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: Melbourne

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.”

LoversCourtLaunchParty_Heather Lighton043.jpg

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

The Event: The Eternal Headonist Launch Party


Last Tuesday night Makers of Melbourne were invited along to the launch party for The Eternal Headonist at The Anna Pappas Gallery in Prahran.

When British born, Melbourne-based Annabel Allen, herself a trained milliner, noted the interest in specialist headwear on the internet, she decided to launch her own online millinery store, The Eternal Headonist.

Custom parfaits created by  Helados Jauja  Argentinian ice-cream  in Carlton

Custom parfaits created by Helados Jauja Argentinian ice-cream in Carlton

The online store stocks a slew of handpicked milliners whose use of materials and technique are helping to bring a new perspective to the industry.  On display at the launch were pieces by Natalie Bikicki, whose progressive work with leather and PVC has placed her on the ‘ones to watch’ list, through to more established milliners including Melbourne’s own Richard Nylon and  a range of vintage items from esteemed designers and milliners such as Philip Treacy, Stephen Jones and Yves Saint Laurent.

Annabel: “We can shop a well curated selection of fashion, lingerie, footwear and cosmetics online, but curated ranges of quality and fashion-forward millinery are not at all represented in this space, so we wanted to change that.”

Milliner Richard Nylon launches The Eternal Headonist at The Anna Pappas Gallery in Prahran

Milliner Richard Nylon launches The Eternal Headonist at The Anna Pappas Gallery in Prahran

Whilst at this stage only an online destination, The Headonist can’t resist an excuse to hold a party and pop-up events leading into the Spring Racing Carnival are imminent.

The first pop-up location is: 37/220 Commercial Rd, Prahran. Opening next Saturday 27th Sept - Fri 7th Nov.

Interview: Richard McLean

Richard McLean is a total surprise package. An artist cloaked in the outer shell of a man of otherwise ordinary appearance. Yet the very word – ordinary – is at stark odds with the voice expressed in Richard’s visual and written work.

He meets Makers in South Melbourne following a few false starts. The meeting is a little rushed and Richard’s discomfort with that is clear. The artist appears as one who wears his emotional skin on the outside: an uncomfortable day-to-day proposition, perhaps, but one that surely informs so much of his arresting illustrations – works that vacillate between description of a poignant moment and pictures of moving torment finely wrought with nuanced tension.

Richard: “If you pick your life before you come here, then I picked a hard challenge. As the artist you’re on the outside of society, and it’s the same for people with mental illness.”

This last point is one with particular relevance to Richard, one who speaks openly around his own journey in coming to terms with – in his own words, “recovering” from – the onset of schizophrenia.

Yet as difficult as the journey has been (deftly illustrated in his decade-old book, Recovered, Not Cured: A Journey Through Schizophrenia) the artist appears to value the focus it has lent him, the drive to conscientiously adhere to a continual practice of self-assessment and self discovery.

Jesus of Suburbia

Jesus of Suburbia

Steinberg Still Life

Steinberg Still Life

It’s a drive he clearly identifies as being the impetus behind one his latest works, www.theuniversalembrace.com.

Richard: “The creative spirit is, for me, centred around talking about you and your place in the world and making peace with your past. It’s recreating your self in a way that’s looking over your whole life in a present moment. And the ultimate reason to do all this is love - love of the self, love of another and love of the greater universe and the way you fit in to it.”

Williamstown

Williamstown

And the fit of Richard? Like all of us, he is continually fighting for that knowledge – expressing his angst in those stirring illustrations while revelling in the playfulness of childhood with Grogan the Monster, a bright and nonsensical children’s book that will be launched during mental health week this this October as a fundraiser for The Royal Children’s Hospital.

Richard: “Not all of the art is dire, and not all of it is tormented. Some of it is very joyous. But creativity is something I will always do. It’s something I can’t stop doing: sometimes you feel jaded, you have success, you feel satisfied for a while – there is this cycle of up and down. Just like life."

www.creativemusings.com.au

 

Self Portrait Red t-shirt

Self Portrait Red t-shirt

Lemon Tree

Lemon Tree

Interview: Oscar Lake

While the concept of what is considered good or bad sartorial taste comes down to personal choice and personality, it’s hard to deny the appeal of a man in a well-cut suit. It’s even harder to deny the appeal of a personally tailored suit, especially when it’s being offered as an affordable clothing option by Oscar Lake, a man who, at the ripe old age of 30, is proud to call himself Australia’s youngest tailor.

