At the Fair Lady Vintage Bazaar, Ruth Griffin, a fashion historian and writer, enthralls shoppers with footage from 1970 of the famed Dandelion Market. Images of the bustling market flash across the screen: people of all ages weave through the stalls, hounded by exuberant street vendors trying to grab their attention with one-of-a-kind pieces.
The footage is part of the first instalment of the bazaar, which took place last Saturday. The event was organised by Jenny Cassin and Lisa McCann, who met while working together in Dublin boutique Om Diva, with the aim of bringing a cohort of vintage traders – including Miss Daisy Blue, Vintage Finds You and Vintage Vixen – together in one place to celebrate all things unique and wonderful about their world.
Adorned with ornamental ceilings and a charming view of St Stephen’s Green from its Georgian Windows, Cliff Townhouse is certainly a fitting location for the esteemed event. Speaking to The University Times, Katherina Qualter of Galway vintage shop Candy Vintage says: “The setting offers the prestige that it deserves.”
The video’s sound isn’t working, but nobody at the bazaar seems to notice. Indeed, on the first floor of Cliff Townhouse on St Stephen’s Green, the excited hum of vintage traders and shoppers fills the room with sound, helpfully providing the missing audio to the muted archival video.
Not much has changed since the 1970s when the Dandelion Market’s popularity reached its apex. The vintage vendors of Dublin continue to deliver impassioned speeches on the rarity of each piece in their collection, and the curious passerby remains enchanted by garment and seller alike.
However, all is not rosy. The irresistible rise of fast fashion has forced Dublin’s vintage tradition to fade into the periphery of the city’s fashion culture in the face of rapid commercialisation – the Dandelion Market being one of fast fashion’s many victims.
The recent loss of Dublin Flea Christmas market is on the lips of many of the traders at the bazaar. Its demise epitomises the struggles facing independent shops in an increasingly commercialised city: primarily, a lack of funding and space. The room on St Stephen’s Green, however, quickly fills with giddy shoppers, clearly delighted by the promise of a room full of established vintage brands. This seems to offer a renewed sense of hope to counter the despondency evoked by the news of Dublin Flea Market’s passing.
Zoe Coleman of vintage brand I’ll Be Your Mirror, who successfully sells vintage clothes on both her Instagram and Etsy, has strategically set up shop beside the DJ. Coleman remarks: “Dublin needs more of this. It can be hard to find the good stuff but it’s all in the one place here.”
Similarly, Maeve Brady of Vertigo Vintage praises Cassin and McCann for organising an event for which “quality pieces” have been “carefully curated”. Each of the vendors are keen to reiterate this point: Fair Lady Vintage Bazaar is a thoughtfully conceived event, which provides a platform for quality vintage-wear, and nothing less.
There’s something slightly intoxicating about a space filled with strangers who have come together in the name of a shared love – in this case, that of quality, ornate clothing and jewellery. Just like the clothes that fill the rails, the atmosphere and concept of a vintage market is timeless. Certainly, the Fair Lady Bazaar hearkens back to the days of the Dandelion Market and might just be the beginning of an equally successful vintage venture.