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: interview

Interview: Brian Nankervis

Brian Nankervis loves a yarn.

Even though I’d been previously advised of this fact, it comes as actual relief when we settle easily into our allotted phone interview.

It's Nankervis’s genuine openness and natural gift of the gab that has made him a stalwart on Australian TV, with appearances on Hey Hey it's Saturday, Jimeoin, and cult 90s sitcom Let The Blood Run Free, as well as warm up jobs for The Panel and Big Girls Blouse, not to mention his long running gig as MC on the SBS music quiz show RocKwiz.

Monday afternoon and the St Kilda resident has just finished up a relaxing coffee in a neighbouring café, taking brief respite from a busy day. He spent the morning performing at a local primary school before moving on to host an intimate lunch, raising awareness for people living with disabilities.

It's a rich and varied schedule and one that no doubt keeps this former teacher on his toes, however (and as much as we could chat for hours) it’s none of these things that have lead us to arrange today’s conversation, neither is it his annual hosting role for the Sacred Heart Mission's Heart of St Kilda variety show, nor his spell as a Triple R DJ in the 1970s and 80s.

We’ve been brought together to discuss a very special collaboration between the members of the RocKwiz orchestra and Melbourne institution Ding Dong Lounge; who are proudly presenting a night of soul food, music and entertainment inspired by the spellbinding history of New Orleans.

What initially started life as a side project between owner of Ding Dong, Bill Walsh, and Nankervis, rapidly progressed into a series of sold out dinner shows occurring in late 2014 – the two have once again joined forces to develop a brand new night of entertainment, set to make its debut this coming Sunday the 1st of March.

Nankervis: “Bill approached the [RocKwiz] office and suggested that we get RocKwiz involved with the club and put on a show based on New Orleans, as their kitchen has a New Orleans theme. I knew that the band were all mad fans of New Orleans music so I approached the orchestra and we hatched this plan to perform the Dr John album Gris-Gris from start to finish, followed up with a second set of live dance songs.”

For the Melbourne born showman, live performances like the Ding Dong theme nights offer great opportunity for audience interaction, “to get the band going and see the audience dancing.” He happily shares that last year’s shows were “fantastic, one of the real high points of my career” allowing Nankervis time to schmooze, mingle and host, “I’ve always fancied myself as a maitre d' so that was good fun.”

While Nankervis may proudly wear his self-appointed title of Maitre d’, it’s not the only new mantle that he’ll be awarded with this afternoon. As we begin to wind up our interview I casually enquire about his evening plans. “I’m off to supervise my son’s cricket practice.” He shares, and it seems to me that we can go ahead and add the word coach to that impressive resume of his.


Brian Nankervis and members of the RocKwiz Orchestra New Orleans dinner and show is on both Sunday the 1st and 15th of March from 6:30pm. Tickets available here

The Event: Bohemian Melbourne at The State Library of Victoria

Now open at the State library of Victoria, Bohemian Melbourne is a stunning exhibition devoted to celebrating the lives of a select group of individuals whose artistic legacies have helped mould the character of this city.

Curated by Clare Williamson, Bohemian Melbourne shines light on a rag-tag bunch of artistic rebels including Marcus Clarke, Mirka Mora, Vali Myers and Nick Cave; mindfully exploring history’s backstreets and smoky salons, while sharing the stories behind the daring poets, artists, visionaries and rock stars who changed Melbourne’s cultural landscape forever.

Inspired by Tony Moore’s Dancing With Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians, the planning of this exhibition started around 2 years ago when Williamson began securing loans from private collections and accessing the State Library’s rich list of resources. The accomplished curator happily confides to Makers of Melbourne that her greatest struggle involved short-listing the chosen few who would end up being featured in the final display.

Clare: “It was tough and as a curator it’s always painful when you have to pick and choose. I could have made the exhibition twice the size that it was, it could have been huge but we always try and angle our collections so that its 80% library collection and about 20% major loans. We always look at how a story can be told visually and sometimes it might be that we have a fantastic person with no material culture to tell their story in a visual way.”

