Monday 15 December 2014

Touch The Leather

When we were given the opportunity to help Black Country Echoes and the Leather Museum organise a retro-inspired Xmas fair a few weeks ago I jumped at the chance. Back in the 1990s Walsall was described as hip, cool and happening by The Guardian and I'm determined that our town regains that reputation if it kills me.

Despite Trip Advisor rating the Leather Museum as Walsall's number one tourist attraction, it never ceases to amaze me that so many of our townsfolk have never visited. I'm passionate about our industrial heritage and, with the added attraction of the Fox Collection, an archive of locally made leather and suede fashion hidden away for over forty years, it was the perfect opportunity to both raise the museum's profile and celebrate Black Country ingenuity. 

Jon's Vintage Suitcase Boomboxes

We decided to focus on local indie businesses, makers and creators, hoping to not only raise the town's profile but to offer people an alternative to the mass produced goods available on our high street.  

Hetty's Heavenly Treats is a local tea room and outdoor caterer. The girls ran a gingerbread icing workshop and offered some pre-packed treats.

Sharon & Jodie of Vintage Duos run very successful vintage & craft fairs around the Black Country. They helped to save the day by coming to our rescue after a local creative cooperative cancelled with days to go. Their paper craft, framed retro prints and vegan bath products proved very popular.

Liz of Izzybird Bags brought a range of her amazing creations, bags, cards, accessories and even honey from her hives.

Jolene's stunning designer jewellery is instantly recognisable and on most Walsall women's wish lists. 

 Lyndsey from Boomerang Retro brought colour and vintage cool (and enjoyed the free bar!)

Second to None (represented by June's lovely husband, Dave) had a rail of groovy leather and suede clothing. I snaffled this 1960s mini dress.

Mark from Rustic Woodcraft drew in the passers by with his ace creations, ably assisted by Katie, his gorgeous partner.

 Artist Jain McCay's work is incredible and happily lots of customers agreed. She was another of our eleventh-hour saviours and we were delighted that she got such a great reception.

Gordon from the wonderful world of Babouskha was born in Walsall (even though he lives in Stourbridge now). A man saw him modelling this Bavarian jacket and bought it immediately. The green suede suit went home with me!

 Duccio are one of Walsall's leading leather goods manufacturers. Kanye West is a fan.

The museum organised a peg doll workshop for the kids. The little boy told me his was going to be a Ninja Turtle, his sister favoured a more traditional fairy.

The Curio Shop has been trading in Walsall for over 45 years. They brought along a selection of their eclectic stock.

Black Country Echoes offered a strategically positioned free bar, set amongst the exhibits. What could be better than sipping cranberry vodka whilst drooling over Walsall-made designer handbags?

Meet Jo, a long-time blog reader who'd made the journey over from Burton on Trent to say hello. A gorgeous, glamorous, charity shopping, Wetherspoons fan. She's definitely coming on our next girls' day out.

I'm wearing a vintage chiffon, diamante and pearl encrusted Texas-made evening dress (birthday pressie from Babouskha). Jon's in vintage/second-hand from head to toe. 

We had a wonderful day, lots of visitors and loads of positive comments. We were thrilled that so many of our friends turned out to support everyone. Here's to more Walsall events in 2015!

......Of course one fair in a weekend just wasn't enough, we worked at Moseley's groovy vintage and retro fair yesterday, too.

I'm wearing a Polly Peck maxi from Garbo Antiques £5 rail at Vintage Village, Jon's robbed the stockroom. That's gorgeous Gail in the Santa outfit and the divine Cameron in the regimental jacket.

So that's it for 2014, 32 vintage fairs and 7 festivals. Thanks to the organisers, fellow traders and all of you who turned up, bought from and supported us. India is only weeks away now!

We're off to get bladdered celebrate in Wetherspoons. See you soon.

Linking to Patti's Visible Monday.


  1. OMG - what an angelic vision you look in that divine lemon chiffon dress! Yay you for wearing what you feel like, instead of grossly overpriced, mass produced rubbish!

  2. Black Country ingenuity for the win - what a wonderful event and look how gorgeous you are in a suede mini-dress! Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xox.

  3. How brilliant and fabulous. You know what a Walsall fan I am. I think it's got it all going on. If you could keep yer eye out for a smallholding not too far out of town up there, give us a shout!
    That was a proper festive fair. Loads going on and I'd have bought a pile of stuff.
    Love the June mini. A bit of Barbarella there I feel.
    So that's it for the year for a couple of the hardest working stallholders I know. You deserve a lovey long holiday!
    Loves yer bits.

