PICTORIAL STORY

April 27, 2022

SHOP BACK IN TIME

THE CLASSIC CAR BOOT SALE

Photography and words by Ibi Gowon

At the Classic Car Boot Sale you’ll find carefully selected vintage fashion, accessories, homewares, vinyl and collectables from some of London’s best traders – all sold from, as the name suggests, the boots of head-turning vintage vehicles. Started in 2013 by fashion designers Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, founders of the iconic London fashion label “Red or Dead” and Hemingway Design, the bi-annual Classic Car Boot Sale is the premier vintage and pre-loved fashion and memorabilia event in London.

I stumbled across the Classic Car Boot Sale one Summer's day in 2018 when going off to do a food shop in King’s Cross. I noticed some fabulously dressed people and heard some jamming funk music being played, so I went to have a look. Needless to say, I dashed back home and returned with my camera! It was a cornucopia of style spanning from the 1920s to the 1980s, and with the finest DJs spinning the tunes to beats that you just had to move your feet to! Still relatively shy at photographing people, I initially lurked behind clothing rails to get some shots. My first and one of my favourites being this super elegant lady in a black hat wearing a Dogtooth Chanel-esque jacket. By the 2019 Classic Car Boot Sale I had progressed to a Sony A7iii and a Fuji X100f, and was a lot more confident in my photography style and approaching people! People at the event recognised me so the ice had already been broken. So since that accidental moment in 2018, I have been photographing this event ever since.

Twice a year King’s Cross Granary Square becomes a Mecca for the style conscious. Be it 1940s, 50s, 60’s or 70’s there will be plenty of bargains there for you. When you are not gushing over the vintage fashions and memorabilia, you can feast your eyes on a cornucopia of VW Camper Vans and other beautiful vintage and classic cars. My daughter has her eye on a dark grey 1960s Mercedes 280SL Cabriolet, and Owen Thompson’s Green 1960s Mercedes sedan! If cars aren’t your thing then there are plenty of bikes and vintage dressed bikers too. From 1930s and 1940s motorcycles, to 1950s Harley Davidsons; From 1960s Triumphs to 1970s Ducatis. Plus, for lovers of Mod style and Quadrophenia, there’s a plethora of Lambretta and Vespa Scooters, including Jimmy’s one that was actually in the film “Quadrophenia”! The highlight of the scooter show is the formation drive past!

When you’re not browsing the vintage finds, you can enjoy craft beer, cocktails and street food, all served from vintage vans. Plus the festival DJs play a vinyl-only selection that will take you on a journey from the roaring ‘20s to the golden-era ‘80s…and there’s plenty of dancing by the red vintage Routemaster Bar Bus..! And if that is not enough for you, you can indulge in a bit of celebrity spotting. Yes that’s right! Regular visitors include Jason Momoa, Martin Freeman, Jonathan Ross, Kevin Roland (of Dexy’s Midnight Runners) and Suggs from Madness, to name a few.

This is not your run of the mill car boot sale, no chipped crockery and moth eaten old clothes, but a vintage shopping extravaganza, turning King’s Cross into a hang out for the best dressed vintage crew in town. Not only that, it is a great day out with the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones! And for us street photographers...well let me just say...it's like a child let loose in a lolly shop. Now I am off to finish editing the photos from the weekend...

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