The library’s exhibition, which closes on the 22nd of February, includes a range of   “must show” characters (Barry Humphries, Mirka Mora and Vali Myers) as well as lesser-known creatives like the flamboyant Val Eastwood, proprietor of Val’s coffee lounge. Arguably the birthplace of Melbourne’s ‘camp’ culture (as it was known) in the 1950s, Val’s Coffee Lounge was a meeting place for artists, performers and musicians seeking momentary freedom from society’s conventions.

Val Eastwood at Val's Coffee Lounge, Unknown photographer c. 1950s - Courtesy of the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

Val Eastwood at Val's Coffee Lounge, Unknown photographer c. 1950s - Courtesy of the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives

Eastwood, a well-known figure in the bohemian demimonde of 1950s Melbourne (often seen wearing men’s tailored suits and carrying a silver topped cane) established her café in what is now a Hare Krishna restaurant on Swanston Street. Creating a sanctuary for cultural misfits, Val’s played an integral part in the development of Melbourne’s café culture - To this day hundreds of cafes, bars and coffee shops generate opportunities for people to meet up and share ideas.

Bohemian Melbourne has been created as a place for visitors to engage.  The exhibition includes interactive displays and video monitors’ playing exerts from feature films, documentaries and rare footage, designed to bring the subject matter to life. “There’s great footage of Vali [Myers] in her hotel room at the Chelsea,” Williamson shares, “And [footage of] people coming and going including Debbie Harry.”

Clare: “Vali Myers was a much-loved figure, a lot of people met her in her open studio in the Nicholson building where people were welcome to come and buy a print or have a dance. People talk about how she was such a down to earth friendly character even though she had travelled the world and had met amazing people, she lived in Paris and Italy and met Warhol and Dali and tattooed Patti Smith’s knee.”

Vali Myers in her studio in the Nicholas Building, 1997, photographed by Liz Ham - Courtesy of the State Library Victoria

Vali Myers in her studio in the Nicholas Building, 1997, photographed by Liz Ham - Courtesy of the State Library Victoria

Sydney born Myers (who passed away in 2003 at the age of 72) was drawn to her adopted hometown of Melbourne’s strong artistic scene – It’s a creative culture that has been encouraged and supported since the gold rush, when thousands of foreigners flooded into the state of Victoria seeking gold, fame and fortune.

 What followed was an influx of performers, poets and free spirits drawn to the hedonistic lifestyle surrounding the financial boom. An element of Australian history rarely explored in secondary school reference books.

Clare: “We tend to make a point of things like the 1920s Paris or the Beat Poets or Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960s, but we tend to not be as familiar or know that we had people here, like Marcus Clarke back in the 1860s who was living the life of a young dandy and starting up bohemian clubs where he and his mates would get together and smoke clay pipes, drink beer from pewter mugs, and recite poetry.”

Marcus Clarke, Unknown photographer, 1866 - Courtesy of the State Library Victoria

Marcus Clarke, Unknown photographer, 1866 - Courtesy of the State Library Victoria

Bohemian Melbourne offers fascinating insight into the history of our great city and into the lives of a group of artists not afraid to march to the beat of their own drum.

Clare: “Melbourne is a city that loves to celebrate the people who have the courage to express themselves through their art, whether that was through visual art, literature, fashion design, music and performance. The more that we looked the more we discovered just how rich Melbourne’s history was and how we love to celebrate the individual. Melbourne is a city very proud to embrace and celebrate individual expressions of culture.”

 Bohemian Melbourne runs at The State Library of Victoria until February 22nd. Entry is free.






Interview: Wona Bae

If Melbourne has become fertile ground for the creative set, then it makes sense that Wona Bae has found almost instant growth for the seed of an idea that took root – almost unbeknownst to her – during a childhood in Korea that saw flowers become an intrinsic part of the person she was to become.

Wona: “My father had decided on three names for his children before he got married, and he went on to have three kids: my sister is the third and she is ‘best fruit’, my brother is the second and he means ‘best growth’ and I’m the first kid and Wona means ‘the best seedling’.”

