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Bargain seekers find unique items in second-hand shops

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Customers shopping at a thrift store in Europe
Bargain hunt: Berlin, Germany, has dozens of flea markets and almost 300 thrift shops | Photo: Julien Pier Belanger

Over the past decade, way before saving money became a trend as people try to get through the current cost of living crisis, going through second-hand items in thrift shops has been a habit for many seasoned treasure hunters. And, although in the UK these same places are called ‘charity shops’, the idea behind it is universal: to find a bargain, to spot something unique and take it home – even if you don’t necessarily need it.

“I go to thrift stores regularly, once or twice a week, just to check things out (mostly without buying an item). As a former fashion student, I enjoy looking at beautiful things and trying stuff out. Then, last month, for the very first time, I spotted an antique item that I found unusual enough to buy. I do not buy or sell antiques regularly, as I do not have the expertise – not many of those can be found in general thrift stores.”, says Alexandra Nima, an Austrian entrepreneur who lives in Estonia and recently paid €18 for a framed antique silver dagger while visiting a Tallinn thrift store.

Once she got home, Nima searched on Google to try to identify the purchased item, and found out that she now owned a silver khanjar, a traditional dagger originating from Oman, a country located on the Arabian Peninsula. The accessory is part of Omani male national dress, dates back to the 19th century and, in 2014 Dorotheum, an auction house founded in 1707 in Vienna, a similar item was estimated to be worth between €600 and 800.

“Not a bad catch for a first-timer” – celebrates Alexandra – I will now definitely keep my eyes open around here for further rarities!”

Designer Nathan Heinrich who in 2020, during the height of the global pandemic, moved from New York to Italy to live with his partner, also visits his favourite thrift and vintage shops in the Prosecco Hills, near Venice, several times per month.

“Currently, I am collecting art, lighting, dishes, and interesting objects for a home we are renovating here in northern Italy. In the past month I have purchased an 1800s shopkeeper’s scale for €40, a 1960s amber teardrop crystal chandelier (€50), and a Collection of 19th-century copperware priced at €10 each.”, says Henrich. “Spending the day wandering through little shops full of treasures is one of my favourite pastimes – especially if the prices are a bargain!”, confesses the dual-citizen professional that used to run offices in California and New York, but now his new life includes running a digital magazine and podcast about his experiences as an American living in Italy.

There’s a thriving thrifting scene all across Europe, with thousands of flea markets and charity shops trading second-hand items online and over the counter, making the old continent one to hunt for unique objects – several of them unnamed relics and remnants from wartime Europe.

Nima and her €18 antique silver dagger: eyes wide open for rarities


“While I was in Budapest, Hungary, I went thrifting at an eclectic cold-war antique shop. It was full of memorabilia from the USSR and had a lot of interesting antique electronics, like camera gear, that was Soviet brand and never sold in the West. Even more interesting than the electronics was the Soviet Propaganda. There were lots of posters, boggle heads, dolls, and other trinkets hailing Stalin, Lenin, etc.
There were also gas masks and army gear. Going thrifting in Budapest was honestly like stepping into a time-machine to the USSR.”, recalls Katie Cafaro, a travel blogger from New York, who has been full-time traveling for the past year and frequently visits thrift shops. “I got a button that says something in Russian, it’s beautiful but I have no idea what it says. Overall, I thought the store was very inexpensive for the quality and age of the goods. Very few antiques were over $50.”

Besides high street thrift stores, many cities in Europe also offer regular flea markets.

In Vienna, Austria, those looking for great-value items that once belonged to someone else visit Naschmarkt, a food market that since the 1970s has held a flea market every Saturday morning, with stalls selling anything from furniture and old vinyls to tableware, clothes, and books. In Naples, vintage-lovers flock to Mercato di Resina (Via Pugliano) one of the most famous markets in Italy for second-hand and military goods. And in Paris since the 1860s the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen, one of the biggest flea markets in the world, has welcomed thousands of traders every weekend selling bric-a-brac, clothes, and art.

Saving money may be more necessary than ever. But, regardless of the escalating cost of living in Europe, going through second-hand items in thrift shops and flea markets – be it to find a bargain or an unusual item – has been catching the attention of people for centuries.

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Mango teams up with Victoria Beckham for new capsule collection

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Mango teams up with Victoria Beckham for new capsule collection
The collaboration is part of Mango’s new 2024-26 Strategic Plan Elevate lever

Mango, one of Europe’s leading fashion industry groups, is teaming up with Victoria Beckham to launch a new capsule collection.