Oscar Lake photographed by Sam Wong

Oscar Lake photographed by Sam Wong

“I’m not aware of anyone else my age that is in this line of work,” Oscar begins as he sits down with Makers over a glass of whiskey at the Oscar Hunt showrooms, where the youthful blonde has held the position of head tailor for the past 12 months.

It’s easy for Makers to see the parallel between the tailor and his employers. The retail operation has its own humble beginnings; the once itinerant fashion brand was born out of temporary showrooms in both the Cullen and Olsen hotels before finding itself a more permanent home in the Melbourne CBD. Oscar studied fashion design at Box Hill and was working in womenswear before making the decision to plunge into a more traditional trade.

“I thought that bespoke tailoring would be the most difficult thing I could do,” he says with a chuckle, “so I decided to learn how to do it.”

The young tailor spent the first five years after graduation working in Armadale before joining the ranks at Oscar Hunt. The way he tells it, the decision to move into made-to-measure seemed like a no-brainer.

The new Oscar Hunt showroom in Melbourne's Hardware Lane

The new Oscar Hunt showroom in Melbourne's Hardware Lane

Oscar: “I felt like the move to made-to-measure would be a smart one as the bespoke community here in Australia is decreasing in size. [Mine] was a decision to try and work with a business that is at the head of the new frontier of suiting, where service is still the most important aspect. We can produce something that is as close to bespoke and handmade but with less cost and more efficiency, but retaining the same amount of style and quality.”

It’s an important distinction to make. Few and far between are men with the money – or even the desire – to opt for truly bespoke suiting. As American author, Meg Lukens-Noonan came to explore in her awarded book, The Coat Route, this most traditional of all tailoring styles is a dying art.

Made-to-measure offers the next best thing. While bespoke involves hand making a pattern for each individual, made-to-measure finds its niche in creating individualised alterations from a pre-made pattern. It takes a keen eye to distinguish between the two.

Tailors like Oscar, while not preserving the skill of bespoke, are at least helping to keep the dream alive. By drawing new clientele into the realm of tailoring with an option that finds itself occupying the high ground somewhere between off-the-rack and a true bespoke service.

Oscar Lake photographed by Sam Wong

Oscar Lake photographed by Sam Wong

Oscar: “We’re able to tailor for men with unusual body types and help them find clothing that they wouldn’t generally be able to find somewhere else. We’re selling a luxury product, meaning that our clients expectations are very high and they expect a good quality finished product.”

Oscar Hunt’s new CBD quarters tell the tale of a successfully growing business and, for Oscar at least, the reason behind the rising appeal of a service that embraces both tradition and the day-to-day financial realities of the working classes is clear.

Oscar: “If you’re looking at a man across the room in pretty much any suit, regardless of how expensive the fabric is or how much they’ve paid for it, it all comes down to the fit. And if it fits well, a man will feel more confident.”

The new Oscar Hunt showroom in Melbourne's Hardware Lane

The new Oscar Hunt showroom in Melbourne's Hardware Lane

Interview: Rob Adams, Urban Designer

“The city is its own fragile eco system and, like all eco systems, is damaged – or dies – usually because of a lack of understanding about what nurtures it.”

                                                                                         - Rob Adams

Rob Adams

Rob Adams

When Rob Adams relates the city of Melbourne to “a fragile eco-system”, be clear in the understanding that this is a well-thought sentence owing nothing to hyperbole. As our city’s chief urban designer for the past 30 years (and counting), Rob is well acquainted with the intricate interplays of space, design, utilities and movement that turn a collection of concrete and asphalt in to an environment capable of sustaining creative life.

It’s not too much to say that he, along with his team, has nurtured Melbourne back to life with such success that – for most of the city’s current inhabitants – it appears there has never not been a time when ours was the epicentre of food, fashion and festivals.

Rob: "Most people think laneways have always had coffee shops in them, but if you’re looking at side walk cafes there were probably only two in the central city in 1985 compared to about 450 in 2014.  It’s the cumulative effect over 30 years of just slowly improving what are signatures of Melbourne. A lot of the works that we do are tiny interventions – we’ve taken out 30 hectares of asphalt in the city by building bigger side walks, turned roundabouts in to green space and widened median strips to make playgrounds – people don’t notice, but we do them hundreds of times a year and then, in time, you get the result.”