Indeed it takes a special sort of person to mastermind the transformation of space that the highly qualified florist has achieved alongside her husband, permaculture expert and business partner, Charlie Lawler: in a back street behind a distinctly un-glamorous section of Johnstone Street, Wona’s nursery-cum-studio, Loose Leaf, sprouts as a breath of green among a sea of garage workshops.

The girl that grew up hating flowers after spending her youthful spare time “making chrysanthemums” eventually found her own kind of heaven right there in Collingwood, this version a white-walled, warehouse space alive with ferns, cacti, twisting hoya vines and arcing indoor palms.

Like any great love affair, it was one that developed over time: having grown up around flowers with her florist farm-owning father in Korea, Wona is very much a woman shaped by her lifelong exposure to all things flora.

But there is more to the elfin florist than a green thumb, and more to the store than its position as ground zero for healthy plant life. With the one-time fashion student qualified in Japanese Ikebana, its Korean equivalent, Kokozi, as well as picking up a Masters in German floristry, Wona has an artist’s spirit and the talent to match: her unique insights into culture and country are as compelling as her graceful sculptures – fluid twists of wood and sticks that work to form nest-like geometries that are intricate in appearance and incredible in scale.

Wona: “Floristry is different in every country, it is related to culture. Australian’s just do, they are very relaxed and their country is so big and likes the natural style of floristry. In Korea everything grows more slowly, Asian people are very cautious, they want to learn everything properly before they experiment and the floristry – it is very delicate.”

That mix of East and West finds itself in her sculptural works. The most striking example? Her three-metre tall spherical sculpture of sticks that graces the gardens of Victoria’s stunning Heide Museum of Modern Art, its hypnotic circular form embracing the idea of restraint while throwing open its form to the breadth of the surrounding space through its scale.

Unfortunately for Makers, as compelling as Wona’s story is, it’s not long before we wind it up: the business woman is a little under the weather, having taught her in-house floristry classes two nights running before backing it up with 4am trips to the market. The schedule is hectic, but one gets the feeling she wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Wona: “This is my passion. I love flowers and I love making sculptures and I love teaching. The retail part of it is not a natural fit, but it is what I have to do to bring people to me and let them know what I do.”

Loose Leaf

31 Sackville Street, Collingwood 

Interview: Sebastian Costello, Bad Frankie

“There are distillers who brew excellent product in Melbourne, and I want to show it off to the world.”

-       Sebastian Costello

It is common to become intoxicated by the discovery of food and drink tested and tasted within the cultural and geographic bounds of its origin: pintxos and white sherry in the cobblestone back streets of San Sebastian, panzanella salad in some Tuscan trattoria, or a dosa straight off the cart in the laneways of Chennai.

Perhaps what’s slightly less common is bartender Sebastian Costello’s reaction to his own journey of culinary discovery. Excited by the experience of drinking his way through bourbon in Nashville and tequila in Tequila, Sebastian took up the gauntlet these two regions remain unaware was ever thrown.

Sebastian: “We came back and I thought to myself, ‘we’ve got whiskies from Tasmania, gins from the Yarra Valley and the Margaret River – let’s do this, let’s show Australian spirits to the world.”

The end result is Bad Frankie, an off-Smith Street bar showcasing more than 150 spirits representing 40 of the 50-or-so boutique distilleries currently operating within our border.

It’s a quirky concept. Australian-only spirits, beers and wines matched with what Sebastian imagines as our national snack – the humble jaffle.


As concepts go, it is undoubtedly one that could come off as gimmicky in the hands of a business owner with less honest intent and more commercial drive.  Instead, the space (with the help of interior designer Sally Holbrook) evokes all the colloquial warmth Aussies have for the idea of the small town watering hole.

Sebastian: “When you’re in Tequila the Jose Cuervo distillery is right there on the corner, and you’re eating tacos because that’s what you eat and it’s awesome because you’re there – no one’s trying to sell it. They don’t have to. This is what they do.”

The key to the realisation of the Bad Frankie vision is in Sebastian’s absorption of that notion. There is no hard sell, here, instead just a real knowledge about the birth of Australia’s boutique distillery industry and its importance in our modern food history.

