Thursday, 23 May 2013

Fleas Please: Angel Flea Market

What I love about flea markets is that they recognise all markets are different, and bring that all together under one roof (or sky, if it’s outside). They define the word eclectic and have the capacity to draw different audiences, communities, stallholders together. You can get your beautifully handmade designer-maker products, sift through wardrobes full of vintage and rummage through strange piles of who-knows-what.. and that’s exactly what I did at Angel Flea Market on Sunday 19th May.

The sun was shining over the Candid CafĂ© courtyard and the atmosphere reflected it. The market, which had taken over Candid Arts Trust for the day, was brimming with families, individuals and casual passers-by who happened to be taking a stroll through Angel on this sunny Sunday.  This reiterates my sentiments exactly; flea markets are great because they can and do attract individuals from all walks, all captivated by the magic of the stories behind the stalls.

One such stall was Oh Squirrel, a beautiful designer-maker brand that uses paper and textiles to create enchanting cards, tags, bags and others. I chatted with Katie Wagstaff, the founder, to see how she got Oh Squirrel started... it turns out from a New Year's resolution. She says:

"I have always made cards and gifts, but never had the time nor the confidence to do it on a larger scale. I dipped my toes in the pond and became hooked. On my first sale, I waited until the customer was a food few yards away before doing starjumps, I was so excited! As I got more interest, I started doing different markets, and that illusive time I struggled to find I made - it's amazing what you can do in a day! At Christmas last year I did Vintage markets in Hampstead, Angel & Spitalfields which were all incredible. However, two of my favourite events to do are very local to my home in Crouch End, which are Barboot and Harringay Market, and I have met so many of my wonderful customers this way."

One of Oh Squirrel's market stalls

What I love about Katie’s work is that they really capture the sense of old and new, imaginatively put together to create something lovely – and in essence then becomes another analogy for what the market stands for. Katie shares our love for markets: 

Being a Yorkshire girl, I was brought up around markets, and some of my fondest childhood memories are of hunting for fabrics and trims on Wakefield market. When I started to sell my products, the first channel I went through was markets, and a year on it still remains my favourite way of selling. I love meeting my customers, and it always surprises me at how broad the spectrum is! It's great to meet other traders too...Markets are so important as it means anyone can start selling without the expensive 'bricks & mortar' commitment, and they are a wonderful tool for building an important sense of community.

You can visit her beautiful website here.

Some of the lovely Badge Cards for sale by Oh Squirrel

After moving through the bustle of downstairs I was led by twinkling fairylights up to the bright, upper level. There was a definite studio feel here, which was most probably aided by the artworks for sale against the wall, all at a bargaintastic £5 or £10. 

Art for £5, anyone?
There was a lovely eating and seating area, brought to life by the sunlight shining through the coloured glass bottles on every table. Upstairs was where you needed to go if you were in the mood for having a proper dig through the wares of the sellers; seemingly strewn across the floor you could see movie posters next to TV screens next to wires that probably collectively fitted everything and anything – although I didn't envy anyone trying to find the wire the wanted! There was even a box of things for free; although sadly, I didn’t need any ring binders that day!

My triumph of the day was finding a striking 20s-esque bag in exchange for one five pound note. I want to arrange a night on the tiles purely so I have the chance to bring it out in public.

Seller-wise the stalls were a decent £25 and seemed to include the freedom to setup anywhere you liked – stallholders were selling their wares off radiators, on the floor and under tables. But there was nothing chaotic about this; just the vibrant atmosphere that demonstrates what fleas are about, and that draws you in to return again and again. I know I will!

Outside Candid Cafe

Hollye Murphy 

Monday, 13 May 2013

Clerkenwell Vintage Fair

Yesterday, I Love Markets attended the Clerkenwell Vintage Fair at The Old Finsbury Town Hall. Now, being a lover of vintage clothing, this place resembled some sort of heaven. Situated in the large and very extravagant town hall, it was the perfect place to house all of these amazing clothes. I was astonished by the variety of products up for grabs. All kinds of clothing sourced from the 1920s up to the 80s, and mostly in very good condition. My only problem was I tend to get attracted to the 1940s clothes, where the women were evidently much smaller than today!  

