The historical town is a backdrop for chic commercials and stylish stores, but why has Margate become a fashion favourite?
Growing up in Margate I never felt I was at the forefront of fashion. After years dreaming of a career in the fashion industry, I was drawn to the glitz and glamour of London life. Like many, I thought I had to relocate to the fashion capital to really indulge myself in all aspects of the industry. Relocating back to my hometown, you are instantly greeted by the bright lights of Dreamland. The Margate I once knew has had a super-stylish makeover.
There is much more to Margate than the notorious stretch of arcades and sandy beach. Of late, Margate has been undergoing a revival thanks to the reopening of Dreamland and Turner Contemporary, followed by an influx of Londoners who have been opening bars, restaurants, shops and more.
Margate has often had fleeting roles in TV and film, most recently starring as a backdrop for the recently revamped series based on The Darling Buds of May, as well as the BBC’s upcoming season of Killing Eve, which is noted for its sense of style and enviable wardrobe.But the seaside town has also turned the fashionable heads of several well established companies. Last year it hosted fashion houses Ted Baker and Gucci, who shot their super-stylish commercials against a backdrop of local landmarks such as the Lido and Walpole Bay. Margate’s scenery is fast becoming the choice for leading fashion brands.
Embracing its vintage vibes and retro aesthetic, it is not surprising Margate is climbing the ladder of stylish seaside destinations. The coveted Old Town and high street have become littered with vintage shops, second hand stores and contemporary boutiques: such as Albion Stores, WerkHaus, Margeaux, Peony Vintage, the Margate Gift Shop and Handsome Freaks.
Peony Vintage, with its pastel pink storefront, sits in the heart of Margate’s Old Town, founded by local vintage-lover and freelance wardrobe/ prop stylist, Georgie Roberton. Adapting to the recent pandemic, Georgie also co-founded a community market platform, A Virtual Vintage Market, hosting vintage markets monthly via Instagram. Both on and offline, Georgie makes vintage fashion accessible for all, handpicking and often restoring clothing, each piece with its own unique and personal story. Stocking an array of colour and print in original vintage styles, Georgie’s store has caught the attention of several renowned publications, including Elle, Grazia, Time Out and Refinery 29. Citing Margate as the perfect destination to set up shop, Georgie applauds the town’s artistry and fashion: “It’s a hive of colour and creativity and so much here brings me joy. I feel Margate has always been full of fashion and culture as it’s such a freeing place to be.”
Local business owner Katie Albion first fell in love with the seaside town after travelling down for regular visits with friends. The diverse and inclusive nature of Margate is what drew Katie and her partner Joe to relocate permanently. “The feeling of the place. It’s creative, beautiful, and diverse; all of those things drew me here,” she says. Now the owner of a popular contemporary boutique, Albion Stores, Katie describes Margate fashion as “free-spirited, without boundaries and real.”
Fashion stylist Issie Gibbons has also relocated here, leaving east London five years ago. Drawn by Margate’s inclusivity and nonchalant attitude, Issie craved that creative buzz: “Margate struck me immediately as unique due to its buzzing creativity and sense of community. The more time I spent in Margate the more I couldn’t imagine not living here.” Taking advantage of the dreamy backdrop on her doorstep, Issie makes sure to utilise the local scenery, often collaborating with local creatives. A lover of vintage fashion, she praised its mixture of shops and styles: “We are so lucky to have such a wonderful array of vintage and independent clothing shops in Margate, as well as some great charity shops, and I think this is reflected quite clearly in the residents’ style.”
Margate is more than just a sunny seaside town, enriched with a colourful cultural heritage. There is a stylish, retro feel to this harbour town, with Margate feeling somewhat like a vintage treasure trove. Margate’s Old Town has followed in the footsteps of other coastal towns such as Brighton and Whitstable, becoming home to many vintage shops and stylish second-hand stores.
While we often crave the artsy flair and creativity of London life, we no longer need to look far from home. Thriving with culture, diversity and inclusivity, Margate has become a hotspot for creatives. If you’re looking for a stylish new outfit or just want a source of inspiration, take a stroll through Margate’s eclectic streets. You won’t be disappointed.
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