Certainly he relates the dates and happenings as if he had lived them. Of Van Diemen’s Land Governor John Franklin’s outlawing of small-scale pot stills in the 1800s that saw the death of the boutique distillery industry in Tasmania and eventually – when the law was passed in to Federation law in 1901 – across Australia. Of the 1992 overturning of the archaic law upon the efforts of Tasmanian Bill Lark, founder of Lark Distillery.

As of the offering, he’s not afraid to be a little parochial in the tastiest possible way. Like the inside joke that is the jaffle lamington, and a cocktail list that reimagines the Sunday roast as a strangely tasty Old Fashioned championing Gun Alley whisky.

Sebastian: “The response to what we’re doing is really great. Everybody loves it. Everyone’s worried about their carbon footprints and people are keen to taste product we can trace to just around the corner. We wanted to give them that opportunity."

141 Greeves St, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Telephone 03 9078 3866


Interview: JP Klipspringer

JP Klipspringer is the new recording project of Melbourne songwriter and The Zanes front man, Jack Poulson. Produced by Simon Lam and mastered by Andrei Eremin (Chet Faker), Klipspringer’s lush and arresting tunes take influence from artists as varied as Elliott Smith and Primal Scream, drawing comparisons to The XX and James Blake.

 Klipspringer’s debut EP, Drip Dry, is a stunning first offering from this new act. Lead single, Bury Me, has been enjoying airplay on Triple J, Melbourne’s 3RRR and other community radio stations across the country.

It’s a miserable Monday night when Makers finally gets a chance to catch up with Poulson.One of our favourite new artists on the Melbourne music scene, the performer phones in while on his long walk home.

Jack: “I’m walking, so if I sound puffed it’s not because I’m chasing anyone. I’m probably not as fit as I should be."

The artist débuted Drip Dry at the Toff in town last May to some very positive reviews and his four-track album is currently available for download on iTunes. I can't help but mention that Makers was bummed to miss the gig last month.

Jack: “Oh that sucks. It was really a lot of fun. I was having nightmares earlier on in the week of the launch, but it turned out great. There was a packed room, the support acts were fantastic and I think everyone enjoyed it. We certainly enjoyed it: I’ve played plenty of shows with my other band, The Zanes, but this was our first show as a band as a solo project.”

Releasing their debut album in late 2012, The Zanes took an indefinite hiatus at the beginning of this year when drummer Paul Ryan made the decision to temporarily relocate to London. In a way the move made it easier for Jack to focus on his solo work and (taking his name from a character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, The Great Gatsby) JP Klipspringer was born.

Jack: “There was always a plan to focus on the solo stuff this year...  it just took a bit longer to kick into action that I expected. I’d started recording songs for this EP a long time ago. Bring you Home and Bury Me were recorded almost a year ago now. The other two tracks were recorded a bit more recently. I’m trying to do this properly and take it slow and make sure I get the songs right, instead of just bursting out onto the scene with any old thing.”

The passion and dedication to his music is evident in Jack’s tone as he explains the origins of his solo work.

Jack: “As a singer, you’ve got to learn from your previous bands and I’ve learnt to take my time, make the songs right, and put some effort into releasing an EP. I’m looking forward to recording the next round of stuff in August. I’ve already started writing and I’ve got a few songs that I’m choosing between. There are six or seven tracks that I want to put on the next EP [likely to be released later this year] and maybe I’ll release another single before that.”

With plans to travel to both America and the United Kingdom before that happens, it sounds like the musician is juggling a very busy schedule. He talks of combining travel with putting on a few shows on America’s East Coast, perhaps recording there before tripping over to London to visit former band mate, Paul Ryan.

It’s a full diary but Makers of Melbourne has no doubt that ‘Klipspringer’ will be able to handle the pressure. Before we end the conversation I make sure to thank the singer for his time and leave him to continue the long journey home.

Jack: “Thank you very much, this has been a lovely chat on a cold Monday night, it’s taken my mind off my wet shoes. I think I have a hole in my sole.”

