Vintage at The Merchant City Festival

A look at the highlights of the Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway-curated Vintage strand of this year's Merchant City Festival

Feature by Jessica Campbell | 10 Jul 2013

A wealth of talent will once again hit the streets of Glasgow from 24 – 28 July 2013 for the Merchant City Festival. The festival, now in it’s 12th year, was originally set up to encourage locals and visitors alike to explore the rich heritage, architecture and history of Glasgow’s cultural district.

The annual event encompasses some of the best arts and entertainment from across the UK. This year will be no exception - with live music, comedy, theatre, film, visual art and design showcased in various venues throughout the city over five days of festivities. With the outstanding success of last year’s festival, organisers are confident that this year’s event will be even more spectacular.

An exciting new addition to the lineup for 2013 (and what we are most interested about!) is the award-winning Vintage festival directed by the innovative designers Wayne Hemingway MBE and Gerardine Hemingway MBE. Over the weekend of 27 – 28 July Glasgow will be transported back through history and into seven iconic decades including the Roaring Twenties, the Flying Forties and the Swingin’ Sixties.

Hemingway’s plan with the Vintage festival was to create a unique experience with audience participation at the core. Hemingway describes Vintage as an ‘antidote’ to other festivals that solely focus on ‘festival glamour’ and ‘hero worship’ of expensive bands. Vintage is all about bringing people of all ages together to celebrate the greatness of the past. Hemingway explains that it is a festival that specialises in the best that each decade has to offer whether it is the food, the fashion or the music.

Over the two-day event festival-goers will have the opportunity to experience the delights of the Vintage Marketplace, curated by Gin and Teacups. The array of stalls will be piled high with vintage goods ranging from clothing and accessories to music memorabilia and everything in between. Keep an eye out for vintage gems Strawberry Lush, Emily Rose Vintage and Tea by Lita to name but a few. 

If you are a creative at heart or just fancy having a try, there are plenty of hands-on creative workshops taking place over the weekend. Draw Your Own Superhero is set to be a popular choice, as top comic artist Gary Erskine and Mhairi Stewart from Perfect Spiral join forces to lead this masterclass. Throughout the workshop, participants will be taught drawing skills and shown how even superheroes are fashion-conscious with their costumes changing over the years! The workshop is free of charge but signing up beforehand is essential.

Damselfly Crafts' innovative duo Yvonne Macfarlane and Anni Kennedy will be leading workshops on up-cycling and traditional paper crafts such as decoupage during the weekend.

With the name Vintage suggesting timeless beauty, the fashion element of the festival is set to create an impact. Celebrating all that is great about British fashion and creativity throughout the decades, Vintage brings head-turning style and glamour to a wider audience. The enchanting display of catwalk shows are not to be missed.

A highlight for fans of the cherished novel and blockbuster film The Great Gatsby is sure to be the 1920s-inspired catwalk show. The show is in collaboration with retail giant’s House of Fraser and fashion stylist Lynne McCrossan. It is very apt that House of Fraser are involved with the curation of this event, not only for its Glaswegian origins but also due to the fact the late chairman had a background similar to Gatsby himself. Hugh Fraser was responsible for creating the brand as its known and loved today. He was given the role of Managing Director at the tender age of 21 during the 1920s, and following his father’s death in 1927 he was made Chairman of the prestigious brand, which continues to hold the class and indulgence of the 1920s.

Taking place in the beautiful surroundings of the Grand Hall in City Halls, Merchant City, the show will open with the honeyed vocals of jazz singer Lou Hickey, as she performs a live set to encapsulate the electric atmosphere of the Jazz Age. The show will portray the excitement and nostalgia of the Roaring Twenties through the latest Great Gatsby-inspired trends from House of Fraser’s collection. Over 36 looks styled by McCrossan with the glamorous 1920s in mind will be showcased on 28 July. Models will shimmy down the catwalk to the music of the jazz era. It promises to be an evening of luxury and decadence that Jay Gatsby himself would be proud of.

Once you have your vintage outfit picked out from the market or the catwalk shows, the next stop should be the Vintage Hair and Beauty Salon run by the talented Jacqui McElroy of The Make Up School London, and expert vintage hairdresser Ariana Marcantorio from Miss Dixiebelle. Decade-specific makeovers, including 40s finger waves, 60s bouffant beehives and 80s new romantic curls topped off with a flick of 50s black liquid liner will be available all weekend at purse-friendly prices.

With your glad-rags on and hair and make-up looking gorgeous, it will be time to get your groove on at the exciting decade-themed club nights. A highlight will surely be the Torch Club and its 1940s style 18-piece swing band, providing music that will soothe young and old souls alike. Soul Casino should not be missed with the most talented DJs from the country over, playing timeless disco tunes circa 1977. Other club events include Let It Rock (1950s), Charleston Brunch (1920s) and The Vintage Sunday Social, alongside the free Leisure Lounge Tiki Bar (think Butlins Ayr circa 1960). Early ticket buying is essential as these nights will probably sell out quickly.

If fashion in film is more your thing don’t miss the chance to relive the golden era of cinema clubs in the 1940s and 50s. Classic and original movies will be screened in the Grand Hall and throughout all the Vintage Club events in the Old Fruitmarket during the festival. There will also be the opportunity to catch some wonderful, mainly unseen archive footage of Glasgow and further afield from the 1920s.

The Vintage thread of the Merchant City Festival will end the festival week with a bang. With so much on offer, the whole family will leave with a new found love of all that is vintage! Vintage Glasgow will take place at Merchant City Festival on Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 July.

For full listings and for more information please see

Great Gatsby fashion show at Vintage Glasgow, Merchant City Festival Sunday 28 July 2pm - £10