  4. The leather fair looks so amazing - all of the vendors have such interesting a pretty things. That jewelry!
    You look great in the suede mini - and that yellow chiffon turns you into sunshine!

  5. Please don't let your efforts to put Walsall back on the "cool map" actually kill you, luv, that would never do.

    Looks like a fun event, nice to see such a variety of creators. And your black and gold dress makes you look like a box of Black Magic. Black Country Magic! :D

  6. You actually should be the fairy on the tree in that dress. What a super looking day and so much to see and do, I am quite sad I wasn't there. Give us a month's notice of the next one and I will see what I can do. That Cameron is a looker, you can tell him I said that.

  7. That chiffon dress is divine, but that leather mini is just perfect for you! Looks like a really fun event! :)

  8. i think you are reviving wasall in such a wonderful manner. you are both gorgeous ambassadors and you are a vision in that beautiful yellow dress. texas made! wow. x

  9. fabulous!
    that walsall fair looks awesome! you did such a great work organizing it! and jon and you are trés chic - your dress is a dream!!!! love the pictures of all the wonderful people and their creative work.....

  10. Walsall is a place I would love to visit, based on your post filled with creative and beautiful people!!!

    You and the vintage chiffon gown! Spectacular!

  11. You look like Ozma in that dress!!! Beautiful!!! What a super selection of products! I'd love to visit the museum too!x

  12. Ooo, Cameron gives me the HORN!
    Wahoosy, what a splendid fair! Right up my alley that, especially JAM! I am a sucker for jam and preserve stalls at fairs. I'm also a BIG fan of booze when shopping.I say yes please to cranberry vodka!
    You looked sensational throughout, and that leather 60's mini is a heavenly score, showing off those hot pins to perfection!
    It looks like it was such a success it'll be a regular event for you! HUZZAH!
    Love Helga XXX

  13. What a wonderfully organized event with truly unique vendors! I love museums and would love to visit this gem of your hometown, Vix. I meant you. The museum too of course. :) You look fantastic in both maxi and mini dresses! xxxxx
    ps Thank you for your tip on my carpet bag - I trust your and Curtise's judgement. I am very excited to learn that it's from 1960s!

  14. Lovly blog vix , you pair ought to be re named the king and queen of walsall Lol xxx

  15. What a great event ! I would love to see that museum . You look so absolutley stunning in that dreamy chiffon dress !


  16. Still laughing at Helga's comment....can see what she means tho! What a great fair, it seems to me that Walsall hasn't lost it's hip, cool and happening label and it would also be rather apt for you two. Looking sensational in all that chiffon darling and how amazing are you in that fabulous frock from StN ? Hope your evening out on the lash was fun. xxxx

  17. Well done, you! Not just a veteran of a gazillion fairs and festivals ov the course of the year, you are now an event organiser too. And a successful one at that - the Leather museum fair looks brilliant. Boo to those who let you down at the 11th hour, and hurray to the folk who helped you out, what troopers!
    Your yellow chiffon number is a stunner, you should be on the Miss World evening dress catwalk in about 1970 wearing that beauty. And your leather mini is divine! Jon always looks cool (tell him The Monk will serenade him with a version of What a Feeling next time I see him - something to look forward to, obviously...)
    You know some really talented and lovely people, all of you are busy putting Walsall back on the map, and hopefully you have raised the profile of the museum.
    Enjoy Wetherspoons - cheers, my love! xxx

  18. Looks a lot of fun - and I really fancy the caramel jam!

  19. Firstly, you are a vision in lemon chiffon.
    I so admire your tenacity in renewing your towns Leather Museum.
    The craft fair showed such a variety of talented folk.I am sure a great day was had by all.

  20. The caramel jam looks amazing - I'm glad you had a great time.

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

  21. Curtise is right, you should be crowned Miss World in that gorgeous yellow chiffon number. And your number one wish to make Walsall hip and happening is a welcome alternative to world peace. You can do that in year 2 maybe? Love the Barbarella suede mini. Total fox. That Cameroon Moon is a bit of a fox too, and we mustn't forget your lovely Jon. Well done for all the hard work, but, cor, what a relief it's all over for this year, now you can put your feet up and have a well earned rest. You two are troopers! xxxxxxx

  22. You look like an angel in that yellow dress!! Love the leather mini dress tho :D
    This looks like the type of event that I would love... And I'm not just saying that because of the free bar lolzzzz

  23. wouuau, such an amazing fair, it's like the icing on the cake!!, everything and everybody look Fabulous!!, I should love to go visiting your stall and all those amazing traders!, but it's lovely just to see it anyway!!
    And obviously, your outfits are delightfully appropriate, your hair is fabulous, and John looks handsome and cool!!, what else?
    besos & fabulousness

  24. First and foremost love divine Cameron, what a gorgeous guy, tell him so next time you see him!

    Great event, superb exhibition! you are right we must encourage local talents, i try so when i have the chance -

    Your dress is spectacular you outdone yourself this time!



