Today Portobello Market, with its myriad stalls stretching from Westbourne Grove all the way along Golborne Road, is abuzz with fashion aficionados on the hunt for vintage treasures. But in 1994, when British stylist and editor Bay Garnett was in her early 20s, it attracted only the more adventurous shopper, with rarely a fashion editor in sight. “My love of thrift and of clothes very much sprang from Golborne Road,” Barnett, who is widely hailed as the doyenne of “thrifting”, tells AnOther over the phone from her nearby Shepherd’s Bush abode. “My friend [the model] Iris Palmer had a house there, which was basically open doors to anybody, and we’d all meet there and head down to the market. It was such an alive time.” We are talking about Garnett’s new capsule collection for M.i.h Jeans, the aptly named Golborne Road by Bay Garnett, inspired by the eclectic spirit of west London street style in the 1990s and based on eight of Garnett’s own prized garments from her years spent scouring secondhand stalls.
“When Chloe [Lonsdale] approached me about the collection I thought it was a lovely opportunity,” she explains. “I’ve always really liked M.i.h. Jeans, they do really good, unpretentious denim, and I knew they’d let me do what I wanted to do.” The philosophy underpinning the collection, Garnett says, is “true wearability” – finding clothes that you really love, and which stand the test of time. This, she says, is embodied by a moss-green, velour Henley top, based on one given to her by her close friend, the late Anita Pallenberg. “I love it because it’s so un-showy-offy but it’s really rock’n’roll – you can imagine Mick Jagger or Keith Richards in it, or indeed Anita.” Other pieces include a studded denim jacket, inspired by a 70s find in a New York flea market, which Garnett has since “worn threadbare”, and various gems from Portobello Market, spanning a pair of classic denim flares, a camo shirt and a chic 70s dress in pale pink silk, embroidered with butterflies.
The collection is accompanied by a visually enticing zine, channelling the DIY, collaged aesthetic of 90s countercultural publications, and filled with sun-drenched outtakes from the lookbook shoot by Tom Craig, featuring a gazelle-like Lorelle Rayner radiating insouciant cool in and around Golborne Road. It also contains handwritten questionnaires filled out by the team and snapshots captured by Garnett throughout the day on a disposable camera, including their early morning fry-up and post-shoot pub trip. “I like it not to look too glossy; I enjoy looking at the things that make someone stylish – the way someone’s belt is slung or the way their sleeves are rolled up,” the stylist says of the publication’s dreamy, lo-fi quality and various detail shots. “It’s not about the presentation of fashion, it’s about someone wearing something interestingly, the flop of a jean or a jacket slung over a chair.” Garnett is, of course, no stranger to independent publishing, having co-edited the seminal thrifter zine Cheap Date alongside her friend Kira Jolliffe, with whom she also founded Fanpages in 2016, a covetable compendium of single-page fanzines.
“There was a great zine called Thrift SCORE I used to buy, and Punk Magazine, which I would get in a New York zine store,” Garnett says of the early publications that first compelled her to create her own. “Debbie Harry and Joey Ramone used to feature in Punk’s photo stories, which were amazing and inspired us to do the fashion stories in Cheap Date.” It was these editorials, showcasing Garnett’s artful styling of vintage finds, that in turn caught the attention of British Vogue, leading to Garnett’s acclaimed tenure at the magazine, where she championed the seamless combination of high fashion and thrift garments that has since become de rigueur, inspiring fashion lovers from around the globe to descend in their droves upon west London. Which brings us back to Golborne Road, the place where it all began, and where with her M.i.h Collaboration, which so brilliantly encapsulates its spirit, Garnett finds herself coming full circle.
To shop Bay Garnett’s capsule collection for M.i.h Jeans, visit the website.