Outdoor cafes in the CDB - growth in numbers between 1983-2004

Outdoor cafes in the CDB - growth in numbers between 1983-2004

But like any paternal figure, Rob knows the truth of his charge’s history: the growing pains resulting in challenges that – almost paradoxically – have led Melbourne to becoming the lauded landscape it is today.

It started in the ‘80s, when a groundswell of opposition rose against the destruction of ‘Marvellous Melbourne.’  Combine this with an exodus of retail from the CBD as everyone moved to suburban shopping centres, and a council that was too broke to enact grand schemes – underground trams, and big structures built atop the historic Queen Vic Market – and the stage was set for a man of particular vision to restore the landscape much as a trained art conservateur might restore a Da Vinci: with a sure and subtle touch. 

Rob: “It starts with a political movement more than anything, so I was fortunate enough to arrive here at a time when the politicians had come in to change Melbourne. Their vision was very simple – they wanted the centre of Melbourne to become a 24-hour city, but they wanted it to look and feel like Melbourne. Nobody wanted Dallas.”

Without the cash to splash, moderations had to make the most of the landscape that was already there. Sure, the reinvigoration of the famed laneways were a large part of it, but so, too, was the reconnection of the city to the Yarra, the expansion of green space and – key to it all – the bringing back of human life in to the frame of the city’s daily function. 

Birrarung Marr - the first new park near Melbourne's CBD in over a century.

Birrarung Marr - the first new park near Melbourne's CBD in over a century.

It’s a sure fire equation for success when enacted sympathetically: much of the difference between central London and central Paris – Haussmanian planning aside – is the presence of living residents in every street of the French capital city. That kind of pedestrian interaction that brings normality and continual movement.

Rob: “On the back of the collapse of the economy in the late ‘80s we came up with a project to turn commercial buildings in to residential – it succeeded in taking a whole lot of existing buildings and putting them in to multiple ownership. Ironically, the one thing that will now save the city from over development are these same small scale buildings – the Hero and the Majorca buildings – that will be difficult to develop because of the fact of having to get all these different owners to agree to sale at the same moment.”

The last is a comment forthcoming, not as a result of paranoia, but in response to recent planning decisions that Rob (and others in the know) fear are already on the way to upsetting Melbourne’s fragile balance.

Because despite their concrete spines, cities are fluid. As such, both changes and challenges are continual. Rob talks of the damage that is being wreaked by the current allowance permitting developers to build to up to 56 times the site area, something he says no other city in the world permits.

(Translated, this means a structure with full site coverage can rise up to 56 storeys, or with half site coverage, On a double site, a tower could reach 112 floors high.)

In some ways it could be said that the very success of Rob’s work has turned against him: so accustomed have we all become to the beauty and usability of our city, that it appears we may have forgotten how delicate a balance it is to maintain. That a city we feel has always been thus took no less than 30 years of thoughtful planning to construct.

Rob: “The city is its own fragile eco system, and like all eco systems it will die usually because of a lack of understanding about what nurtures it: too much fish out of the ocean, too many trees taken down. Right now I have never seen the take out of the city as huge as it is without having anything being put back.”

It is difficult not to feel panicked by Rob’s point of view. Certainly he himself feels deeply the change of focus, knowing Melbourne as well as he does.

And perhaps this, in the end, is what makes an audience with Rob so revelatory. While as residents we love to talk up the city’s creative heart, its Euro vibe and thinking-person’s tag, Rob is capable of pinpointing the programs and decisions that contribute to what goes in to creating what is essentially an ephemeral feeling.

The arts and events strategies that serves to broaden our cultural horizons while contributing financially to the city’s needs (“the return for the dollar is $1 given to $11 back for the arts; for road projects you are lucky to get $1 back”), the secret, “funny” spaces, carefully planned for, that make Melbourne a city for exploration in the model of its European cousins.

The State Library on Swanston Street during the White Night Festival

The State Library on Swanston Street during the White Night Festival

Rob: “Look at the difference between our newer areas Southbank and Docklands and the CBD: people like to walk through Melbourne, go inside and find a bar, and then someone directs them down a dog leg lane with rubbish bins in it to the next stopping point. They feel they are discovering a place for the first time. Kill all the opportunities for secrets and turn them in to a single product, and you kill the dream.”

For Rob, the death of that dream – his dream – would be a tragedy.