  25. Looking beautiful in your wafty chiffon
    Twiggy xx

  26. I can't get over your chiffon waftiness! You must have had fun in that. What a lovely lot of stall holders. Doesn't it make you happy for the human race that there are so many cool creative types in the world. You will look great in that suede suit, and your mini is so funky.
    I also loved the gents in their red military, green hunting, and tartan jackets! Way to go! That shiny foil dress of yours in the second ! market is to die for! xo JJ

  27. Wow I am loving you in the leather dress and boots you look stunning. It looks and sounds like an amazing day was had by all. 32 Fairs blimey you enjoy your rest now. And India is calling would could be better :-) dee xx

  28. Wait ... Liz has hives and makes her own honey?! That is so neat.

    The event at the Leather Museum sounds like it was wonderful. And I love the pieces that went home with you. This would have been such a fun place to get the holiday shopping done for your guests! So many nice choices.

    You two certainly have kept youselves busy this year and it has been a pleasure tagging along and reading about all of it. I'm sure the upcoming trip is very much looked forward to (and well deserved)!

  29. What a great event with so many beautiful things for sale! I would be attracted to that jewelry stall instantly. You look magnificent in your maxi.

  30. Well worth all the effort if the reward is an Indian get a way from Winter!! You are such a vision of beauty in that floaty lemon number.

  31. You're all movie star glamour in that gorgeous dress.

  32. Lemon chiffon is just SO right on you!! Just gorgeous. What a fun looking fair, and how busy you always are, you definitely deserve a holiday soon x

  33. What a great event. I love how passionate and proud you are of your hometown. I shall definitely have to pay Walsall a visit in 2015! x

  34. Wow!! What an amazing array of wonderful colorful cool goodies! I would have loved to take the gingerbread icing workshop.

    The two hardest working vintage folks ever! Enjoy the holiday season, and looking forward to updated about your trip!

    And that mini-dress is just perfect!


  35. Oh my, oh my, gasp for breath. It's all too gorgeous, amazing and full of energy. Congratulations on everything. What a year!

  36. Well. I don't think you can have any idea how much of a kick I get out of your "tour" posts. Walsall is clearly a happening spot again, certainly in part because of your devotion, expertise and enthusiasm and I had SUCH a good time following you around for just a few minutes. You look gorgeous in every piece, and Jon looks even better with you on his arm.
    Thanks, Vix. Made my day!

  37. U agree with Curtise your yellow number is very miss world!

    I love the leather mini, you should be wearing that and sipping martini rosso or campari!

  38. I love the regimental jacket. And, I'm not surprised some of the townsfolk had not been to the museum. I would love to visit. You look divine as always! :) x

  39. Oh Vix, your lemon chiffon dress is gorgeous! I absolutely love it.
    Those Ladybird prints are wonderful too, I love Sleeping Beauty, it's my favourite faery tale I think xxx

  40. Well done both of you for bigging up Walsall and making the Xmas fair a success! It looked bloody amazing with all those stalls - as did you in the lemon chiffon dress and also the '60s mini: it was made for you! Fabuloso! xxx

  41. good heavens! What an awesome post! And there's just something about a dude in a red military jacket and black skinny jeans that really does it for me.

  42. Walsall should appoint you the official Queen of Tourism, as I would have never thought to visit there before discovering your blog, and now I'd go in a heartbeat. You should at least get some sort of official title, and a clothing budget for all the tireless promotion you do. This fair looks like such great fun - so much cool stuff!!! Love your texas-made birthday dress - very lemon meringue pie in the best way.

    Some of those bags in the display case behind you in the bar area are truly stunning.

  43. Wow! This post is jam-packed with delights :-)
    You've done Walsall proud... definitely have to put it on my List of Places I Must Visit :-)

  44. Bloody brilliant! So many wonderful stalls, and I love that there was a free bar too :D

    You look so elegant in your yellow dress, and Jon always looks dapper!

    Well done xx

  45. First up - your frock is amazing! This event looks a lot of fun, I think its important to recognise the history of where you live. I love all these stalls, but the two girls with their decorate a cookie stall are so sweet!

  46. what a great wrap up to such a wonderful and busy year! I hope you get out to just as many and make tons of people happy with your retro fabulousness!!!


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Lots of love, Vix