Meet the Founder of Style By Portobello: An Interview with Nzinga Russell

A jet setter, fashionista, loving wife and a mother of two, 34 year old Nzinga Russell has a lot to juggle in life. But nothing keeps her from her passion; which is vintage shopping and fashion as inspired by the one and only Portobello. From her many years of selling (and also buying and merchandising) at Portobello Market whilst working full-time in the corporate world of fashion and beauty……the idea of Style By Portobello was born.

Here we get to know the powerhouse behind one of London’s best up and coming brands. Read on to see what this stylish lady has to say about the UK’s very first vintage subscription box and her inspiration behind it.

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Q1) Tell us about the concept behind Style By Portobello?

“Style By Portobello ( is a monthly vintage style subscription service delivering the best of Portobello Road market to your door. For £35 a month, subscribers will receive the most gorgeous vintage jewellery, bags, belts, scarves and accessories that Portobello has to offer. When you sign up, each subscriber fills out a short style profile questionnaire to enable us to curate a box of pieces that they will love month after month.”

Q2) How has Portobello Road inspired your vintage subscription box business?

“Portobello has been a huge part of my life and it inspires everything that we do here at Style By Portobello. Whilst working full time in corporate roles, I always made sure that I had a creative outlet for my true passion – which is fashion and all things vintage. So I had a weekly stall at my local market, which is London’s most fabulous Portobello Road. Despite the 6am weekend morning starts I just loved working on the stall and I did this for four years. I loved sourcing the stock from the UK and abroad; because I’m an EXTREMELY avid traveller, any chance to shop vintage whilst in exotic locations was just fantastic.

And one of my favourite parts of the whole process was getting to know my fellow stall holders and chatting with the locals who would come down every week. What personalities!”

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Q3) Portobello Road certainly is one of London’s gems. For those who have never been, what would you tell them?   

“You really can’t beat Portobello Road for the variety of its residents, their sense of style, community and their love for the market. It’s really a unique melting pot that always strives to keep its authenticity – and it’s a great place for spotting street style if you’re into fashion. And of course, there are one-off vintage pieces here which can’t be found on a normal high street.”

Q4) What is it about vintage fashion that’s so incredibly special?  

“For me, vintage is a great way to express your style personality in a really unique manner. You can choose to follow current trends by wearing the original pieces from that era. Or you can simply transcend the trends and wear some amazing timelessly chic pieces. I get a real buzz from knowing that when I am wearing vintage, I am wearing something truly unique.

I always get people asking me about what I’m wearing and where I find the pieces. When I say Portobello Road market, I get such a positive response, especially from people who don’t live in West London and can’t get to the market often.”

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Q4) It seems that Portobello Road and the local community are huge inspirations to your work. Who are the key people that inspire you in fashion?  

“My mother is super stylish. She’s gorgeous, always looks impeccable and knows how to glam it up. She taught me to take pride in how I look and to have fun with it. Her wardrobe was my first true vintage experience. She never throws anything away so from my teenage years onwards I’d take great pleasure in raiding her treasure trove of a closet every weekend. When it comes to famous people or celebrities, my style icons range from Madonna (in the early days) to SJP.”

Q5) For people who are new to vintage, what are your styling tips?

“I think combining amazing vintage pieces with high street staples is the key to keeping your look contemporary and unique. The easiest way to include vintage into a contemporary wardrobe is with accessories. With one statement piece you can turn an outfit from average to outstanding. So I would say that a gorgeous vintage bag is a necessity. I would also say have fun and always buy quality pieces as they will last. When it comes to accessories, be as adventurous as you dare and when it comes to clothing, completely ignore size labels. TRY IT ON!”

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(Img credit: Rosaline Shahnavaz)

We hope you’ve enjoyed the interview with our founder, the fabulous Nzinga Russell. If you love vintage shopping and all the inspiration behind Style By Portobello, make sure you sign up for the monthly subscription box for some hand-curated goodies selected just for you.


Portobello Road Turns 150 Years Old!

2015 is a very special year for Portobello Road; together with Golborne Road, the markets celebrate 150 years of being an iconic and influential part of London culture. And what an apt year for our Style By Portobello monthly subscription boxes to launch in the UK. If you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you sign up for gorgeous vintage accessories hand-selected and delivered to you every month.

portobello road market 150 years

portobello road market 150 years

Kicking off the celebrations back in February with a ‘Vintage Fashion & Accessories’ theme, the whole year ahead is jam-packed with exciting celebrations and each month will have a unique theme.

portobello road market 150 years

March is all about vintage books and literature, April will celebrate music through the decades with Record Store Day on the 18th, May brings ‘Love Your Local Market’ to the public from 13th-27th, June has an arts theme with the InTRANSIT Festival, July will see the Golborne Road Festival come to life, August is the return of the annual Notting Hill Carnival, in September we will be getting geared up for London Fashion Week, National Apple Day will be the highlight of October, antiques will be November’s theme, and December will dominated by vintage gifts at our markets. (You can find out more about events on the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea official website).

portobello 150 years

Dating back to the 1860s, Portobello Road Market has transformed from humble milk stalls to one of the most significant shopping hubs of London, now offering vintage fashion and accessories, vintage furniture and crafts, music and food. Get involved with this year’s celebrations and make sure you visit Portobello the next time you’re in London. Or get involved in the conversation with hashtag #pogo150. 