Victoria Beckham x Mango has been designed by the former Spice Girls member and reflects the essence of the designer’s eponymous label, considered the perfect blend of classic British luxury with a subtle contemporary twist, as well as the shared values of both fashion brands, such as quality and femininity.

The new collection, which coincides with Mango’s 40th anniversary, is the latest in a series of collaborations with other brands, artists and talents including French Writer and Influencer Camille Charrière, and influencer and stylist Pernille Teisbaek.

Mango’s collaboration with Victoria Beckham is part of the new Strategic Plan 2024-26, which aims to generate total turnover of more than 4 billion euros by 2026 through a differentiated value proposition, strong expansion drive, and improving sales in existing stores and online channels, as presented by the company last March. The new collection will go on sale internationally on April 23th, 2024.

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Official Selection of the 77th Festival de Cannes unveiled

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Actress Zoe Saldana who stars in ‘Emilia Perez’, directed by Jacques Audiard, inside a car
Actress Zoe Saldana stars in ‘Emilia Perez’, directed by Jacques Audiard, one of the films competing for a Palme d’Or in Cannes next month | Photo: Saint-Laurent Productions

The countdown for Cannes 2024 has started. The annual film festival is scheduled to open on May 14 with the out-of-competition world premiere of the French comedy ‘The Second Act,’ directed by Quentin Dupieux and starring Léa Seydoux.

Today, Iris Knobloch, who is now in her second year as president, and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the event, announced the official selection of films competing for a Palme d’Or at the 77th Festival de Cannes. The official lineup features 19 movies and includes some well-known filmmakers who have previously debuted productions in Cannes. Among them is British film director Andrea Arnold (‘American Honey’), who is debuting her sixth feature, ‘Bird,’ and Francis Ford Coppola, who won a Palme d’Or at Cannes 45 years ago for ‘Apocalypse Now.’ His new production, ‘Megalopolis,’ starring Adam Driver, is a $120 million self-funded sci-fi epic that has been in development since 1983, when Coppola wrote the first version of the screenplay.

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos will return to Cannes for the world premiere of ‘Kinds of Kindness,’ his latest collaboration with Emma Stone. Lanthimos is a familiar face at the festival, having won the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival for the psychological drama film ‘Dogtooth’ (2009), and scooping a Best Screenplay prize after competing with his ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ at the 70th Festival de Cannes in 2017.

Ainouz: filmmaker directs Erotic Thriller ‘Motel Destino,’ shot in Northeast Brazil | Photo: reproduction Instagram/karimainouz

Brazilian filmmaker Karim Ainouz will bring his eighth fiction feature, ‘Motel Destino,’ to Cannes after shooting his first English-language production, ‘Firebrand,’ starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law, which played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Aïnouz won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes in 2019 for ‘Invisible Life.’

Among the other films playing in competition are new works by David Cronenberg, Paul Schrader, Jia Zhangke, Miguel Gomes, Paolo Sorrentino, and Coralie Fargeat.

Although last year marked a difficult one in Hollywood, with strikes by actors and writers forcing filming and post-production work to shut down for months – leaving significant gaps in 2024’s movie schedules and studios’ pockets – it will be a busy two weeks for the Festival de Cannes, with American filmmaker George Lucas set to receive an honorary Palme d’Or, and Sony’s Columbia Pictures also celebrating its 100th anniversary during the event.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival will run in the French Riviera from May 14-25, 2024. This year’s jury will be overseen by Barbie director and co-writer Greta Gerwig.

Official Selection 2024

Competition

  • The Apprentice, Ali Abbasi
  • Motel Destino, Karim Ainouz
  • Bird, Andrea Arnold
  • Emilia Perez, Jacques Audiard
  • Anora, Sean Baker
  • Megalopolis, Francis Ford Coppola
  • The Shrouds, David Cronenberg
  • The Substance, Coralie Fargeat
  • Grand Tour, Miguel Gomes
  • Marcello Mio, Christophe Honoré
  • Caught By The Tides, Jia Zhang-Ke
  • All We Imagine As Light, Payal Kapadia
  • Kinds Of Kindness, Yórgos Lánthimos
  • L’amour Ouf, Gilles Lellouche
  • Wild Diamond, Agathe Riedinger
  • Oh Canada, Paul Schrader
  • Limonov – The Ballad, Kirill Serebrennikov
  • Parthenope, Paolo Sorrentino
  • The Girl With The Needle, Magnus Von Horn

