Gilles for good: The market that’s making a difference

Gilles at the Grounds is not only making a considerable contribution to the environment, but to the community as well (Image Source: Viki Ntafillis)

By Viki Ntafillis | @viki_ntaf

Over the years, Gilles at the Grounds has offered the weird and wonderful, attracting collectors, foodies and fashion-lovers alike.

Since its inception, the market has become part of the fabric of Adelaide life, and has given back to the community in more ways than one.

“I launched the Gilles Street Markets in 2008 at Gilles Street Primary School with a total number of 35 stalls,” Market Director Jennifer Centenera said.

“Now we have 120 stallholders.”

Ms Centenera said she created the market with two aims in mind.

“The first was to encourage and support local creatives and designers that didn’t have a lot of opportunity as far as financial support or with overheads,” she said.

“Gilles gives them an opportunity to test their brands and really start developing them in a market-style, relaxed atmosphere where they can gain feedback from customers, which they can work into their designs.”

Karen Stephens from “Kaz Vintage” (Image Source: Viki Ntafillis).

Ms Centenera said the second aim is “to encourage the recycling of fashion with the slow fashion movement”.

“It’s really important that we recycle our garments and give them a second or third home. We have to re-love, re-purpose and upcycle,” she said.

“Gilles has always been about getting out there with a bunch of friends, clearing out your wardrobes, and selling your goods to someone else.”

The market is also very charity focused, often welcoming visits from Dulcie’s Bus, a mobile op-shop run by radio personality Amanda Blair, whose proceeds go to the Hutt Street Centre and Centacare.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a marine conservation organisation, has also set up stalls at Gilles.

Beck Shefe and Tom Tuffee from “Macarons at Midnight” (Image Source: Viki Ntafillis).

“We even do Red Cross donation drives where, at the end of the market day, the stallholders can donate all the clothes they hadn’t sold,” Ms Centenera said.

“Customers can donate their clothes as well.”

Ms Centenera said Gilles could be regarded as “the people’s marketplace” and is inspired by similar markets held interstate.

“I used to live in Melbourne and Sydney, where I’d sell my clothes at the Camberwell Markets and Kirribilli Markets,” she said.

“When I came back to Adelaide, there was nothing happening here with that kind of vibe.”

Megan and Aaron Charlton from “Dot Chocolate” (Image Source: Viki Ntafillis).

In April 2018, the market moved to the Wayville Showgrounds and changed its name to “Gilles at the Grounds”.

“We relocated for the larger indoor space, still retaining the same Gilles feel but with some protection from the elements,” Ms Centenera said.

“We tried to create the same vibe we had at the primary school and … we’ve been really happy with the transition.

“The stallholders are really supportive and happy with the move. Of course, in summer and winter they love that we’ve got the overhead cover…it makes market life easier for everyone.”

Ms Centenera said the Old Brick Dairy itself, where the market is now hosted, has proven to be a highlight of the event.

“This pavilion doesn’t get used very often so it’s nice to give life to a space that has so much history and beauty…[and] put some fashion, food, music and good vibes back into it.

“It’s much easier for parking options.

“We’re also dog-friendly; as long as you have your dog on a lead, they can come inside, we have food bowls and water bowls everywhere.”

Phoebe Hunter from “Hunter Made”: a store where she sells her botanically dyed textiles (Image Source: Viki Ntafillis).

Stalls include Hunter Made, Luna & Luxe, Moi An Viet Street Food Co, Vintage Fox and many more.

The market is open on October 20, November 17, December 1 and 15; the last two dates are part of Gilles’ annual Christmas Bazaar event.

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