For hand-curated vintage fashion accessories from Portobello Market delivered direct to your door, make sure you sign up to our vintage subscription box!



Spring Hair Inspiration: 3 Easy to Do Vintage Hairstyles

We love vintage hair and makeup. Show us a 50s victory roll or a 90s braid and our hearts will skip a beat. But we know that not every hairstyle from past decades is easy to achieve. And some just aren’t suitable for spring/summer; as the weather gets warmer, we all want something easy and effortless. So here are 3 wonderful vintage hairstyles that can be achieved in less than no time…


20s hair inspiration

A great way to jazz up a simple bob is to create some glamorous 1920s-inspired waves. This look is perfect for Spring as it’s short and fabulously light and airy.

1. Curl your hair as normal with a curling iron.

2. Once you have curled all the sections of your hair, comb through your hair with a brush. The curls will bounce back on their own.

3. Use a pintail comb to manipulate the size and shape of the waves and finish with hairspray.


60s hairstyles inspiration

The sixties is all about big, big and BIG. If your hair isn’t big then your statement is small. And no self-respecting 60s girl would leave the house without making a huge statement. To get the beehive messy bun look, make sure you’re armed with a backcombing brush!

1. Separate the hair at your crown into sections so you can backcomb each section. Use hairspray to keep hair in place.

2. When your hair has enough volume, pin your hair back and tie together with a hair band.

3. Backcomb the ends of your hair to create a messy look then use hair grips to create a bun.


70s boho hair inspiration

Keep it natural and let it all hang loose for the 70s boho look. This hedonistic hairstyle is all about effortless locks that need nothing more than a gentle hair tousle. Adorn with a forehead band or headscarf  to complete your Woodstock style.

1. If your hair has a natural wave, add texturiser or enhance shape. If your hair is naturally straight, add a few plaits to give it more depth and a boho look.

2. Tousle your hair at the roots and run your fingers through to create a messy look.

3. Finish with a light spray of hairspray.

Modern Vintage Stylistas: Bloggers Who Rock Vintage!

At Style by Portobello, we eat, sleep, dream and breathe vintage. Situated in the heart of all the vintage action here in London’s Portobello markets, there’s nothing we don’t know about vintage fashion. But we also know that rocking another decade isn’t always easy. If you need a little inspiration or guidance, why not look to our favourite vintage style bloggers?

Here are our top 5 modern vintage stylistas. These fashion bloggers rock vintage. And they make it look oh so easy…


top 5 vintage bloggers fashion

Ellie is just 17 but her style maturity blows us away. And we don’t mean she dresses like an old fuddy duddy; we mean she rocks every outfit with confidence that only comes with years of fashion knowledge and being comfortable in your own skin.  Just one look at Ellie’s wardrobe and you will get the notion that this girl dresses how she feels and doesn’t need to conform to trends. What an inspiration. And boy does she rock any print she desires – she is the print QUEEN. Check out Ellie’s blog Rose & Vintage for more outfits.


top uk vintage bloggers

There’s something so sweet and elegant about Catherine from Vintage Frills Blog.  Not only does her signature 50s look portray a wonderfully wholesome image but she also bakes, sews, paints and upcycles old furniture too. She sounds like a dream, right? Well we just love her flirty fifties wardrobe (sometimes sixties depending on her mood) and Catherine’s background in antique clothing, vintage buying and visual merchandising makes her all the more a must-follow blogger. This girl sure knows her stuff.


top vintage fashion bloggers uk

We have one word for this girl; fierce. How she makes every single outfit look so rock ‘n’ roll without even trying, we’ll never know. She’s obsessed with the 60s and 70s and her look is effortlessly boho. She’s intimidatingly confident with her dress sense and her wardrobe is simply to die for. If you’re looking for some gypsy/hippie inspiration, make sure you check out Sara Louise’s blog.


top vintage fashion bloggers uk

Man do we have a serious girl crush on Lereese from The Girl Who Stole Vintage blog. Not only does this vintage style blogger have her own vintage shop on Etsy (we love a girl boss!) but her sometimes-silver somtimes-purple hair adds an edge to her every outfit. Mixing vintage items with high street, Lereese proves that vintage is for everyone; you just have to know what to do with it. And she sure does.


top vintage fashion bloggers uk

Emma’s effortless wardrobe takes vintage to a whole new ethereal, understated and dreamy level. We love her look.  It’s very simple; it doesn’t shout, it doesn’t scream, it embraces vintage in the most elegant way. The perfect mix of high street and vintage inspired pieces, we think that Emma’s Looking Glass is the perfect read for someone who is dipping their toes into vintage for the first time.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our post on some of our favourite vintage style bloggers. If you have some favourite bloggers or would like to be considered for your next post, make sure you tweet us or follow us on instagram.