We all have to make choices: for me, I’m ashamed to say that I would probably go without decent food for a couple of weeks if it meant I could afford the new bag/dress/shoes I ‘needed’. However, rather than telling you that it’s time to ‘prioritise’ or (god forbid) ‘budget’, I’m going to share a little secret…
Nottingham’s vintage shopping scene is pretty good, with places like Cow and Celia’s Vintage offering a decent selection of clothing and accessories. But, unlike the good old days that my mum talks about, vintage isn’t always a purse-friendly option. Most vintage shops are being undercut by the competitive high street prices and sometimes it seems that there is a tax on wanting to wear something a bit different.
Cue the Vintage Warehouse. Like a buried treasure, I stumbled across this place whilst getting horrendously lost on my way to the train station. If I’d have had a better sense of direction, I may never have found it. Accidental discoveries like this point towards the cause of the problem of the lack of University of Nottingham students buying from the outlet. Joint owner Ben believes that our students don’t know enough about the Vintage Warehouse simply because we are not spending as much time in the town centre as those at Nottingham Trent (who outnumber us considerably in the customer stakes).
It’s not like the place is hard to miss once you get there – the ‘Warehouse’ part of the title isn’t there for effect, it genuinely is an enormous warehouse complete with bright yellow metal shutters and a lack of central heating. However, situated on Lower Parliament Street, just past Oceana, the Warehouse is at the outer edge of the main shopping areas, and most of us just don’t venture that far. News of the Warehouse tends to travel purely by “word of mouth” but Ben would “like to see more students in”, especially as our weird and wonderful styles make us primarily the target market.
Taste aside, the biggest selling point for many students would have to be the Warehouse’s pretty painless effect on our wallets. On my last visit, I left with 2 jumpers, a top, a scarf, a belt and a Barbour badge (I like to pretend) and change from £30. Compared to a similar haul from Topshop – my last visit rinsed me for the best part of £80 – you can see the Warehouse’s financial appeal. Of course, you can always go to Primark and buy an entire outfit for the price of a Starbucks coffee, but as Ben pointed out to us, people don’t think about why shops like that are so cheap, and where this kind of clothing actually comes from. However, don’t go thinking Ben’s in a rush to reveal the origins of the enormous stock in the Vintage Warehouse either. Elusive doesn’t quite cover it; you would have more luck trying to get national security secrets out of MI5. I can only postulate some kind of Bernard’s Watch contraption that allows him to achieve 10 years of buying in 10 seconds. Considering the Vintage Warehouse is a relatively new venture, the amount of clothes, shoes and accessories for both men and women is pretty amazing.
But be warned. A trip to the Vintage Warehouse won’t be a half-hearted stroll around a few rails. It takes dedication and more than a few of my friends stood amidst the piles of 80s jumpers to make headway. I would allow a good hour to rummage through the rails, bags and baskets of stuff, but, like most tasks, it’s rewarding in the end. It’s true that trends always come back around, and right now the Warehouse can rival any High Street copy of an 80s geek jumper or 40s brogues. The clothes and accessories generally range from the 60s onwards, and you can be as reserved or as eclectic as you like. I’m definitely not brave enough to sport some of the crazy clothes on sale, but these actually make for a great fancy dress costume. They even have a rail of vintage children’s clothing – if you fancy rescuing a younger sibling from the clutches of label-chic.
The Vintage Warehouse is definitely onto a good thing. Thankfully, it shows no signs of monopolising on the vintage scene and pushing up prices like its competitors. In fact, there is soon to be a ‘Pound Pit’ opened in a smaller room at the back of the store, which does exactly what it says on the tin. With clothes selling for a mere £1, we can all enjoy a future where we can buy a new outfit AND a Fortune Boy – oh the luxury.