local council website for more information on local get togethers, search on Facebook and Twitter and google the shit out of it because it’s London and if you can find a beginner’s ballet class less than a mile from your house, you can probably find a dungeons and dragons warlord special gaming group pretty easily too.
All my images are from Google and you better love them as much as me.