Current Issue #488

Gilles Street spirit

Gilles Street spirit

After kickstarting Adelaide’s vintage and fashion market obsession with the Gilles Street Market, Jennifer Centenera is preparing for the market’s biggest day to date.

Since launching the Gilles Street Market almost five years ago (after noticing Adelaide didn’t have a vintage, pre-loved and emerging designer market similar to ones in Melbourne and Sydney), Centenera’s Gilles Street Primary School-based market has become an Adelaide institution. Attracting more than 3000 people to every event (twice a month over spring and summer) the market features 100 stalls covering everything from pre-loved fashion to emerging local designers and outlets for brands such as American Apparel. Away from the fashion there is also the food, the beats (courtesy of DJs) and the social meet-up spots. But on the first Sunday of December the Gilles Street Market will morph into the larger Gilles Street Grand Bazaar.

“What we’re going to do is close down part of Gilles Street at the front of the school and extend the market onto the street,” Centenera explains, “and turn it into a street market and increase the stall numbers by about 30 to 40 stalls.”

This will be a trial run to see if Grand Bazaar can appear at special dates throughout the year, as Centenera doesn’t want to increase the market’s frequency. While the market is home to many DJs spinning grooves while marketeers shop, socialise and eat, Centenera, pending Adelaide City Council approval, hopes to have street entertainment be a feature of Grand Bazaar.

“I’d like to have entertainment on the street and turn it into a big pre-Christmas market.”

The success of Gilles has taken Centenera by surprise.

“I realised there was a gap in the market for something like this, so I hoped it was going to be a successful operation and it turned out to be. It just keeps growing and getting better with different store holders every year. We have our regular stalls but that is only a small percentage and we have a lot of fresh, new and emerging Adelaide designers as well.

“Since I started Gilles Street there’s been this enormous growth of markets in Adelaide. It’s great to see that culture develop and I’m really glad that I’ve been a part of helping that along.”

The emerging designer element was a key reason Centenera launched Gilles Street.

“I remember living interstate and I used to do the Kirribilli and Camberwell Markets all the time and there were all these young emerging Sydney designers that started at those markets. I hoped that Gilles Street would provide that place for young emerging designers, and it has, and I’ve seen them come in and move on to bigger and better things, which is great.”

This success has meant Centenera has to be strict with who she allows to hold a stall.

“I hate turning people down. We want Gilles Street to be welcome but we also want to make sure that we keep the product as premium as possible. And obviously having that component where Gilles Street features young emerging designers, vintage clothing and quality pre-loved clothing, it’s hard to manage that pre-loved aspect, so it has to be premium labels.”

Aside from Gilles Street, Centenera cooperates with councils on other markets such as Campbelltown’s Moonlight Market and various Norwood markets including one at the recent Adelaide Fashion Festival. The Friday night Moonlight Market, which is aimed at the after work and family crowd, attracts 10,000 people per event at its Thorndon Park locale. And Centenera, who will have a baby in February, is hoping to open another market in Bowden, next year.

“I’m working with Renew Adelaide and the whole Bowden precinct, as they have approached me to put a market down here. I’m looking at setting up a more of a creative, industrial design market. There are all these art, graphic design and JamFactory students and when they go through their education they’ve got nowhere to sell their products. Or artists, after they’ve finished school, need a place before they have their own exhibitions – there’s nothing for them in-between. My idea is to have a platform for all the creative people to come together to show their designs and wares through their study and after their study while developing into professional artists.”

The Gilles Street Market is on the first and third Sunday of every month at Gilles Street Primary School from 10am to 4pm. The Gilles Street Grand Bazaar is on Sunday, December 2.


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