Out Of Competition

  • The Second Act, Quentin Dupieux (opening film)
  • Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, George Miller
  • Horizon, An American Saga, Kevin Costner
  • She’s Got No Name, Peter Chan
  • Rumours, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, Guy Maddin

Midnight Screenings

  • Twilight Of The Warrior Walled In, Soi Cheang
  • I, The Executioner, Seung Wan Ryoo
  • The Surfer, Lorcan Finnegan
  • The Balconettes, Noémie Merlant

Cannes Premiere

  • Miséricorde, Alain Guiraudie
  • C’est Pas Moi, Leos Carax
  • Everybody Loves Touda, Nabil Ayouch
  • The Matching Bang, Emmanuel Courcol
  • Rendez-Vous Avec Pol Pot, Rithy Panh
  • Le Roman de Jim, Arnaud Larrieu, Jean-Marie Larrieu 

Special Screenings

  • Le Belle De Gaza, Yolande Zauberman
  • Apprendre, Claire Simon
  • The Invasion, Sergei Loznitsa
  • Ernest Cole, Lost And Found, Raoul Peck
  • Le Fil, Daniel Auteuil

Un Certain Regard

  • Norah, Tawfik Alzaidi
  • The Shameless, Konstantin Bojanov
  • Le Royaume, Julien Colonna
  • Vingt Dieux!, Louise Courvoisier
  • Who Let The Dog Bite?, Lætitia Dosch
  • Black Dog, Guan Hu
  • The Village Next To Paradise, Mo Harawe
  • September Says, Ariane Labed
  • L’histoire De Souleymane, Boris Lojkine
  • The Damned, Roberto Minervini
  • On Becoming A Guinea Fowl, Rungano Nyoni
  • My Sunshine, Hiroshi Okuyama
  • Santosh, Sandhya Suri
  • Viet And Nam, Truong Minh Quý
  • Armand, Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel

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Bus drivers and dogs strike a pose for National Pet Day in the UK

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Bus drivers and dogs strike a pose for National Pet Day in the UK
Bus stop: Christopher and Chester, Kim and Misty, and Mark and Pongo celebrating National Pet Day | Photo: Charlotte Graham

A bus operator in the UK is celebrating the National Pet Day on April 11th with snapshots capturing the bond between its bus drivers and their dogs.

The collection titled ‘A Bus Driver’s Best Friend’, released by Go North East, features six drivers from depots across the region, joined by pals: Pongo, Chester, Tasha, Misty, Milo, and Ella.

“Misty just wants everyone to love her. She’s not fazed by much either, we always say she’s totally fearless. Saying that she’s the softest dog at heart, we love spending chilled time together. When I’m watching TV of a night, she’ll jump up onto the back of the sofa and wrap her paws over my shoulders and snooze. That’s her favourite spot… and mine too,” says bus driver Kim Goodwin, from Crookgate.

Mark Gradon and his dalmatian Pongo, from Coxhoe, also had their image captured by award-winning photographer Charlotte Graham.

“Pongo’s just full of character, I call him my not-so-little shadow as he’s always there by my side. He’s getting on a bit now but I just love the fact he’s a puppy at heart. I’ll never forget the day I came home to find him sat down looking up at me all innocent with an empty dog food bag around his neck,” recalls Gradon.

The number of dogs in the UK continues to grow, with an estimated 13 million dogs living in UK households. During the lockdown, dog ownership in the United Kingdom increased from 23% in 2020 to 34% in 2022.

“It’s just such a pure friendship. I was ill a while back and Chester laid by my side until I was well again. I’m in no doubt having him there helped my recovery. It’s such a lift when I see that wagging tail when I get home from work. We’ve got a little ritual, he greets me, I hand him the paper that I buy every day for Amanda my wife, and he then fetches it to her. He’s my boy!,” says bus driver Christopher Walker, from Forest Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Carly and Tasha, from Washington: 11 years of friendship and trips to the beach | Photo: Charlotte Graham

For bus driver Carly Benson, from Washington, the beach has been the place to spend time together for over a decade.

“Tasha’s my best friend, she’s a very understanding dog with a gentle soul, always there when you need a cuddle. She’s 11 now and I treasure every moment we spend together. By far the best times are those spent down the beach when she becomes a puppy again bouncing across the sand,” says Benson.

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