For shoppers, markets are a dream. Lots of sellers with specialty items (clothes, books, food, you name it) huddled together in one space at the same time. Popping in to see what’s new or fresh can be an event, especially if you are visiting some place new. London’s Alfie’s Antique Market was the inspiration for the upcoming Prague Vintage Fair in New Town Hall.
“At Alfie’s, where you can find all these vintage items, I was amazed by the idea that there was this place with all the stuff I wanted in one place,” said Tereza Schmoranz, project manager for the Prague Vintage Fair. “It was the perfect place for people like me.”
The birth of her second child gave Schmoranz a bit more time and she began working on a long-held dream to work with vintage fashion in some way. She took her Alfie’s inspiration and put her own twist and preferences on it, thinking she would put together something more like an exhibition turned department store, with beautiful vintage pieces on show and for sale. The result can be seen May 24-25 at Novoměstské radnici.
Schmoranz began her quest hunting down Prague’s vintage shops, and was surprised to find that a lot of shops claiming vintage aren’t really. She ended up with only about six, but through talking with these shops’ owners was referred to others. Her research led her to create a map (not currently available to buy) of all the real vintage shops in town and what each specializes in.
“Real vintage for me is in good condition and interesting for today’s fashion,” she said. “It’s from the years 1920s-1980s, and the most important sellers also view vintage in this way.”
As the concept continued to blossom, Schmoranz began to concretely decide on her vision. The market idea didn’t appeal so much to her; she wanted more of a department store feel. “Vintage clothes shouldn’t be presented like a flea market.”
She also wanted control over what would be exhibited and sold. Sellers have the opportunity to present only a handful of their best pieces; as those are sold, they’ll be able to restock. All sale items will also have labels stating the era it’s from.
“Sometimes at markets you have one shop with bad pieces, another with excellent ones, and the prices are the same,” she said. “I want only quality items to be displayed so the best vintage is exhibited to the public.”
A big part of Schmoranz’s goal for the fair is exposing the public to true vintage.
“Vintage is valuable and you won’t get it anymore,” she said. “We should pay tribute to these things. Today’s production, mass production, it isn’t good quality. Most people today can’t afford the quality of vintage items. ‘Real’ fashion is for a very small number of people.”
The main part of the fair is focused on fashion, but there will also be displays of vintage furniture and some accessories from Art Deco Gallery. One of the most exciting aspects of the fair will be the presentation of a new vintage inspired collection by Czech designer Monika Drápalová.
“These are items made from older vintage clothes and fabrics,” Schmoranz explained. “Normally she (Drápalová) uses high-tech material, classic cuts, now working with vintage material, it should be interesting to see what she does. The material she’s using is mainly from the 30s-40s, so it’s difficult to work with.”
There will be a collection of lingerie designed by Tereza Vu, bow ties by Alex Monhart, jewelry made from vintage components by TikŤakJinak, functionalist furniture carefully renewed in the workshop of Galerie Funkce and luxurious jacquard fabrics from Czech producer Kolovrat.
There will be a 70s designed retro bar and a full program of events. Saturday sees a catwalk show introducing Drápalová’s collection followed by an 80s party in the Retro Bar. Sunday, outside in the New Town Hall’s courtyard, there’s a concert by Alva Quartet Gypsy Swing, another catwalk show, this time featuring men’s and women’s vintage wear from Bohemian Retro and Alex Monhart. The afternoon ends with a Swing Party and swing lessons.
Presale tickets are on sale now and cost 130 CZK for Saturday admission; 120 CZK on Sunday. Tickets can be bought on the day of; 200 CZK on Saturday and 180 CZK Sunday. Pre-ticket sales end May 23. True vintage fans may want to consider purchasing a Gold Ticket for 550 CZK, presale only and a mere 100 available. This ticket gives entrance to both days, includes a seat at Saturday’s catwalk show, a gift bag and a copy of Schmoranz’s vintage guide to Prague map.
Schmoranz believes the New Town Hall is a great place to showcase decades of fashion; as a backdrop to the goods, visitors can move from the gothic ground floor up to the baroque and modernistic floors, traveling in time backward and forward while walking through the exhibition.
“The different architectural styles in the building fit the idea of eclectic fashion,” she said, adding. “Everyone can wear vintage, and you should think about what you are wearing. It’s enough to be a few pieces every year and keep it for many years – it’s sustainable.”