Vintage Market Backstage! Bricklane Markets from the inside...
One of the organisers of the Best Vintage Market in London gives an exclusive interview to Vintage Fashion Club.
Sunday Up Vintage Market (Sunday UpMarket to be exact) is our favourite in London. Why? I blame the creative atmosphere of the area itself.
Just look to the red Double-decker bus/Cafe, The Old Truman Brewery building, the creative people: both sellers and buyers... Who creates this unique vintage environment???
Well, we found the people behind a vintage market scene. Here is one of these mysterious creators. He's answering our questions for you and even sharing some secrets...
VFC: Can you please introduce yourself, and tell us a little about the people behind the scene at the famous Shoreditch Sunday Up Market?
My name is Paul Maynard and I am one of the organizers of the various markets in and around the Brick Lane area. As well as the Sunday UpMarket, we also run the Backyard Market, Boilerhouse Food Hall, the Tea Rooms market and The Vintage Market. I work alongside my colleagues Raymond, Alphonso, Philippa, Vonnie and our manager Pia.
VFC: How did you come to manage one of the most famous vintage markets in London?
Paul: I just applied for the job! I live in the area and I love it here. I used to go the market all the time as a customer so when I saw the advert in the window I jumped at the chance to be a part of the markets.
VFC: What is the most exciting thing about your job?
Paul: Meeting hundreds of creatively minded people trying to start their own business, and helping them to do that whilst working in the best area of London.
VFC: What is your work day like?
Paul: I work full time for the markets. On a normal weekday I am responding to enquiries and always trying to find new traders for the market. On a normal Sunday I spend the morning ensuring all traders are in the correct position and happy.
On Sundays we are dealing with over 300 traders so this can be overwhelming at times! I spend the rest of the day talking to traders and ensuring the market runs smoothly.
VFC: I'm sure many fashion designers and other celebrities come to your market to get some inspiration or buy beautiful things, do you have any gossip on which celebrities visit Sunday Up?
Paul: Working on Brick Lane, and especially at the Truman Brewery, we are surrounded by fashion every day. Giles Deacon has a studio opposite our office and the offices for Fashion East are over the road. I have seen various famous faces visiting the market.
Agyness Dean, Ronnie Wood, Dustin Hoffman, Rupert Grint, Kevin Spacey and Courtney Love are people that I have either seen or have heard mention of.
VFC: How many people apply for stalls every day/week/month (please pick one)?
Paul: It depends on the time of year. We have an enquiry form on our website and we get at least 5 or 6 a day from there. And that doesn’t include people calling or coming in to the office.
VFC: How do you decide who gets to set up a stall at the market?
Paul: Before anyone trades in the market we ask to see samples of their product. We are careful to only allow traders who offer high quality original, handmade or self designed products. We organize the whole market in advance during the week which gives us the opportunity to take into account what every one is selling and arrange them in the best way possible.
VFC: Sunday Up is a vintage market not a shop, is it acceptable to bargain when you're buying something? If so, what discount would you recommend to ask for?
Paul: Some traders accept some bargaining and some don’t. I would suggest that you just try your luck! Most traders are selling products which are all handmade and some will be reluctant to reduce their prices.
VFC: How popular is retro and vintage among all the clothing and accessories on the vintage markets?
Paul: Vintage clothing is very popular in this area. Such is the demand; we have opened in the last year a large regular Vintage Market running Friday to Sunday which sits above the Sunday Upmarket on the first floor and with an entrance on Brick Lane. Our more established Vintage traders are in the Sunday Upmarket and they make up around 10% of the total stalls.
VFC: What is your opinion on why vintage fashion has become so popular?
Paul: If you buy something from the high street you know that as soon as you walk out of the shop you will see someone else wearing the same thing. Vintage fashion gives an opportunity to express individuality and own something that no else will have. You can find some amazing pieces if you are willing to look and you will usually end up paying a very fair price for it.
VFC: Do you predict that vintage fashion will become even more popular in the future?
Paul: Vintage fashion will always be around and Brick Lane will always be the best place to buy it. I think that Vintage fashion will continue to gain popularity as people realize that it is a better alternative to all of the similar stuff on offer on the high street. It is a great opportunity to recycle clothes and show a bit of personality.
VFC: What do you personally like to buy at your market?
Paul: I buy a lot of vintage clothing (mostly coats at this time of year!). It is a great place to buy lunch and buying gifts for people who enjoy design, fashion and things which are a bit edgy.
VFC: What is your advice for vintage fans visiting Bricklane markets?
Paul: Rummage! It takes a little bit of effort to find the best items but it will always be worth it. Make sure you check out the Vintage Market on the first floor, it is the best place on Brick Lane for high quality, affordable Vintage clothing. The entrance is at 85 Brick Lane (just look for the signs).
Also make sure you check out the Tea Rooms market. It is a little treasure trove of Vintage and antique finds. From furniture, cameras and record players to the best selection of vintage vinyl and hand selected vintage clothing. Not to mention the best cakes and coffee around!
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