It was a trip to South Africa in early 2019 that inspired William Sargent to launch Mr Portobello.
What is now an eclectic hub of ethical and sustainable fashion started with an inspiring visit to Hluhluwe. an impoverished area outside of Kwa-Zulu Natal where the abundance of recycled materials and sustainable methods being used fused Will's love of fashion with the immediate need to move towards a more sustainable way.
From there it was an internship with one of Cape Town's best known artisanal hubs, The Secret Garden Market, that cemented Will's desire to provide London with a colourful display of sustainable style upon his return.
With a suitcase full of textiles and a head full of ideas Will pitched the concept to his mother, Maggie Sargent who has since become both the muse and wings of the brand. Mama Portobello, as she is now known, cleared out her wardrobe to provide Will's first ever Portobello market stand with her trademark colour and style. The response was unanimous and so began their journey to fill the stand and then the shop with a dynamic range of eclectic and sustainable options.
An adventure through the French countryside changed the brand's direction yet again with the introduction of vintage, silk Kimonos brought back to life in the U.K. by the team's local seamstress before being gobbled up by London's, Portobello Road.
With a clear cut direction now defined by London's market Mr Portobello found himself in North Africa following fabrics and makers till the now established range of original Mr Portobello designs was formed. Ethically made using 100% recycled fabric for 100% sustainable style.
From there another organic branch of the business was born with the formulation of sister company, Miss Portobello, run by master upholsterer and Will's own sister, Annie Sargent and boasting an incredible range of authentic Moroccan rugs and textiles.
Now, with a new collection of trademark style, Will returned to London to expand his online offering to include other young, sustainable and ethical businesses.
Fast forward three pop ups and thousands of stylish moments and Mr Portobello now showcases a dynamic range of products and brands including fashion, homeware and bespoke accessories.
To date, and with great success, Clemmie Rose Designs, Pink Piglet Jewellery, Suits You London, Babble & Hemp, Deeba and Hum London have all featured either online or at one of the Portobello Pop Ups.
What began as a personal project has evolved into a family affair with both Mr and Miss Portobello continuing to expand their unique brand of style. As they grow so does the importance of our focus on sustainability and we are continuously workshopping ways to improve both our manufacturing and supply chain processes whilst currently working with Go Greenr to ensure customers are given a way to offset their carbon footprint with every purchase.
What to expect from Mr Portobello in 2021? In short; a lot! Think Portobello Road showroom, a new range of coats, sustainable collaborations, a full range of Miss Portobello homeware and much, much more.