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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Some things I love.. #1

What's better than a market?

Believe it or not, the question is absolutely not rhetoric, neither sarcastic.
In fact, despite my love for brand new designers clothes, the feeling and the look they have when they are hanged inside of a bright lighted shop, the fancy smell around them and the fact that they look pretty much like beautiful pieces of art exposed in a gallery,
the fascination of a market will always beat that for me.

I don't even know why I do like markets so much.
Maybe because I've been brought up by a woman who has always been a market lover and who has found some of the most significant and spectacular pieces of her wardrobe by browsing around markets all around the world.
Maybe because of the relaxed feeling that a market has, very different from those fancy shops mentioned before. 
When you go to markets, there's no pressure for buying, there's not even a fixed price!
You are not expected to buy first but to find something that would really suit you, something that capable of catching your attention among thousands of other things that don't.
And then, when you find that very thing, if you do, it feels like it totally belong to you.
It feels like you had to be there in that place at that moment to find it and God knows how old it is and how many people have been feeling the same way about it before: captured.
That's why, after trying to put the price down, trying it and imagining yourself with it, acknowledging how perfect it would be with pretty much everything else you already have, falling in love, hating yourself and realising that this thing you are feeling so torn about it's going to become one of the statement pieces of your own wardrobe, you walk away with your plastic bag that has no logo on it and no fancy lace to close it, but whose content makes you the happiest and most excited ever.

People makes a big fuss about luxury retail and the whole shopping experience thing that people are supposed to be given when they pay so much money for clothes.
In my opinion, there's no shopping experience that outshines the one you'd have shopping in a vintage market.
Apart from the fact that it's a way more clever way of buying as you are not just picking up an orange something that looks so right now and that you are going to take out of the closet next year and think what the hell?! 
Au contrer! You are choosing pieces of clothing coming from various epochs, from the last seasons to the 40s, but also the 20s (if you are lucky enough..) and that you decide to make yours because they really represent you and suits you!
During the long, cold winter, overwhelmed by the new trends and the things you have to have, the new delicious options that the fashion industry has been packing and selling you in a way that they seem absolutely irresistible, you are probably going to forget about those pieces of clothing you bought in the market the previous season, but when you re-discover them and take them out from the closet you see them under a completely new light: they still shine! You still love them!
But most of all: you still wear them, proudly.

Another highlight of markets is that they offer you a chance to bring back an extra memory when travelling.
In fact, every country has their very own markets (well, almost every one) and even thought location and items can differ a lot, the feeling you get from discovering a new one somewhere else is the same: excitement, happiness, the awareness of having found a place where you'll be able to take some time off for yourself.
A market will always make you feel adventurous, ready to explore, but also patient and of course unique.

You kind of have to be in the mood for it, but if you are, then your game is on and you better tell your boyfriend to get a book and sit at the cafe as it's probably going to take a while.
In case you have a boyfriend that actually looks forward to follow you around a market, looking around and maybe taking pictures, then marry him.
Or even better, give him my number.

I've been going to markets and vintage markets for all my life, everywhere I've been from Africa to Europe to Asia and I loved Dublin markets in a way that I didn't think was possible.
For the ones of you that have been following me, you might have noticed how excited I used to get for the Flea Market, the biggest vintage market in town, every last Sunday of the month.
Now that I'm here in London, a whole new universe of opportunities is opening in front of me.
From West to East to North, the plan is to chase the most famous markets and discover new ones as well.

For now, I've just been browsing around the markets I already know, some of which are absolutely magical places that give me different feelings and make me discover something new every time I go there.
At the same time though, it feels like home to go back and walk on that same road once again.
Portobello, which is now about 15 minutes away from home is still one of my very favourite ones.
I would never miss a chance to go there and I've spotted my favourite walk to get there, throughout Holland park and on the right, passing in front Valentina, an Italian delicatessen shop that I have the feeling I'll visit just as much as the actual market in the future.
Maybe even more…

But what's the most exciting thing about London is the fact that there's so much of everything that you'll probably hardly ever finish to discover something new.
Last week, for example, after attending an interview close to Farringdon, I took a walk through Barbican toward Liverpool Street where I then caught the tube and on my way there I've found a place that opened my eyes (and my nose thanks to the lovely smell) on London markets.

That street is called Whitecross Street and apparently even on a random Tuesday morning if you walked by you'd spot one of the most sensational food markets ever.
The colours of the veggies and the scents of the various cookings are just inebriating and you'll probably won't be able to choose what to have on the spot if you were really sure of what you wanted.
For once in my life, I thanked my food allergies for obliging me to chop at least some options out of the list.
Moroccan, Vietnamese, Spanish, French but also Italian (the real one…), salads, burritos and Mexican fusion, juicy burgers, wraps with pretty much everything, fruit…
I mean, it was amazing.
As I said, spotting the food market in Whitecross really made me reflect.
Vintage markets are amazing and they'll always be my favourite, but they are not the only markets and if I want to make it my mission to discover as many of them as possible I should really broaden my orisons and start including other types of markets than clothing ones.
Probably I haven't thought about it because it's very typical to find some food even inside of vintage markets. 
We all know that shopping is to be considered among your cardio routine activities and that of course makes people hungry!
Plus, shopping for amazing unique pieces you love so much (just saying…) makes people happy!
And happy usually means keen for food, in order to be even happier

Sounds almost too amazing?! 
I told you!

I actually hope to have persuaded you enough to make you feel like trying the markets of your own country and the countries you'll visit as well.
Trust me, there's very few better ways to feel like getting to know a place that going around a market, eating some typical food and looking at the people around…
Let me know your experiences at the market and your thoughts about it!

And of course, stay tuned!

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