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.
Q1) Tell us about the concept behind Style By Portobello?
“Style By Portobello (wwww.stylebyportobello.com) 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!”
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.”
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!”
(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.