M SHED VINTAGE WEEKEND 24th/25th MARCH.
The M Shed is Bristol harbourside’s shiny new museum, that, to coin a cliché, brings the past bang up-to-date. It therefore seems an entirely appropriate venue for a celebration of 50s and 60s fashion.
Stalls selling expertly sourced clothing and accessories will be provided by South West staples Blind Lemon Vintage (both days) and Bristol’s Magpie Markets (Sunday). There’ll be Vintage Salon makeovers, portrait photography courtesy of Matilda Temperley, and if you dress the part there’s money off entry into ‘Norman Parkinson: An Eye for Fashion’, which is a rare chance to see over sixty classic fashion shots from the period. We spoke to the museum’s curator for public history, Amber Druce, who sites this exhibition as the inspiration for the event.
“It’s a combination of vintage photography, 1954-64, (from the Angela Williams Archive), and clothes and accessories from the social history collection (usually stored at Bristol’s Blaise Castle House Museum). It’s a real insight into 1950s and ‘60s fashion and we wanted our exhibition programme to bring it all to life even more.”
Vestiphobes and the frugally minded need not despair though, for there will be plenty in the way of other activities, with museum pieces and exhibits on hand for added colour and context. There will be handling objects from the era, a museum trail, and workshops for all the family. Gents should get waxing ahead of the moustache competition too! Drawing, singing and dancing will make this an interactive experience of real value, and one that coincides nicely with the annual opening of the harbour railway, yet another piece of history in action.
Events like this one represent a huge rise in the popularity of vintage fashion; Amber Druce gives us her take on that rise.
“The current interest in vintage fashion often celebrates British manufacturing and it recognises an industry that was worlds away from the transient throw away culture sometimes present on the high street. More people now appreciate the value of classic pieces and are prepared to hunt them out! Second hand, vintage, re-use, up-cycling . . . encourage a sentimental and longer shelf life of a piece of clothing whilst promoting a slightly more individual, lucky find approach to what individuals choose to wear. Most people who like vintage clothes might be subconsciously influenced by politics, and celebrating the power we have in this country to choose how we dress, but on the whole, I think a lot of us just like pretty things that we know will endure!”