fashion magazine
Portobello West Market
by EMMA BREEDON
Photography by PETER JENSEN www.peterjensenphotography.com
Portobello West Market is held once a month in the Creekside Community Recreation Centre. They have recently re-branded as a non-profit company in order to "strengthen the market's relationship with the artistic community and the City of Vancouver" explains manager Rosemary Marland Lennox. "As a non-profit organization, the idea is that we are here to help our artists to become better exposed, understood and defined in their creative endeavours by meeting their market on a regular basis."

An example how Portobello West helps with exposure is that they are currently nominating one of their talented artists for the British Columbia Creative Achievement Award. These awards celebrate contemporary B.C. artists who work in jewellery, glass, wood, fibre, clay and metal. The winner receives a $5000 award, enough to help any up and coming artist. In addition, they are holding a fashion-forecasting workshop in June which will provide an "...opportunity for Portobello West fashion artists to learn about trend directions."

Despite the recent changes, Rosemary explains how most are mainly noticeable behind the scenes. "The primary difference is that there are now six voices of leadership, which means there are more ideas to work with. It also means Portobello West has more varied connections to the community and the City." Artists involved in Portobello West must be local artists who create fair-trade, handmade, innovative and unique works of art, fashion and design. "We like to have a diverse blend of emerging and established local artists at each market so that shoppers can come back every month to find the work of artists that they know and enjoy" explains Lennox. The new location for the market - launched in March 2011 in the Olympic Village - holds around 75 artists and is generally at full capacity in the Spring, Fall and Winter months. In the Summer, although some artists choose to take time off to work on new lines and concepts, the new location is perfect for traffic on the sea wall so will likely bring a different crowd and new customers to the market.

Although Portobello West previously ran "The Graduate Award" in 2007 and 2008, they decided to stop. According to the market's founder, Carlie Smith, "The challenge we discovered along the way was that new designers were not quite yet ready to take advantage of all the prizes offered." They now, however, support the "Generation Next Award" by donating a prize. This award is designed to support the best up-and-coming designers by offering them a fashion show at the next year's competition. It follows the Portobello West mantra of giving the chance to mentor, nurture, and encourage those new to the business with assistance in developing the designers brand.

To be part of the next market please visit portobellowest.com. For more inforamtion or questions contact Rosemary Marland Lennox at manager.van@portobellowest.com.