Happy to say that ShimmyShim will be at the upcoming So Last Century vintage fair in Beckenham, London UK. We’ll be offering greeting cards and pop art prints of microvintage fashion.
As well as pop art by ShimmyShim, there will be over 40 hand-picked vintage traders selling mid-20th century decor, lighting & design, furniture, West German ceramics, homeware, kitchenalia, brocante, vintage clothes, accessories and jewellery, original 1950s, 60s & 70s travel posters, records, upcycled goods and a whole lot more.
And take a break in Truly Splendid’s Vintage Tea Room upstairs with delicious cakes and scones. There’ll also be top-notch street food, craft beer and excellent coffee alongside more vintage stalls outside.
Sunday 17 September 2017
11.00am – 4.00pm
Entry £3 (or £2 with a flyer, or if you follow @solastc on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram). Children under 16, free.
Venue 28 (next to the Spa and Library)
Willy Wonka and Violet Beauregarde have teamed up to create this fantastic Jelly and Plastic Shoes board on Pinterest. As Mary Quant explains, a lot of the shoes are made simply by pouring chewing gum into a mould!
OK, only kidding. I created the board to go with the latest collection of ShimmyShim Pop Prints which feature 8 pairs of my collection of over 200 dolls shoes. Because they are all made of plastic, they are more like jelly shoes than any other ‘real’ adult sized shoe. I really love the aesthetic because of the vibrancy of the colours. The actual dolls shoes are less than an inch long, but the prints are 8 inches square, so you can see the ‘patina’ of the plastic on each one. Originally they must have been sculpted in clay and then cast and mass produced, so when you look closely you can see scrape marks.
Here is the vintage film in which Mary Quant describes inventing jelly boots. I’m not sure if she was the first to use the technology or not, but her designs are certainly recognised as being at the vanguard of design. And the style of those little ankle boots is to die for!
“You just pour a kind of chewing gum into a mould… They said more or less ‘come and play with our machinery’ and this is how we started making these shoes… Just like making jelly.”
It’s sad and worrying that most real plastic shoes (let alone dolls shoes) are not biodegradable, but they can be recycled and some are described as eco-friendly.
In 2011 there was a company called Figtree Design created these wonderful looking biodegradable slip-ons, but they seem to have disappeared now. What a shame! I look forward to seeing something like this in production again soon.
This Adidas shoe sounds promising: it is made from plastic collected from coastal areas in the Maldives (presumably it once polluted the sea).
So, it’s kind of ironic, but you can currently buy shoes that look wonderfully like dolls shoes. My favourite two companies are United Nude and Melissa.
I can’t actually wear these shoes as they hurt my feet too much, but I love looking at them and they look great on display.
Victoriana was a trend in the early 1970s for a nostalgic fashion harking back to the 1890 – 1900 period before the first world war. Perhaps it seemed like a more innocent period.
Gingham Victoriana prints in green, pink and blue available now in the shop Buy Now
Laura Ashley was one of the most famous designers producing Victoriana, and perhaps she associated it with a homely feeling of safety, as she had many great aunts who she remembered dressed in the old fashioned clothing during the early part of her childhood in the 1920s.
One of my favourite fashion doll outfits is Sindy’s Pinny Party – dated as a 1973 design by Our Sindy Museum. I really love it for the lurid colours. And it has a very synthetic twist on the Victoriana offered by Laura Ashley.
1970s printed cotton dresses by Laura Ashley exhibited at the Fashion Museum, Bath, UK in 2013
Laura Ashley loved natural fabrics and harmonised colours with a homely feel, which she actually designed to be worn at home. She demured,
“Most of our garments are to be worn at home. They’re not… for making a splash in a dramatic place.”
Whereas her Welsh counterpart, Mary Quant was famous for clothes which cut a dash with clashing colours and op art graphics.
Ashley on Quant:
“I’m the country one and she’s the town one. She’s marvellously urban… whereas I’ve got my roots in the country”.
Mary Quant mused:
“I think the point of fashion for women should be,
One: that you’re noticed.
Two: that you’re sexy and
Three: that you feel good.”
It’s almost as though, by accident, some of the Sindy doll outfits ended up being a crazy medley of Mary Quant and Laura Ashley designs. Take this orange and silver dress for example – it’s op art and Victoriana combined.
I was 4 years old in 1971 and my young aunt Fiona got married that year. There was a big church wedding with lots of bridesmaids and pageboys, and I was one of the bridesmaids. We all wore the most amazing matching Victoriana style patchwork dresses with lace trimmed sleeves. We kept the dress which I managed to fit into for a birthday party and I remember being fascinated with it although I didn’t quite understand it. I mostly wore jeans and T-shirts by that time so a long dress with ribbons, lace and glass buttons was quite a strange novelty. After that I really got into dress-up though and it became a favourite game to dig through my aunt’s old clothes which she kept in a big wicker hamper and prance around the garden in them with my sister and cousins.
It’s a shame there aren’t any colour photos as it had lovely shades of mauve in it. I think the glass buttons were a dark purple colour. [Note – might be able to get a photo from our photo album this weekend will post here if I do]
Another childhood memory I have is watching the 1970 UK film the Railway Children
And the American show Little House on the prairie (first aired 1974).
There are some dresses called ‘frontier patchwork’ which were designed by Mattel for the 6 inch Rock Flowers dolls in the early 70s which match this.
Red in a blue room has the same effect. It sparks. It’s a catalyst for some kind of explosive event. But the whole experience is calmed down by the blue. It’s as thrilling as fireworks, but you can live with it. Whereas a red room can be too intense: a little disturbing.
