What I Know About Style

Claudia Vispi, 282 Portobello

282 Portobello Road


Claudia Vispi, co-owner of vintage boutique 282 Portobello, chose to work on a shop rather than a second marriage

What sparked your love of fashion?

I grew up in Chelsea and the first item I bought was a fabulous pair of Vivienne Westwood pirate boots – they’re round-toed, slouchy, covered in straps and I’ve worn the heels right through. I was fascinated by Vivienne Westwood – she is a true artist.

Why vintage?

A lot of modern things are made really badly.

How did you get started?

It was a natural process. I used to work in television production, but they were never interested in my work; they were only interested in what I was wearing. Then I met my husband-to-be (now ex-husband) who was already working in fashion and we came up with a formula, which is essential. You can’t just stock beautiful things. You have to have the right location and the right girls helping you.

How long have you been at 282 Portobello?

Since September 2008. It was the choice between a second marriage or another shop.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Having the best appreciators buy your prized possessions. Paul Smith’s team came in on Friday and bought some 1940s handbags – bags that you may never see in your lifetime. They knew and appreciated that.

What is it like being located north of the Westway?

All these shops around here are really wacky and interesting. We’re all independent, individual businesses. It’s pretty edgy here, which keeps it real. I did have tramps stealing barbours, but they seemed to have stopped since I’ve asked them to ask me for macs if they’re cold. I have stuff that’s damaged to give them rather than the irreplaceable 1940s mac.

What’s your favourite day of the week?

I really like Sundays because the local girls come in and take their time without being stampeded on by the tourists.

You run a Portobello boot stall at the weekends. How does the stall differ to the shop?

It’s really wild out there whereas the shop is like being at home – it’s more contained. It’s like inviting someone into your home. People get a bit scared if you’re not giving the same attention to them as you are other people so they leave.

What’s next?

I’ll be moving from the stall soon because I’m getting asked for all day. It’s a natural progression. I’m currently using the stall for advertising. I put bait in the stall to get the customers over to the shop. I will still have 1,000 boots outside the shop once I’ve moved to the shop permanently.

282 Portobello Road, W10; 020 8993 4162

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