Streetwear label hopes to re-brand crisis-hit city

Streetwear label hopes to re-brand crisis-hit city

You’ll have heard of San Francisco, San Antonio and San Jose – however have you ever heard of the seaside city of San Portablo?

Sick of his hometown being the butt of jokes, a former Port Talbot steelworker created a streetwear label, giving the much-maligned city a re-brand.

“We get such a nasty rep, you recognize Port Rest room, Port Pill, all of the jokes,” mentioned Nigel Hunt.

Theare faces an unsure future with Tata Metal asserting it’ll close both the town’s blast furnaces this year with the lack of 1,929 jobs.

Streetwear label hopes to re-brand crisis-hit cityStreetwear label hopes to re-brand crisis-hit city

Port Talbot’s metal trade has gained the city a popularity of being polluted [Getty]

Port Talbot’s fortunes have all the time been firmly linked with the metal trade.

At its Sixties peak, the works employed virtually 20,000 individuals and was fondly identified to locals as “treasure island” with the employees’ good wages permitting the city to thrive.

Nigel doesn’t wish to see the steelworks shut however believes the city is resilient.

“Some individuals who work there assume that is the top of the world, Armageddon, however there are numerous who don’t work there and don’t share that perception,” mentioned Nigel.

He thinks the city can reinvent itself.

“Port Talbot has loads of qualities, it’s coastal, it’s on the mainline, there’s an enormous port, there’s a pleasant seashore, nice mountains, a superb neighborhood and a superb expertise base,” he mentioned.

“I don’t assume we’ll be as decimated as what individuals make out.”

In 2016, after shedding his job on the steelworks, Nigel determined to create a label that tapped into the fondness he and others have for Port Talbot.

Wales had simply certified for Euro 2016 in France and he started by promoting T-shirts on the streets of Bordeaux.

Then in 2018, Banksy created one other alternative when his artwork Season’s greetings appeared on a storage within the city.

All of the designs, created by native artists and modelled by individuals from the city, have one factor in widespread – a celebration of Port Talbot.

“I like residing in an industrial city, I’m used to the sounds, the smells, the noise, the sunshine… it’s residence to me,” mentioned Nigel.

The works loom massive in his childhood recollections and he added: “As a child, tenting out within the ‘80s with these blast furnaces it was like we didn’t must go and see the Northern Lights, the sunshine within the night time was extraordinary and the sound of it like a continuing backdrop.”

Michael Sheen (centre) with Nigel and Michael Michael Sheen (centre) with Nigel and Michael

Actor Michael Sheen (centre) who’s from the city is likely one of the well-known faces who likes to go to the label’s store [San Portablo]

It appears others within the city really feel the identical.

The label’s social media pages are full of huge teams on vacation all sporting San Portablo T-shirts and hoodies.

Well-known faces from the world, reminiscent of actor Michael Sheen and former Wales worldwide Richard Hibbard, wish to pop into the store in Aberafan Purchasing Centre to indicate their assist.

Swansea band Trampolene, who’re set to headline the city’s In It Collectively Competition, are repeatedly seen sporting the label.

For the previous six years the store has had one other celerity working behind the counter – Michael Locke, higher generally known as stuntman and skateboarder Pancho from MTV’s Soiled Sanchez.

Michael, Nigel’s long-term good friend and enterprise accomplice who additionally grew up within the city, moved residence from Bristol in 2018.

“I used to be biking alongside [Aberavon] seashore because the solar was taking place and I believed ‘proper, I’m going again to Wales, I’m transferring again to Port Talbot’,” he mentioned.

Michael in the shopMichael in the shop

Michael Locke, higher generally known as stuntman and skateboarder Pancho from MTV Soiled Sanchez, is Nigel’s enterprise accomplice [BBC]

Like Nigel, he additionally needs to defend and reclaim his city.

“We’re all the time having derogatory phrases used towards us – so we simply flipped it,” he mentioned.

“Locals obtained behind it massively as a result of we’re pleased with our city.”

It isn’t simply individuals from the world getting behind the model – on a Friday afternoon in April the store had 4 guests from Evesham in Worcestershire.

It was buyer Dan Jackson’s fourth go to to the store.

“I feel it’s cool how they’re making an attempt to assist the place out, with the steelworks and the whole lot they’re making an attempt to carry it up,” he mentioned.

“The message behind it’s making an attempt to get Port Talbot on the map once more.”

Michael and Nigel on the streetMichael and Nigel on the street

Nigel hopes the model will carry hope to others in “small or retro” cities [Roo Lewis]

Nigel sees the label as a part of a vibrant artwork scene within the city.

Port Talbot is legendary for producing an array of appearing greats, from Sir Anthony Hopkins to Richard Burton, but it surely additionally has a thriving avenue artwork and reside music scene.

“I really feel generally we’re changing into south Wales’ Camden,” he mentioned.

“There’s a bit extra impartial spirit.”

He mentioned the model was not only for individuals within the city but in addition these additional afield.

“We as a small model will give hope to anybody who’s in a small or retro city that’s not celebrated,” he mentioned.

“You don’t should go and reside in a metropolis.”

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