Rob: “I think Melbourne’s a cerebral city. This is a city where people get pleasure out of coming together, having conversations, talking about creative ideas and developing those creative ideas. And the future is in asking the question – how do we hang on to these things?” 

Street Style: VAMFF 2014

While VAMFF (the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival) runway series may have had a heavy focus on the ladies, there were still a number of male attendees at the Docklands Central Pier shows. Forget the dime a dozen navy suits - here are a few boys who, through sheer originality, stood out from the typical fashion pack. 

Will wearing Vintage jacket, ACNE tee, Uniglo trousers & French Connection hat

Will wearing Vintage jacket, ACNE tee, Uniglo trousers & French Connection hat

Model/DJ Xander Pratt wearing all Eduardo Xavier. Steampunk accessories

Model/DJ Xander Pratt wearing all Eduardo Xavier. Steampunk accessories

RMIT fashion designer teacher Dr Peter Allan in Japanese demin label 'Big John overalls & Levis jacket.

RMIT fashion designer teacher Dr Peter Allan in Japanese demin label 'Big John overalls & Levis jacket.

Photographer Sam Wong in his mother's jacket & $2 tee

Photographer Sam Wong in his mother's jacket & $2 tee

Taylor in Topshop top, Thai sarong, New Balance sneakers, Alexander McQueen clutch.

Taylor in Topshop top, Thai sarong, New Balance sneakers, Alexander McQueen clutch.

The Event: Future Music Festival 2014

­Not even temperatures ­­of over 30 degrees could keep the dance music fans away from Melbourne’s leg of the Future Music Festival, held on Sunday the 8th of March. Setting up temporary camp at Flemington racecourse, Future punters were treated to scorching afternoon sets by Pharrell Williams, last year’s Triple J Hottest 100 winners Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Tinie Tempah and Melbourne’s own Cut Copy.

As the sun started to set, London based outfit Rudimental got the hot and bothered crowd moving and inspired a mass sing-along to their hit ‘Feel the Love’. They were followed up by headliners Phoenix, who had everyone dancing as they played their way through a setlist of songs including hits from 2009’s ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ and last year's  ‘Bankrupt’.

Pharrell

Pharrell

ku140309Future1387.jpg
Cut Copy

Cut Copy

ku140309Future2243.jpg
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

ku140309Future2231.jpg
Rudimental

Rudimental

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Tinie Tempah

Tinie Tempah

ku140309Future2249.jpg
Phoenix

Phoenix

ku140309Future2247.jpg
ku140309PhoenixFans2397.jpg

Interview: Brendan Mitchell and James Barrett - Up There Store

“Every man needs a good pair of jeans, a good pair of chinos, classic oxford shirts and white tee shirts. From that point, you can pretty much get dressed with your eyes closed.”

-       Brendan Mitchell and James Barrett

It’s been three years since Brendan Mitchell and James Barrett decided that Melbourne’s men’s fashion scene was possessed of an Up There shaped hole in the retail landscape. Alumni of the sneaker scene (with a brief pit-stop spent working Paul Smith), the duo established their nirvana in an airy, second level laneway hideyhole, determined to bring quality men’s fashion to seekers of style.

Brendan: “We travelled a lot and saw stores around the world we loved but not everything in one location. We felt the only way we could get there would be to do it ourselves.”

Consequently the guys are focussed on brands scented with a whiff of exclusivity, alongside a strong serve of quality: think limited edition, US-made New Balance and first imprint Converse sitting next to UK brand Tender and Co (“one guy, all handmade and hand dyed; he pretty much just makes clothes he wants to wear”) and Copenhagen’s Norse Projects.

The product mix speaks to their desire to see Melbourne men embrace style and practicality.

Brendan: “Melbourne men have nailed black. But colour is good if you know how to wear it – just makes sure its tasteful. Wear appropriate outfits: sneakers and suits do not go.”

James: “And dress appropriate to the weather. If it’s cold outside wear a jacket – not a tee shirt and thongs. We see ourselves as educators: sell them the basics and they get comfortable with fashion, then can come back to look for shirts with more pattern and detail.”

Hook ‘em in with the Japanese made, Up There designed white shirt, elevate ‘em up the style totem pole with a Yuki Matsuda-designed three-piece camouflage suit. All in a day’s work for the boys at Up There.

Story: Sarina Lewis

Up There Store

Level 1 11/15 McKillop Street, Melbourne

p: 03 9670 6225

e: info@uptherestore.com