Holiday markets are everywhere in Europe. I know students that, since the beginning of November, have taken weekend trips to Brussels and Bruge in Belgium, Lille in France, and “literally everywhere in Germany,” according to my friend Ashwini, just to browse their market stalls. Rows and rows of wooden structures stand precariously, nearly toppling over from the weight of glass baubles and ceramic candy canes.
The markets are really pretty to look at and certainly embody Christmas spirit (for better or worse, depending on how you look at it). But if you’re looking for something a little less conventional–vendors that offer more than ugly sweaters and miniature Santas–It can be difficult.
Based off a recommendation from Not Another Salon‘s owner Sophia Hilton, I went to the Wasted Chic Christmas event at McQueen in Shoreditch, London. I’d pretty much follow up on anything Hilton recommended, save for jumping off a bridge, so naturally, I wasn’t disappointed.
I’d never been to an event like this. Small British designers offered clothing and accessories starkly different in design from anything offered in traditional retail stores. While the items weren’t necessarily holiday-themed, the environment itself certainly felt festive. Vendors interacted with customers and with each other. There was no sense of “buy this,” but “I made this cool thing, and I’m sharing it with you” instead. It was refreshing to see artists enthusiastic about creating and sharing cool things, especially when the holiday season can feel a bit commercial.