...NJAL: an alternative to the bidding wars

by Alice Kelleher
So last week I went out to the theatre with a friend of mine who I haven’t seen in years. She was late (some things will never change) but she managed to arrive just in the nick of time for the performance. She was out of breath, panting and telling me all about the London Fields to Shoreditch bus diversion when I noticed she was wearing a little one shouldered floral number (which is bang on trend may I add). Although I should have sympathised with her dreadful journey, I couldn’t help but tune out some of the finer details of her bus diversion whilst tuning into her dress. I immediately wondered where she had picked this beauty up from. So I asked if it was a vintage piece from the 80’s or a Topshop replica, she uttered what I feared "yeah, it is vintaaaaage, dahling". Dammit, I thought. Where from I wondered, thinking for sure it was from an East London boutique as that was her neck of the woods. So when she told me it was from the US of A I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.

I was thinking ok I haven’t seen her in a few years but where in the hell has she found the time (or the money for that matter) to pop to the states and back on a vintage shopping trip?? Obviously she spotted my bewildered expression, as she then whispered in my ear very lightly as if it revealing the world’s best kept secret: “eBay”. Then the penny dropped. “Of course, eBay!” And it suddenly occurred to me that when on the vintage bargain hunt I had missed a whole niche in the market. The revolution.

eBay I’m thinking... God every time I have tried to conquer eBay it has been a nightmare. I still cannot work out how to use PayPal (from what I have worked out you have to leave a refundable deposit then they’ll pay it back in to your account to activate your PayPal. Confused?? Yeah so was I.) So I gave up. As a result the day I last clicked off PayPal’s site was the day my relationship with eBay ended. So for the purpose of this article I’m throwing myself in the deep end and giving it another go. Gulp.

And within 5 minutes on the site I’ve found a vintage black body con dress with a cut out middle revealing just a smidgen of flesh, and I need it, immediately. So I bid. It’s only £9.50 right?? That’s nothing. And pretty much straight away a “watcher” (who are these people??!) has spotted my bid and out bid me. Not one to be defeated I bid again, and again and before you know it I’m out of control and perspiring at my desk bidding 40squid+ for a dress I didn’t really want in the first place. Luckily by the time I came to my senses I was outbid and the auction time was up.

So, I think maybe eBay isn’t for me, and consider the alternatives, looking closer to home on NJAL’s home-grown online shop. If you like your threads a bit more high end and your purchases more straight forward then NJAL’s shop is definitely one to remember. With oodles of boutique chic about it, the NJAL shop is fab for fashionistas on the lookout for up, coming and slightly alternative designers. If your anything like me you’ll be thinking a little more economically this season and looking for some key pieces with a high CPW factor (cost per wear dahling), and that’s where Mehmetli Neuhauser comes into the frame.

The hand painted silk T-Shirt by Awareness & Consciousness is a must have for anyone who Needs a seasonless piece to carry us through these bleak recession days. Totally cute and perfect come rain or shine (e.g. great either thrown over some jeggings or as an accompaniment to a big woolly knit and tights once it gets a bit nippier). It’s a fab statement piece, great for those a minimal effort, maximum impact days. If this piece is not your cup of Chai then, there are plenty of other purchases available on NJAL's Online Shop all oozing equal wow factor. So raid it and own it. It’s not just a label, it’s a statement.