Makers of Melbourne

Welcome to Makers Of Melbourne – the ‘go to’ guide for our technically integrated age.

Makers Of Melbourne has been created to consume and assimilate Melbourne culture. We're male focussed, but not male specific, sorting through the dross to weed out the creative stars, standout events and stylish folk that make this city unique. 

MOM aims to embrace all facets of what makes this city a creative hub. Our aim is to inform without condescending – to keep you abreast of what’s going on without regurgitating Press Releases & to seek out this city’s sub cultures to give our readers the inside scoop on what’s REALLY happening with the people who make Melbourne Melbourne.

Filtering by Tag: Fashion & Textiles

The Event: 200 Years of Australian Fashion at NGV

On now until the 31st of July 2016 at The Ian Potter Centre, 200 years of Australian fashion showcases over 120 garments from more than ninety designers – the first major display of Australian fashion to be undertaken in this country. Since settlement, Aussie fashion has been shaped by geographic, seasonal and cultural variants, and defined by colloquial vernacular. In every era, our designers have consciously defined the character of how we dress according to local terms of reference. Even today, Australian style can be understood as the by-product of independence and impertinence. From the early dressmaking establishments of Brisbane through to the mid-century salons of Collins Street, to the contemporary studios by Bondi’s beaches, 200 Years of Australian Fashion traverses over two centuries of fashion design in Australia.

Staged across four large galleries, this impressive exhibition celebrates this country's unique voice and impact on the fashion industry internationally, showcasing the work of contemporary designers such as Dion Lee, Ellery, Romance Was Born and Toni Maticevski alongside exquisite examples of historic design.

200 Years of Australian Fashion includes outfits drawn from the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney and other key collections, as well as a number of essential private loans. The exhibition also includes multimedia footage and interviews, photographs and is a must for any fashion lover. 

The NGV presents 200 Years of Australian Fashion as part of the Cultural Program of the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2016.


Interview: Talia Daroesman, Lovers Court

“Hoop dreams echoing off hot bitumen” is how designer Talia Daroesman sums up the aesthetic of her Lovers Court debut leisurewear collection.

Talia: “It [Lovers Court] came about just over a year ago. Since I was little I’d always wanted to have a clothing brand, that’s been my goal forever. It took me a while to know what I wanted it to be, how I wanted it to be, and it was almost a year and a half ago that I finally got the idea and name together. I always just wanted to have it as something I could be creative with, have fun with, and, at the end of the day enjoy it.”

Lovers Court has taken a contemporary attitude toward establishing itself as a brand, with the creation of non-seasonal collections and a strong emphasis on unisex prints and design. As Daroesman explained to Makers of Melbourne when we sat down over drinks “I don’t want to have the pressure of having to put together a winter range and then a summer range. I want to have fun with it and more flexibility.”

Flexibility describes this new label well. Lovers Court draws its inspiration from an undeniably urban influence, though with a modern approach that encompasses inspiration from equal parts hip-hop and traditional American street wear as much as it does the dizzying hyper-density of Asian megapolises.

After graduating from RMIT in textile design in 2008 there was time spent abroad, harvesting inspiration in Hong Kong, working part-time and developing a business plan, that inadvertently “killed” her creativity. “I think that’s why it took me so long to get started but now I’m glad that I didn’t do anything earlier.”

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Talia: “There were a few instances of starting something but not really getting into it, starting something else but not feeling it, and knowing that it wasn’t the right time. Knowing that I needed more time to figure out what I wanted to do to get some inspiration back.”

For Daroseman, the decision to focus her energy on street wear was a no-brainer. It’s a culture that she connects with, and with her baby bangs and large hoop earrings, it’s immediately obvious that she lives and breathes the lifestyle. 

For now Lovers Court consists of a unisex range of cotton and silk scarves, bucket hats, 5-panel caps and printed t-shirts. Featured throughout the collection are three recurring digital and screen print designs - a monochrome colour palette struck through with flashes of pink. The prints take cues from typography saturated street wear combined with the grid and pixel aesthetic of early computer-generated graphics. As Talia explains, these versatile pieces and patterns are designed to be built up to clash and vibrate against each other or alternatively to be worn as standalone statement pieces.

Beyond the debut collection, Daroesman hopes to expand into cut & sew garments in early 2015, starting with a range of women’s down-tempo, sport luxe sweats, with plans to then expand into menswear, staying true to the brand’s unisex vision.

Talia expresses a strong desire to keep her production local, as long as the label can continue to afford the growing cost of manufacturing in Melbourne (Her printed cut & sew pieces are to be produced in Abbotsford, while the debut collection t-shirts have been screen printed in Fitzroy).

Until she can afford to work on the label full-time she continues to design her collection around her job in a busy Melbourne café, her free time devoted to building a solid online presence. There’s brief mention of a potential Pozible campaign, after watching several other designers take the crowd-funding route and finding success. “I think it’s awesome. People get something in return so it’s not like they’re giving away to charity. Melbournians like to support their local fashion scene.”

Photos – Heather Lighton

Interview: Kloke Designers, Amy and Adam Coombes

There’s a warmth to Amy and Adam Coombes that resonates through their designs. An initial phone conversation with Adam and a visit to meet Amy at the Kloke boutique culminates in a sunny Saturday morning meeting where the Makers team is welcomed into the couple’s Fitzro studio.

