Fashion-conscious discover a hot new destination: the humble jumble sale

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The Independent Online

They are the stuff of childhood nostalgia, dimly remembered but not necessarily missed. The traditional British jumble sale was a quaint affair. Frequently manned by primary school mothers and grannies, and enacted in the functional confines of the church hall or school gym, it wasn't noted for its glamour.

But at a time when funds are short and spare time precious, this staple of suburban fundraising is making a rather more fashionable return.

In cities across Britain from Glasgow to Glastonbury, self-styled jumblers are organising their own version – so-called "hipster jumble sales".

The functional setting of an empty hall has been replaced by cafés, bars and pubs that give sellers a ready-made clientele and rendering bureaucratic wrangling redundant. While car-boot sales are subject to nit-picking regulation, jumble sales on private property are rule-free. So long as the premises' leaseholder is aware of the sale's existence, and of the type of wares to be sold, local government has given jumbles a thumbs-up. Recession-hit landlords, meanwhile, are only too happy to turn over space in return for the guaranteed footfall.

Rarely does the fun stop with the clothing-strewn stalls, either. The new breed of sales offer a fully-fledged "day out", complete with live music, DJs, food and entertainment.

Alice Watson, a promoter, and Rachel Bevis, a photographer and DJ, have founded their own jumble sale group called Let's Get Ready To Jumble.

"I shared a stall with a friend selling clothes that no longer fit or which I didn't wear," explains Ms Watson. "I made about £50. Next time I contacted them they were fully booked. It occurred to me that there must be a demand for both people wanting to sell and for people wanting to shop."

Now Watson and Bevis (aka "Team Jumble") run monthly sales around London. Demand for a stall is so high that they have had to introduce a rota system to make sure everyone who wants a stall gets one. "Probably a third of the stallholders are people that sell regularly," explains Watson. "Either on the jumble sale circuit, using their own websites or through Ebay or Etsy. But the majority are one-off jumblers who have bulging wardrobes that need a clear out." They are far from alone. The Jumbleree at Shadwell's George Tavern has become something of an institution. Much of its appeal for punters is on-trend nature of the experience. "We have everyone from young fashion students, to musicians selling their records, to stylists and buyers," explains the pub's arts co-ordinator Dee Sada. "There are even raw foods and handmade jewellery."

Sada holds a barbecue, Bevis and Watson screen classic films and Rosalia Ferrara, who organises the up-market Jumble and Pearls sale in North London, offers tarot-readings, massages and make-overs. An oft-cited motivation is concerns about the environment and the recession. Says Ferrara: "No one wants to go out and see others with exactly the same outfit. We are recycling and recession proof!"

Add the appeal of vintage clothing and the new-look jumble-sale is increasingly looking like a smart option.