Sunday, January 8, 2012

Brighton, England: The North Laines and Vintage Heaven

The odd person at home will call me a hippy because of the way I live my life traveling, working random jobs and pretty much being a free spirit. The title doesn’t really suit me though. At times you can find me on beaches and in hammocks hanging out with the cannabis smoking, dread locked types. I will don a wraparound silk India skirt, wear a sea shell necklace and let the sun rays wash over me but one of the things that differentiates me from my macramé making friends is that I love fashion and I love to shop. Well that and I shower every day and shave my legs, arms and lady bits.

I should say I love style because I don’t follow any specific fashion trends. I find pieces from all over the world that are very uniquely me. The best feeling in the world for a self-professed gypsy fashionista is when someone comments on an article of clothing and asks where you got it from and you can reply, “Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Colombia, England…” I revel in that disappointed look in their face when they realize my amazing piece of clothing is completely unobtainable to them and I give them my sly smug smile when I apologize.

Recently I have been really into vintage shops and I was very exciting to scour the amazing Vintage shops I heard England has to offer. Until this past summer I strayed away from shops that proclaimed to be “vintage” to me that meant really expensive used clothes but I discovered when I ventured into a Vintage shop in my home town called Sympathy for the Rebel that in fact they really aren’t that expensive. The shop hand picks pieces from different decades and different styles from rock, mod, indie, and hipster. This is just one little amazing shop in my small city and I was elated with shopper’s joy but could you imagine my excitement when my Brighton girlfriends brought me to the Lanes in their city.

The Lanes are a pattern of narrow streets and alley ways that form the original fishing village. Today there are two sections of the Lanes; the higher end fashion shops and residential area which makes it way down to the seafront and then the North Laines which is a bohemian village home to cafes, bars, theatres, independent designer shops, vintage shops and bric-a-brac antique shops. You can have an organic vegan breakfast in a café then browse a shop that is entirely dedicated to Alice in Wonderland, find an altered vintage piece of clothing in Dirty Harry’s and wander through Snooper's Paradise flea market.

The place was definitely hippy, gypsy, bohemian or whatever the heck you want to call it or me. I loved it and I spent the next week migrating there every day while my friend was at her Uni classes. I would sip chai tea in a café called Capers while the rain came down then I spent the day browsing shops and trying to score a good vintage find…because there is an fine art to vintage shopping. You have to have a keen eye, at times items on a rack amongst all the other Psychedelic bold colours and styles of the past can look completely…how should I say it…. revolting. You have to look at everything in a shop individually and keeping in mind articles of clothes you already own that would complement it. It's probably best not to go all out completely vintage; mix up the pieces with normal fashions and everyday clothes.

The best thing about some of the Laines shops was that they have resident seamstress designers who alter clothes from back in the day such as old high waisted jean shorts and t-shirts making it into a new unique item. They were also good at window display designs which I always fall for. I walk often walk into a store all the time asking for what the mannequin is wearing but it is a studied art form and a very effective marketing and sales technique.

The Laines are among the many reasons why I fell in love with Brighton. It somewhat reminded me of the artesian neighbourhood of San Telmo in Buenos Aires minus the tango dancers. Finding a place like this wherever I travel is like finding a little home for my gypsy heart in every city.

1 comment:

  1. It's really great to spend holiday vacation with this such kind of accommodation.

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