Launching their Kloke label in 2011, both Amy and Adam have a deep connection to the Melbourne fashion scene. Between the pair, the Coombes’ have worked with some of this city’s most lauded designers. An important pedigree when it came to establishing their own range of men’s and women’s clothing.

Kloke: “The initial intent of the brand was to produce considered products that are loved season after season. Over the years we have been able to combine our differing ideas and bring together what is now Kloke. The brand continues to evolve and being able to work together to create something that is a part of who we both are is a continuous motivation.”

We’re sitting around a wooden worktable in the centre of the Kloke studio. It’s a small space, shared with a local artist, whose stunning macramé wall hangings fight for attention next to bulging racks of Japanese fabric, sewing patterns and current season samples. With son Remi sitting happily nearby, soft music playing and dappled sunlight falling through a nearby window, the open plan room is comfortable with an air of creative energy.

Sipping takeaway coffee from a nearby deli, the Coombes' begin explaining the ethos behind their growing brand. There’s talk of fluidity, not only in shape and fit, but also a growing sense of ease in their design aesthetic. Over the past few seasons they have taken the steps to develop their range with experimentation in both pattern, fabrications and knitwear, which has been added to both winter and summer collections.  

Kloke: “Our intention is to create strong lines and classic silhouettes that have an effortless feel but considered approach. The longevity of a piece starts from the initial idea, the fabric choice and the shape of the garment, we ask ourselves how each piece will wear and make sure it fits with Kloke.

We have been really driven to create collections that work back with each season, in some ways it is like building on a wardrobe. The collections evolve but previous pieces still remain relevant and each collection does still see us standing true [to] who we are and what we believe and want the business to be.”

With business sustainability at the forefront of their minds, the design duo has been careful to build the brand at their own pace. Although they launched three years ago and have been stocked in numerous high-end stores around Melbourne, it wasn’t until late last year that the couple opened their own retail space on Fitzroy’s bustling Brunswick street. Although they casually mention plans to expand at some point in the future, at this stage the busy pair is more than comfortable managing one boutique and a successful online store.

It’s a business plan that works well around their frequent trips to Japan, where they source fabric and sell their designs. The Japanese market has been very receptive to the Kloke brand, not surprising when you consider the clean lines and effortless sophistication Amy and Adam produce season after season.

Kloke: “The conceptual influence comes from our lives and the things we do each day, from all the things around us. This does change seasonally and also depends on life, where we’ve been, what we’ve been listening to, watching looking at and the things we find. From a garment  perspective, we’re generally into designers who’ve altered the way we look at cut  or have changed our perception of design. From the method of how Cristobel Balenciaga cut a sleeve to the way Rei Kawakubo alters the design process. We hope that by looking wide the outcome is something new.”

Although there are rumblings of further international interest, the couple is quick to point out the limitations of Aussie labels selling into larger overseas markets. The difference in season may cause issue, as well as a lack of understanding as to how a smaller brand may fit into a larger fashion spectrum.

With so much to look forward to, Makers can’t help but ask for a sneak peak into the forthcoming summer collection. There’s excitement and a mention of “so much goodness” as we are taken through the new season garments.

Kloke: “We have expanded on our knitwear collection and have some great colours in the range. We have also expanded the dress offering in our women’s range using a Japanese viscose that has a beautiful drape.

The snake in the grass print has been used across men’s and women’s, in denim and cotton shirting. A firm fabric favorite and standout in the collection is the double mesh nylon used in the women’s range. We have also introduced some new trouser shapes for men.”

The future looks bright and Makers can’t help but think that this brand has been built to go the distance. Kloke is a Melbourne label that we predict will be going strong for many years to come.

Kloke: “ Sustaining the business long term is really important to us, and this comes from many aspects, not just the design of the garment. We plan on Kloke being around for a long time and to help ensure this we have been developing and growing at our own pace."

Interview: Roger Leong

“Every generation wants to define itself against the previous generation. Men of my age have been wearing jeans for decades and the younger generation wanted to find themselves against that. So they won’t wear jeans – they will dress up. And that’s really where we are seeing the popularity of the Neo-Dandy movement.”

-       Roger Leong


A conversation with Roger Leong, NGV Curator Fashion and Textiles, offers a serious fashion education. Forget paying thousands for trend forecasting: the man who has spent his professional life studying fashion in an historical context knows that, when it comes to trends, it all stems from where it’s been before.

Roger: “It’s a really difficult thing to say why certain fashion’s become popular, but it is certain that fashions return – and that the cycle of men’s fashion is much longer than women’s fashion. But of all the fashion that has come and gone, my favourite era is definitely the first half of the 19th Century.”

Roger describes it as “the Pride and Prejudice period”, when men moved from wearing opulent embroidered silks draped in less sophisticated cuts (“often in fabrics more elaborate than that which was worn by the women”) to embracing the idea that clothing should enhance the male form through pattern cutting and manipulation of cloth.


Roger: “Tailoring for men walked hand-in-hand with a growing interest in athleticism – an interest in disciplining the body and creating a well-built, muscular frame, an idea that hadn’t existed before.”

He points to George Bryan “Beau” Brummell as the movement’s key personality, a man who modelled himself on Greek statues, who focussed on the fit of his clothes from the exact proportion of a pocket to the width of a lapel.

For Roger, this is where the current landscape of men’s fashion finds its most direct connection.

Roger: “That early era of tailoring really was about the refinement of the craft and I don’t think really fundamentally that things have changed much since then.”

Roger Leong, Curator – NGV International Fashion and Textiles.