As Friday was my birthday and I have long ago told Elder that I prefer to buy my own gift, this year he bunged me cash and I was rather chuffed.
A few weeks back, we got a flyer from Oxfam Record store about a new event coming to Reading Hexagon.
It’s called Vintage Weigh and Pay, and the idea is you pay a few pounds to come in and there is rails and tables with 6 tonnes (yes, 6 whole tonnes) of actual vintage gear for you to look through. A Kilogram is £15, and you get given a lightweight bag on entry.
As someone who loves vintage, loves a bargain and had previously enjoyed the swishing party phenomenon a few years back, I decided to go along.
Vintage Weigh and Pay has a website and is linked to several social media accounts as you’d expect, showing off the previous events around the country and picking folk out who had bagged bargains.
On their site, they link to a Facebook album where they show the types of stuff they get and what you can expect to pay for it.
Spotting lots of vintage sportswear (Elder being a massive fan of vintage Adidas), Doc Martens, little sixties shift dresses and seventies fancy stuff, I was all ready to bag some serious wardrobe deals for cheap prices.
The fact it was promised as being “Grade a” in quality made me happy too- there’s nothing worse than buying a vintage piece only to find rips, holes, or missing buttons which are impossible to replace without a time machine.
Grade A means its the type of stuff that may not be classed as brand new, obviously but is in very good condition, not ready for the bin.
We decided to get there for the Early Bird 10am start, paying £3 per adult to do so. We figured that it would hopefully be less busy that early as we were bringing the Brats- in fact, Mini wanted to find some dresses and things for herself and being near on ten and still rather tall and Twiggy like, we felt she’d find it easy too.
The good thing about the event was it was in a good central location, at our local theater, right on the bus link, and with a coffee shop to boot- as it was bloody freezing! It’s also on the ground floor so accessible if you need it to be.
We walked in and there was several rails, split by men’s and women’s. There was a table haphazardly taken up by handbags and Converse trainers, and it was easy to maneuver round the room by shirts, jumpers, dresses and jeans.
To be honest though, I was slightly disappointed once I started looking through the rails.
It was more jumble sale than Vintage.
We have a shop in Reading, called Harper and Lewis. It sells some vintage but most is “re- imagining” of vintage pieces, which is fine, as they advertise that that is what you’ll get.The stuff on offer at the Vintage Weigh and Pay was cheaper, but more or less the same as the store.
When I’m looking for vintage, due to my time helping out at the Salvation Army shop and helping out Jane who ran it back then, I have learnt what labels to look for or at least what labels looked like back then. If I’m honest, I wasn’t seeing any of these labels anywhere.
The Converse for starters whilst varied in colour, were all more or less a size 5,6 or 10. They also, for the most part, sadly, looked well passed a time when you could wear them, one lady I was rummaging next to mentioned that they looked like someone had “bagged up trainers left after Reading Festival last year” and she wasn’t far off the mark. As this was what Elder had specifically come for- as per the website and album on Facebook- finding no Adidas, no Doc Martens and not even Converse in his size bar a pair that looked ready for a bin was disappointing.
The men’s stuff was pretty horrendous to be fair- I’ve seen better at my local Barnados.(That’s not a lie- I picked up a pair of true vintage Adidas Gazelle in my local one for £1.99, they are mint and I offered to pay extra!). Yes, there was rails of Flannel shirts but those can be picked up pretty easily and just as cheap in second hand stores.
On their website, they suggest they have items from across the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. Really? Not one pair of flares. Not one maxi dress akin to a disco in the 70s. No knitted sex kitten jumpers or skirts.
Copies of Denim dungarees are NOT vintage originals and were more Slim Shady than Second Summer of Love.
I know they can’t guarantee what they’ll have, but listing tables of “accessories” and finding one with handbags I probably stuck in for the rag guy in my second hand shop days was really crap to be honest.
The only person who ended up finding anything was Mini!
She pulled out one of the few vintage label pieces I saw- a C&A knit sailor dress with Olympic rings on the pocket. Even so, this smelt revolting, and was certainly not Grade A, it was quite bobbly, but after handwashing it and using a blunt razor I managed to salvage it. She also found a later version of a swing dress, although we’ll need to find a belt as that was missing too.
Altogether, we spent nearly £37, which I thought was mental. I did think it was too much, and I was right.
Another website promise is that all jackets and coats wont cost more than £15, yet Elder was charged £19 for his. £4 may not be much but it was yet another false promise on their flash website.
To say I am disappointed is an understatement. And the feeling was shared by other’s who were vocal by the rails on how bad it was, the smell of the clothing and the fact we felt cheated.
Would I go again?
I think you get better items for around the same price in second hand stores and at jumble sales.
Vintage Weigh and Pay- a total rip off that left me in need of febreeze and wondering why on earth I dragged us all out in snow so early in the morning.