Beehive was there selling 40s style dresses! 

 Vintage tea dresses from the 1930s & 40s and 50s were the main attraction, with hats; fascinators; gloves and jewellery available also. One of the stalls carried vintage Chanel; Pucci; Hermes and Ossie Clarke. Although way out of my price range, I did enjoy snooping around and admiring these well kept treasures. 

5-6-7-8 Vintage was at the fair selling her beautiful hand picked vintage clothes.

My favourite aspect of the day, was seeing a tailor/alterer have her own layout. This is such a good idea, as I find the only problem with vintage clothes is that they always need a bit of altering to get them fitting exactly how you want them.

In the back of the venue, there was a tea room set up with freshly baked cakes and scones. A lady dressed in her 50s gear, sung old fashioned tunes, whilst everyone enjoyed their cups of tea. 

I would definitely recommend anyone who loves vintage clothes/accessories to give the next fair a visit. It has been probably my favourite fair so far, and I came away with two dresses and a blouse! 

Discover London's best vintage markets at I Love Markets!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

MARKETS UNITED Launches Online Shopping for London's Markets

On Sunday 5th May, we had a wide selection of Londoner's, passer-by's, tourists, and friends pile into Shoreditch Town Hall Basement to enjoy the eclectic products available to buy at Markets United. For the first time a collated collection of traders came together to represent the different markets that they trade at. Representing some of London's finest, the day was filled with good vibes and energy with lots of people browsing and buying unusual market goodies! As one trader put it, "We have met wonderful people and traders whom I don't usually meet at the Spitalfields."

The colourful Chido Bueno and their wonderful headdresses.
The first thing that caught people's attention was the unusual setting. The Shoreditch Town Hall Basement is a labyrinth of adjoining rooms, abandoned corridors and recessed nooks which traders took full advantage of when setting up our stalls. The industrial and distressed look of the venue gave us something to play around with, and made our launch different. Additional features included the London Markets Photo Exhibition, an art installation and a live music with alcohol provided by the fabulous Butler's Gin and Crate Brewery, both brewed in Hackney. 

 Above "Leaves" installation by Irma Pictures

Above, "The Discussion" by contest runner-up Bella Harwood. Taken at Brixton market

We had a variety of market stalls at our event selling lots of weird and wonderful things, including recyclable nappies, mosaics, vintage clothing, bicycles, knitwear, jewellery, kaleidoscopes and vinyl.

Here are Mosaics by Juan is Dead, available to buy online.

Above, Snakes and Fairies, available at Portobello Green Market. We love her handmade jewellery especially the ear cuffs and feather rings!

Above, Love Bessie's stall who specialises in arts and crafts such as gift cards, gift boxes and homeware, with her fabulous Fifty Shades of Dirty trilogy tea towels!

Here is a look at Narcissus Design's set up, who feature at Brick Lane's Backyard market, specialising in bespoke mirrors.

Above Mixy Fandino's stall. Her products are beautiful handcrafted jewellery from the Colombian Andes, currently selling on ILM.

Everyone loves a bit of vinyl! Find Ken from Della Record's every Saturday at Broadway market.

This is a part of Yallah Yallah's stall who normally showcases her unique finds at Portobello Green Market.

These Handmade Kaleidoscopes went down really well. They were also being engraved right there and then! They make the perfect gift!

We love! These dyed jade brackets by Elena Hall. Also Vintage by D'Burgin Fox kept punters happy and not forgetting the fabulous Amour Collier!

And we had a room filled with Full City Cycles! Ivan Angell (photo contest winner), caught a glimpse of his custom made Fixie! 
The Frenchie (below) tantalized visitors with the aroma of melted french cheese working it's way around the corridors. Live music was being enjoyed throughout the day, from musicians Dawson, Mosi Conde, Rayon, ShotGun Queen, Martha, The Hobos, Broken Boat and The Greasy Slicks. 


A BIG thank you to everyone who came down, or took part in the I Love Market's Launch Event 'Markets United' it was a great success! The event was proof that it's the PEOPLE that are so important in creating a fabulous market! 

Come and join in the online action at