Jul 5 2013
In the midst of Berlin’s fashion week comes a shopping and browsing gem–Toast & Jam, Berlin’s only vintage fashion fair. Tomorrow marks the opening of T&J’s third show since its inception in January 2012 and we couldn’t be more excited. We spoke to one of the founders of this exciting event. Read on to hear what Nadja Vancauwenberghe, editor in chief of Exberliner Magazine, has to say about vintage, Berlin’s best haunts and her favorite place to grab a drink.
We Are The Market: Tell us about Toast & Jam
Nadja Vancauwenberghe: Toast & Jam is Berlin’s Vintage Fashion Fair- a two day extravaganza of vintage vendors from Germany and all over Europe showing off the best in unique, quality pieces from decades past. About 40 vendors sprawl out their collections of unique vintage men and women’s fashion in Neukölln’s charming Heimathafen theater, along with accessories, lingerie (including corsets!) and more. A major highlight is the Toast & Jam Catwalk- Berlin’s only all vintage fashion show, featuring pieces from our vendors displayed in a theatrical parade through the ages (on Saturday, July 6th at 7:00 pm.) It’s a great chance to get inspiration and see the possibilities of vintage for the fashion conscious- how to assemble an outfit or pull off a style with vintage clothes and accessories!
In short, whether a seasoned vintage shopper or merely buy-curious, Toast & Jam offers something for all those who want to stand out from the crowd.
WATM: What inspired you to start a vintage trade show?
NV: I was inspired to start a vintage fair because … As with most great/crazy ideas it just started as a casual conversation with a friend – Andrea from Memory – yes a vintage Market, why not? We were surprised no one had thought of it before, given Berlin’s new demographics: young, trendy internationals with one-of-a-kind styles. While Germany doesn’t have a great reputation as a fashion nation (unless you call The North Face fashion!), that’s one more pretty unique aspect about Berlin: the diversity and uniqueness of styles in the street. People are daring, anything goes. So, of course second hand has been exploding – with a lot of cheap stuff on more and more flea markets, and overpriced last year H&M wares at “vintage” shops. The idea was to offer a selection of actual VINTAGE over 2 or 3 days, for shoppers and curious to be able to get a good overview and shop conveniently in one location. Michael from Nowkoelln Flowmarkt was also a friend: we immediately thought he could bring the street market logistics; we had the marketing and media expertise… and as usual we didn’t have enough on our plates with the ever growing list of events we keep on organising or sponsoring!
WATM: Toast & Jam is about to start its 3rd show, how have you guys grown over the past two years?
NV: We like to think that each Toast & Jam has had its own special flavor. This time around, we are especially excited about our international vendors. It’s great to see what special offerings different countries have, from fur jackets from Poland to colorful silk dresses from Italy, we love the opportunity to view history through the lens of fashion
WATM: What do you love about vintage clothing?
NV: We love vintage for so many reasons. For one thing, who wants to look like everyone else? Vintage pieces tend to reflect a sense of style that is timeless, and not dependent on the whims of major corporations.
It’s great to find pieces that are well-designed and sturdy- like a printed housedress or military-style shirt. On the other hand, when it comes to some special pieces, it’s great to find small, handworked details that are rarely found in modern pieces. For example, in our Fashion show we have a fabulous 70′s Italian crepe dress with embroidery and woven details- delicate, but so special.
I love the idea of unexpectedly stumbling upon something and there’s one piece, and it fits or it doesn’t – if it does, it’s … fate! I happen to get emotionally attached to pretty irrelevant/unspectacular pieces of clothes which I fell in love with and become part of my daily life – especially accessories. I put much too much…in them!
WATM: When buying, what do you look for in a vintage piece?
NV: I’m in love with fabrics- my dad’s family comes from the textile industry: my dad could close his eyes and touching a fabric, spell out its exact composition … Unfortunately great fabrics are more and more difficult to find. In our mass market fashion industry, it’s all cheap fabrics, cheaply made.
WATM: Explain your personal style in 5 words or less:
NV: Understated, personal, playful
WATM: Favorite place for a drink in Berlin?
NV: You can’t ask me that – too difficult… Just recently met a friend at Eschloraque near Hackesche Höfe: it is Post-Wall East Berlin classic; a piece of Berlin history and, surprisingly enough, not a tourist trap!
WATM: Best spot for a bite?
NV: Chez Michel on Adalbertstr, the real French deal. Or Mama Kalo for the great Flammkuchen; and for more spices… Merle’s Tinidadian home cooking!
WATM: For all of us fashion week visitors, what’s a Berlin must-see, do, drink and eat?
NV: Toast & Jam of course…
If you’re in Berlin for Fashion Week. Make sure to stop by Toast & Jam Saturday and Sunday for a peek at the best vintage collections in Europe.