Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the iconic event Goodwood Revival for the first time, and so I thought I’d share a little window into my experience. I volunteered to help out on the Gowns by Roberta stand, and planned to attend for most of the time that the event was open to the public – Friday lunchtime until Sunday afternoon – so I headed to Chichester by train on Friday morning, ready to take the (vintage) shuttle bus from the station to the motor circuit.
I had visited the Goodwood site back in 2010 but for a different event, and so had never been to the iconic Goodwood Revival before. It’s an event for fans of motorsport and/or vintage style, where cars of the past are presented alongside vintage-inspired fashion, and pretty much everyone who visits dresses up. You’re not just going to watch 1960s Mini Coopers bombing round the track, you’re doing it dressed in an outfit that Mary Quant would be proud of, before heading over the road for some shopping and then popping into the Butlin’s tent for a roller disco. There’s so much to do that I was very glad I was going to have some time to explore while I was there.
Once I arrived at the site, my first challenge was working out how to get in because Roberta hadn’t been able to get my wristband to me in advance and the mobile reception was not that great. (Top tip for anyone visiting next year – get yourself onto the event’s wifi as soon as you get to the gate!) Thankfully, I found a lovely event volunteer who offered to track down the Gowns by Roberta stand and retrieve my wristband for me. Once I was in and had stashed my suitcase, I had to make sure I had the perfect outfit ready for helping Roberta to sell her designs. On Friday I wore my black and white velvet Judy Garland skirt and my limited edition houndstooth blouse (see photo above).
After helping to get the stand looking good (and letting Roberta go on a much needed lunch break!), I settled into meeting the neighbours and some potential customers. Revival is a very friendly event and the stall holders all look out for each other; the lovely guys selling vintage Italian scooters shared their snacks, with us the Sussex Tweed team constantly kept our spirits up, and many others stopped by to say hello throughout the weekend. Thankfully lots of the event’s visitors stopped by to say hello too, and we had a few mailing list sign-ups. We eased ourselves into Friday evening with some pink fizz and looked forward to the weekend ahead.
It’s an early start and a late night for sellers at Goodwood, and Roberta had already been there a few days for setting up, so we were exhausted by the time we headed off to get some sleep. Thankfully the weather was beautiful on Saturday and so the early start felt invigorating. After being cooped up inside for most of 2020 and a huge chunk of 2021, it felt great to be in the open air… even for someone like me who isn’t really an outdoors person! As there was no chance of rain we reorganised the stand to move everything outside, making it easier for people to browse and ensuring that we had a massive changing room for anyone who wanted to try things on.
The many colours of the wonderful Victoria palazzo trousers caught the eye of lots of passers-by (like a rainbow curtain behind us) and the cute houndstooth version of the Roberta dress was a massive hit too! For my Saturday outfit, I went with my houndstooth Isabella Blow pencil skirt and the classic Sylvia Plath blouse. Roberta’s friend Geraldine liked the look so much that she tried on the same outfit (see the photo below; I think we both look fantastic in it). Only Roberta was scouted for the Best Dressed competition though, and she was sadly far too busy to take part – the life of a small business owner is non-stop!
On Saturday I also managed to find time to explore, and so got to look around a lot more of the site including the track, the paddock, the funfair and the open air cinema. Roberta’s clothes are designed for living in, rather than just posing for photos, and so the pencil skirt is very comfortably cut for important things like walking and eating. How I didn’t get ketchup from my breakfast butty on my blouse is anyone’s guess though! Everything is designed to last and is made from beautiful quality fabrics, so I know I’ll be wearing these for years to come as long as I take good care of them.
There was a lot more to discover in and around the track, with areas where you can watch the racing, see the cars up close, dance, eat, get your hair done and, of course, do more shopping! It looked like there was also plenty to do in the evening too, but by then I was back at the Gowns by Roberta stand helping to sort out our evening plans for dinner and drinks. Whether or not you’re a motorsport fan, there’s certainly plenty to keep you entertained on a day out at Goodwood Revival.
The weather wasn’t so kind to us on Sunday, but we moved things back inside the stand and had our coats and umbrellas at the ready. Thankfully the downpour didn’t last long and we were soon enjoying sunshine again. Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by and said hello during the time I was there. I met a few people I only know from Instagram, which was lovely, and really appreciated the kindness from most of the visitors. As it’s a retro event, it does sadly also attract a few people who seem to think that Britain was better in “the good old days” (whatever the hell that means!), but we wore our inclusive values openly on the Gowns by Roberta stand and anyone who didn’t like it was free to walk on by.
It was fantastic to be able to help Roberta to spread the word about her designs at an event as iconic as Goodwood Revival. I’m known for my love of vintage-inspired fashion, but not many people know that I’m also interested in cars, so it was the perfect event for me. I really enjoyed talking to people about which of her designs they loved the most, plus discussing the benefits of slow fashion. It was also lovely to be able to wear all my Gowns by Roberta pieces too. Well, nearly all of them. I have the Tamie skirt in the limited edition red fabric, but everyone who stopped by seemed to love the houndstooth the most so I ended up wearing a bit of that on all three days. There are more photos from my weekend over on Instagram, in my stories highlight entitled Revival 2021. I really enjoyed the weekend and will probably go back, so I hope to see some of you there next year.