By Maureen Thaete | Culture Editor

Bouquet Marketplace offers a well curated selection of quality vintage garb on the streets of Berkeley. (Courtesy of Bouquet Marketplace)

Three times a year, specialty vendors from across the Bay Area gather on Fourth Street in Berkeley for Bouquet Market, a street fair for vintage clothing and various artisanal goods. Since 2017, the women who run the Mission District boutique Wallflower have been organizing this market for a single Saturday during the spring, summer, and fall. On Saturday, April 14, Fourth Street, already known for being a vibrant shopping district, came alive with the second spring edition of Bouquet Market.

The set up consisted of an array of tented booths spread throughout sections of the street, each boasting stylish displays of brightly colored clothing, potted succulents, beautiful textiles, and other oddities. Crowds milled around from booth to booth, all partaking of the event that the Bouquet Market website describes as “the embodiment of a flea market with the curation of a local makers’ market.” Eager patrons donned their vintage best and surveyed the impressive selections provided by some of the trendiest Bay Area boutiques and artisans. The various goods sold by these vendors largely included vintage apparel, accessories, home goods, furniture, handcrafted jewelry, and apothecary goods.

Each seller had an impressive array of unique goods on display. Wallflower had its own booth with a selection of vintage clothes as well as plenty of funky, contemporary accessories. Other San Francisco vintage boutiques like Makossa Vintage and The Golden Hour also had booths stocked with racks of the same quality vintage garb that they sell in store. Clothes weren’t the only captivating finds here. San Francisco ceramicist Mudwitch displayed pristine pottery at their booth. Oakland’s mandana blvd. provided a selection of elegant, vintage home decor. Adorable plants and intricate macrame could be found at Cactus Hound’s booth. And amongst all of this amazing art and merchandise, San Francisco’s Pop Nation sold their vegan, gluten-free popsicles to appease hungry shoppers. Ultimately, some of the best of the Bay intersected to fill this shopping experience with plenty of novelty and local color.

While shopping vintage tends to be a fairly pricey activity, Bouquet Market was still loaded with a number of more conveniently priced goods. Searching for these affordable gems takes time, but simply rifling through the racks of ornate vintage pieces can be enjoyable no matter how expensive they are. The market is so incredibly well curated that even the priciest pieces are both free and easy to appreciate for their artistic and historical value. Bouquet Market can be an ideal destination for both dedicated vintage collectors as well as those who enjoy window shopping through fun and eclectic displays.

Overall, the charming appeal of this picturesque fair definitely lends itself to a culture of young people who are invested in the aesthetic cachet that vintage clothes and chic artisanal goods promise. However, vegan popsicles and trendy succulents aside, Bouquet Market is actually working towards some pretty important ideals. Of course, buying vintage and supporting sustainability-focused businesses is generally considered to be both an environmentally and economically ethical choice. Also, the market does well to primarily feature a number of women-owned and women-focused businesses. Ultimately, its greatest success is the sense of community achieved by supporting local artisans and small business owners and by making their ingenuity accessible on a neighborhood level.

Another key component of Bouquet Market’s appeal is its rarity. Now that the first of the 2018 markets has concluded, only two remain. The next event, the summer market, is scheduled for Saturday, July 14. For anybody looking to score some quality vintage duds, support local merchants, admire unique handcrafted goods, or even just find a great Instagram opportunity, Bouquet Market is the perfect destination.

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