I suddenly decided it would be a good idea to take part in the Penge Jumble Trail this year about 4 days before it kicked off. If you haven’t heard of jumbletrail.com and you like shopping bric-a-brac (or searching for Sindy doll treasures), go and check it out now. It’s a really useful website where you can either organise your own jumble trail, or look for upcoming jumbles. You select an area and then invite people to join in. In America they call it a garage sale – in the UK we sometimes call it a yard sale but basically you set up a stall outside your house. Obviously it works better if other people are doing one on your street or nearby on the same day and that’s where jumbletrail.com comes in handy.
Luckily someone from another postcode was looking to partner up for a stall in my area and I had some company – not sure how I would have managed otherwise as I seemed to spend the whole day running in and out. I whizzed over to the local supermarket and bought 8 lemons and made real lemonade which went down well. The trick to the recipe is blending the whole lemon, pips, pith, skin and all. Then straining it out. With the sugar it gets that super-tangy bitter sweet taste. Since it was a blasting hot day, cold drinks went down well. My front garden is South facing with no shade, so we lashed an umbrella to a post and huddled under it.
My jumble-buddy Jane (who it turned out I’d been calling Kate all day aaagghh bit dyslexic), brought her daughter and she adopted one of my Sindy dolls. I’d put a bag of rejected dolls out, including quite a nice Sindy with somewhat loose hip joints and a missing little finger. Sarah (not her real name but since I’m posting her picture) must have been around 10 years old and worked really hard on the stall with us all day and sold a lot of books for her Mum. Very patient! Instead of getting bored, she started playing with Missing Pinky and assembled a very stylish purple outfit with matching white petticoat, ballet shoes with string ties and a purple bow. It’s funny because I’ve collected over a 1,000 fashion doll clothes since February; I’ve washed and ironed and kept almost all of them except for about 20 rejects put out in the jumble sale. And Sarah managed to make 2 or 3 great little outfits out of them. Fashion designer in the making?
I also sold a Sindy with funny discolouring on her face to a local lady who turned out to be an avid Sindy collector (60s period) with an expertise in hair rerooting. So I’m going to be back in touch with her to see how she transforms the Sindy.
Pengetout is a pop-up shop on Penge High Street. You will find it nestled amongst a fabulous selection of fried chicken shops and esteemed charity shops, next door to Press Gang printers (knock out an A1 poster at the eleventh hour) and Penge Bistro (genuine Italian nosh).
The shop was conceived and funded by Bromley Council as part of a scheme to grow business in the Penge area. They drafted in Sally Williams from Retail Revival Ltd, who is an expert in setting up pop-up shops and making them profitable. Sally has something of a no-nonsense Lord Alan Sugar approach to driving a business into profit – all to the benefit of the 9 or so traders currently selling their wares and ready to take the reigns themselves from September onwards.
I’m really happy to say that ShimmyShim has a guest slot at Pengetout throughout July.
Currently I’m trying lots of different products in the shop to see what appeals to Penge customers. Right now, you will find the full range of cards and two vintage Sindy sets (Sindy wall divider and Sindy scooter). And as already posted I’m setting up a temporary Sindy Museum on Saturday 22 July which should be fun.
OK I have to end a bit of a chicken shop diversion here to mention Chicken Shop clothing I WANT ONE OF THOSE Ts! I want to offer products that make you say I WANT ONE OF THOSE! Well certain fashion dolls, Sindy in particular certainly have that effect on some of you.
and The Pengest Munch only because it’s the Pengest. 2.5 million video views! Ordinary South London kid… Crazy.
I had the full range of Sindy vehicles at the Big O, but the Range Rover really stole the show. I guess it was a very famous car of it’s time and summed up everything about the infamous Sloane Rangers of the era.
It was amazing weather and a very friendly atmosphere. Most people came for a family day out. Very well organised and themed. It seemed to be marquees of different eras with the vintage stalls in the middle. The lady on the stall next to me did a roaring trade in hair ribbon bows. I noticed almost all the parents enjoyed buying these kinds of small presents for their kids and there were a lot of little girls with bows in their hair by the end of the day.
As with the So Last Century Fair, people were really attracted to ShimmyShim’s vintage toys, but more to look at and talk about than to buy. I keep coming back to the idea of opening a little museum!
Because the fair was featuring a vintage cars rally and a scooter parade, I decided to mirror that and I brought ALL my Sindy vehicles and dressed up some Sindys and Barbie’s rock star friend Derek from the mid 80s to go with them.
Red Sindy ‘Range Rover’
Orange Sindy caravan
Barbie / Sindy pink ‘cadillac’ Zima car
Red 80s Sindy sports car
White Sindy surf buggy with wave design
Yellow Sindy scooter
Sindy horse and trap (also sometimes called a Gig).
I decided to be ‘diverse’ and brought Sindy’s friend ‘Imani’. She was sitting in the pink Zima cadillac style car which all the guys (hmmm interesting I wonder why) thought was ‘Lady Penelope’s’ car. Some of them were a bit bemused that ‘Lady Penelope’ was suddenly a black woman, or at least one guy was. He said “Lady Penelope’s turned black!” but then looked a bit embarrassed. I guess he worried if he was being un-PC. Maybe he was.
A couple came by and chose the Sindy Range Rover towing the orange Sindy caravan to go in their newly decorated kitchen. I’m hoping they’ll post some pictures as it sounds like amazing decor with orange paint and a huge kitchen dresser full of vintage collectibles. I was glad to make a decent sale! Also sold some cards which were very carefully picked out by their buyers. I like to choose cards carefully too – you have to get exactly the right card for the person it’s going to and you just get a feel for it and a particular card will stand out, and you can picture your friend or loved one’s face when they see it and maybe imagine them commenting or telling a joke about it.
The festival celebrates suburbia through the decades. It’s billed as ‘Vintage with a Twist’ and will be a celebration of retro delights from the 1940s to the 1980s including caravans, cars and a scooter parade.