Words and images by Hannah ShillitoIf us bona fide vintage fashionistas know anything it’s this; Brighton is the Holy Grail for all things vintage. A haven for glitz, glamour, kitsch and old school paraphernalia, I challenge any vintage lover not to fall in love at first sight upon stepping off the train at the lively seaside resort.
It was with great glee that I set off from London to Brighton on a gorgeously sunny summer’s day to meet up with my fabulous models Sam, 30, a travel writer, and restaurant critic Rhys, 29 – who are both based in Brighton. I also recruited my beautiful friend Katie, 31, a fine artist based in the Middle East, who pops over every year to catch up on the art and vintage scene in London and has long loved her yearly trips to beautiful Brighton.
As we trawled the world-famous Lanes and seafront, snapping pics and polaroids (my new vintage obsession) we stumbled upon an assorted array of trinket shops, market stalls, antique fairs and retro watering holes. That’s before I even had chance to stop and admire/gawk at the famous Brightonian creatively and flamboyantly dressed locals.
To be honest, it’s hard to know where to even begin with listing where to go, you can fall off the train and on to the Lanes, and be within millimetres of vintage heaven whichever way you turn, but here are some of our tips for a glamorous vintage day out in one of Britain’s favourite seaside towns…
1st Floor Snooper’s Paradise
7-8 Kensington Gardens
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am – 6pm / Sunday and Bank Holidays 11am – 4pm
“Everyone has a story to tell”, reads the tagline outside this delightful arcade of vintage goods and – my goodness – this loft really does have a thousand stories nestled within all its nooks and crannies. This is a wonderland of vintage creativity and delight; it’s hard not to want to spend hours sifting through the feather boas, accessories and designer goods.
42 Vine Street
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 10am – 6pm / Thursday 10am – 7pm / Sunday 11am – 6pm
Perhaps the most predictable of the bunch (I added the Hackney Beyond Retro to one of my previous articles), I still love to visit whichever store in the chain is in any city, and Brighton’s Beyond Retro doesn’t disappoint. The turnover in stock is immense with seasonal styles being updated regularly and the costs are never too hard on the purse strings. Check out the analogue photo booth in the back – it’s one of a handful in the UK and VERY popular with all the young trendies who pop in there during their scavenges of the eclectic store aisles.
6 Sydney Street
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10am to 6.30pm / Sun 11am to 5.30pm
This is another HUGE vintage emporium, guaranteed to satisfy any vintage lover. It spans over three floors and is known for it’s cheap affordable rails and very friendly staff. If you love vintage Americana, this is the place for you!
18 Kensington Gardens
Opening times: Monday – Sat, 10am – 6pm
Second hand book lover? For all things “literary vintage” you HAVE to stop by here and travel back in time to appreciate the delight of more old books in one place than you have probably ever seen before (don’t be misled by the outside, it’s huge inside!) Mmmm, the smell of old books… yum!
Brighton Open Market
Where: two main entrances – one is located on Marshalls Row, just off London Road, the other is on Ditchling Road, just across from The Level. For details of when the Market is on and what is happening when you get there, check out http://www.brightonopenmarket.co.uk/
According to the website, “the historic Open Market underwent a major redevelopment in 2014 and is now home to over 50 of Brighton’s most talented and knowledgeable local producers and creators.” That being said, it is well worth a visit to see all of the vintage crafts, fashions, textiles and antiques while feasting upon all of the culinary (organic, locally produced naturally) delights on offer. You HAVE to check out the Nine Lives vintage clothes there!
North Laine Antique and Flea Market
Where: Upper Gardner Street in the North Laine.
Opening times: Monday to Saturday 10.30am – 5.30pm, Sunday 11am – 4pm
This two storey antique market is chock-a-block with bric-a-brac and collectibles and is open every single day of the week – don’t miss it!
Cocktail bar, restaurant bar, nightclub
83 St George’s Road
For when you need a well earned cocktail and spot of entertainment after an action packed vintage day of trawling for fabulous one-offs, head to this 1920s den for ultimate decadence and old school burlesque glamour. It’s perfect for hen dos and for anyone else who loves a show with a unique twist – the cabarets are some of the most eclectic and rare in the city (and even the world) and the sumptuous surroundings guarantee a night to remember.