Did you know that Monsoon, (yes, THE Monsoon) began as a stall on Portobello Road 40 years ago in the 1970’s? Did you? Well it did.
And last week saw them celebrate the past 40 years in style, by going back to its roots and pitching a market stall outside the Electric Cinema on Portobello Road. In the pouring rain.
Lucky passers by were greeted with a selection of its heritage and occasion wear samples, some boutique gifts and stunning homeware, with all proceeds going to the Monsoon Trust (see below…)
The story of Monsoon is a little like a fairy story, although with fewer fairies, more dresses and one Peter Simon, (Monsoon’s founder). And it was Peter Simon himself who told us, (me, the amazing Monsoon Press Fairies and some other merry bloggers) the magical story over breakfast (avocado and poached eggs on toast, ding!) at The Electric last Friday.
I will sum up. Once upon a time there was a man (that would be Peter Simon) who travelled the globe on foot (not really) and brought back hand crafted garments from faraway lands (Asia). He set up a stall on Portobello Road in Notting Hill and sold his wares to all the boys and girls, who thought they were all rather hip.
The stall was so successful that the first Monsoon store opened in Knightsbridge in 1973 and Accessorize followed in 1983.
Not only that, but in 1993, the Monsoon Trust was born, which helps disadvantaged women and children in Asia, through education, healthcare and income generation projects. And with Jodie Kidd as the Trust’s patron, it appears that there really is no stopping them.
After story time, we all went outside and huddled under the gorgeously decorated stall, (it really was pouring!) Peter Simon (undeterred by the weather) leapt into action and he and John Browett (CEO of Monsoon) were very at home, hanging up twinkly dresses, bartering with the locals and embracing the community spirit that our beloved Portobello is brimming with.
So happy anniversary, Monsoon. And a huge hats off.
Here’s to forty more…