Portobello Road: Meet The Locals

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Herbie Mensah, market trader and part-time learning support assistant for adults with special needs (also a Vivienne Westwood muse in the Seventies)

What is it about the area that inspires you?

"It has been a great inspiration to me in the way that I dress and in giving me ideas for sourcing and collecting clothing and seeing the many different styles, of the way people dress from all over the world."

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Kay Montana, make-up artist and founder of Thandiekay.com

What is it about the area that inspires you?

"I love the diverse mix of people, both culturally and every other way! To me I'd go as far as to say it's the nearest thing to racial and class harmony in the world. I love the local eccentrics mixing with immigrant families from everywhere who are still outnumbering the hedge funders - just!"

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Leila Bertrand, casting director

What is your connection with Portobello Market?

"I was born, many years ago now, down the road from the Portobello Road and have seen the market change. Some of it for the good, but it is good that we still have some of the old fruit-and-veg stall holders and the Friday morning market is still the best for vintage clothes. The market is inspiring because of the multicultural population, the smells, the colours, the hustle and bustle of the market. The conviviality and humour that makes up the profile of the market."

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Bambi, market trader and founder of vintage stall Banana Split

Is there a particular memory from the neighbourhood that you treasure most?

"The carnival's vibrant colours and the ability to bring people together."

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Nick and Edie Ashley, founder of Private White and a student

What is it about the area that inspires you?

N: "Portobello is a community, the whole of humanity is there: the very wealthiest, the poorest and all ethnic groups. We fight, we laugh, it’s like a family."

E: "I like that everything is second hand, which means it tells a story. All the legends selling the stuff are so friendly, you have a relationship with the person you are buying from and they can tell you things about the product."

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Paula Reboredo Rondon and Gilberto Franca dos Santos, market traders

Is there a something in the neighbourhood that you treasure the most?

G: "The different people, different cultures, and different styles that the market brings every week."

P: "The Pastel de Belém from Cafe Lisboa!"

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Immy Waterhouse, model

How do you see the future of Portobello Road?

"You can see the gentrification happening almost daily. It’s sad that small local businesses are being priced out by big chains, as if we need another Starbucks. It’s slowly becoming like the King’s Road and if it continues it’ll lose all the magic of why people love it in the first place."

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Seni Crofts (right), music booker

Is there a particular memory from the neighbourhood that you treasure most?

"Probably either walking down the market every weekend with my dad or the Notting Hill carnival. It's on my birthday every year and when I was younger, about five, I thought the whole carnival was thrown as my birthday party!"

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Penelope Chilvers, fashion designer, pictured with her daughter, Gemma

What is your best/favourite Portobello purchase?

"I bought a nubuck Seventies jacket with amazing pleated cuffs and rounded collar, in an amazing tan, that Gemma used to complete one of the looks in our recent pre-shoot.  I will sell it 'off the page' or in the shop afterwards when the collection is out."

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Natalie May, market trader and musician

What is it about the area that inspires you?

"Portobello Market is a real melting pot. You get people from all over the world and from different cultural backgrounds all in one market. In one day I've seen Kate Moss strut through in the morning and a homeless magician giving quite a show to the locals in the afternoon. Anything goes on Portobello. For a long time, I felt like it was the only place I felt fully comfortable to wear whatever I wanted. Fancy walking down the street with a flower pot on your head for a hat? 'Just another day on Portobello,' the locals would say."

Vogue

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