The Story of SanPortablo
San Portablo 1901 label opened in April 2016 in adverse circumstances during the steel crisis with two designs, the classic San Portablo and the Euro 16 Welsh Legends. The beginnings of the label were documented in the Vice YouTube ‘Rude Britannia’ series in an episode called ‘Built on Steel’….
Fresh designs came forth celebrating local culture, which had been largely ignored by both regional Welsh and British media for decades. The Flock Landed design sold out…. This was followed by further nods to San Portablo speak, with slogans like ‘Tidy’, ‘Lush’ and ‘Shunk’.
When the slogans were introduced in 2016, there were high hopes for Tidy and Lush, as they were both positive sayings. Tidy means ‘good, strong, positive, popular’, as in ‘What’s it like in the Bell?’, to which ‘Tidy’ is often the reply. Lush means ‘handsome, beautiful, desirable, sexy, horny, tasty.’ Shunk, however, was restricted to those who worked, lived and played in San Portablo. ‘Do your laces up, you shunk.’ ‘Tuck your shirt in, shunk!’ Or when you go out on a Sunday morning in the same clothes you were wearing the night before, you are a ‘shunk’.
After initial slow sales, the Shunk design found its audience at the Kaya Festival in Margam Park in 2016, where 1901 had secured a stall, thanks to Holmesy and Gav Thomas. The gig-going crowd took to the irony of Shunk and ever since the Shunk design has been seen in gigs throughout South Wales and beyond. Since 2016 sell-out print runs have been made in 2016, 17, 18, 19 and 20. The amount of Shunk garments sold has reached four figures. Photos from around the world have been sent into our social media from every continent. Shunk life, baby!
With the run of success of Shunk and the relative successes of Tidy and Lush, the artist Nick Hinde directed designs around a long-established independent sports shop, Selwyn Jenkins. He made another for the old Aberafan fairground - ‘Miami Beach’. Then came ‘the Plaza Cinema’ design. Another version of San Portablo focused on the Whale and Penguin from Aberafan beach. Penguins also featured on the back of another Selwyn Jenkins T-shirt.
There was a Maes Vegas design, which combined Maesteg Town Hall with the Las Vegas sign. We welcomed the fabulous, festive Christmas Shunk, a British Lions 2017 tour of New Zealand and a leopard skin Shunk design in 2018, which became another banger. The majestic Terrence Allan was extremely popular, out-selling both Shunk and San Portablo for a season. Then came a collaboration with the Weekend Offender label and the City Series. We are still the only city town featured in the City Series that has the confidence to go with a nickname, San Portablo. Weekend Offender caught our eye when they became the first label to jump from South Wales to London when the Merthyr boys opened a shop in D’Arblay Street, Soho. This was also the location where Duffer of St George opened their first shop. Nigel had started dealing with the Duffer boys in the early 90s, with the former shop Dizzy Angel…. Furthermore, when Cassius went to Middlesex University in 2015, he got a Saturday job in the Weekend Offender store.
Designs were made and CD Covers for Bands like White Riot and The Sandboys we look forward to working with more bands in the future.
At the end of 2018, Nick Hinde left the label to travel. Banksy came to Taibach to paint the sensational optical illusion ‘Seasonal Greetings’. This piece was located on a garage wall close to Richard Burton and Anthony Hopkins were brought up.
At the begginning of 2019 -1901 worked with Simon Gough for a fresh take on Seasonal Greetings and a 1901 was formed with hashtags as a reference to banksy confirming the piece on Instagram - the iconic Blast Furnaces and Docks Cranes were also blended into the design.
The Banksy Garment coninues to sell in 2020 its is 14 colour print and we know that it is as strong as any other Banksy themed merch out there.
Shunk contiuned to perform and a flock print was introduced and Landed was re run with both a Flock Print and a Screen Print.
Another San Portablo edition was released with the Banksy Child on the Beach. This version is still available and is on its 3rd Run.
Another design for the Rugby World Cup was released this time working with Marc Tanner whom designed the Original San Portablo - it was influenced by the Japanese Flag and A Japanese Proverb 'Different Bodies - Same Mind' was woven into the flag in three languages Welsh, English and Japanese.
The Webb Ellis trophy was made up of Classic Welsh Rugby players whom had played in the World Cup. Wales came close to reaching the final but got edged out by the eventual winners South Africa in the Semi Final.