Makers: “Ah. That’s the glamorous life of an up-and-coming musician.”

Jack: “Oh yes, walking through wet parks with holey shoes. This is the life.”

I hear him laugh before he hangs up the phone.

Interview: Paul Cox

“The real things in life are to be kind and to be creative. Everything else, forget it.”

-       Paul Cox

Film maker Paul Cox in his Albert Park office

Film maker Paul Cox in his Albert Park office

There is an innate contradiction apparent in the world of Paul Cox, the man who – over the past 40 years – has become one of Australia’s most distinguished international filmmakers. It is a contradiction inherent in the former sentence:

“…one of Australia’s most distinguished international filmmakers…”

 Note the reverse italics.

Makers sits with him during the gloom of a late autumn day in the Albert Park office that has long served as his professional, and only slightly more recently, personal home. Across the road, children play in a schoolyard and mums with prams walk by, take away coffee cups in hand. The small gate to his front path is discreet and goes unnoticed.

The second great tell.

For a man who has received both distribution and critical claim across Europe alongside a host of international retrospectives celebrating his extensive ouvre of humanist films (including celebrations of his work at the Telluride, Istanbul and Calcutta film festivals), mainstream Australian awareness around his importance is pitifully lacking.

A travesty when one considers the airplay given to any D-grade celebrity willing to parade themselves before commercial television cameras for the most asinine of reasons. 

Still from Paul Cox film 'Exile' 1994 - Winner of AFI Award for Best Cinematography & nominee for the Golden Bear award for best film at Berlin Film Festival

Still from Paul Cox film 'Exile' 1994 - Winner of AFI Award for Best Cinematography & nominee for the Golden Bear award for best film at Berlin Film Festival

One gets the feeling it is a travesty that has very much contributed to Paul’s current view of the world that – at times – resonates with a sense of frustrated despair.

Paul: “There are so many people out there who spend their energy on creative bullshit – on things like fashion and what they wear and displaying themselves in that way. I have been making my films for many, many years and they have never hit the jackpot in Australia because they are very European and I have always looked at the world in a global sense. I was probably the first person that made a love story between an Australian woman and a wog, a Greek man (Kostas 1979) and people were wary of that – all the funding came from outside of Australia. Here I don’t really exist. I have the odd fan, of course, but since my transplantation I really couldn’t give a fuck anymore. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter at all.”

The transplant of which he speaks is the replacement of his cancerous liver (“on Christmas Day, it’s a bit pathetic”), the need for which brought him within days of facing death and has since become the central tenant of his latest film, currently undergoing its final edit. (He is, in fact, drawn out of the editing room the day we visit.)

It has been fictionalised, of course, and its themes broadened, though Paul today does not give too much away other than to say some filming takes place in India (“the earlier years I spent in Indonesia and India were where I grew up”) and – that if more people were conscious of the gift of transplant – many lives could be saved.

In some way it appears as if this could be the film that brings Paul’s lifetime of observance of the internal geography of human spirit and emotion – most often viewed through the behaviours of flawed characters – closer to home.

Not that there hasn’t been other instances of autobiographical influence in his films. My First Wife (1984) is very loosely inspired by Paul’s own marriage breakdown, while the magnified gaze placed on mortality, love, emotional and social corruption and life’s meaning throughout all his films – not to mention his total intolerance for mindless violence on the screen – is deeply informed by a childhood spent stepping over rubble and dead and dying bodies in the Netherlands following his birth in 1940 in to a Europe overtaken by World War II.

But underneath all the shortened patience for the cultural stupidity of modern life (Kardashians anyone?) rests a deep love for people and creative expression – for the possibility inherent in us all as seen in the eyes of a small child before social conditioning and expectation takes hold.

He is the ultimate humanist in that he fully understands mankind’s foibles – our current irrational obsession with celebrity and fame – but continues to love us all anyway: it is there, in his push to keep facing us with ourselves through his films, like a patient father who will (despite our ignorance and faults) forge on ahead, lantern of awareness held high, that he might show us a different way.

Paul: “I take life quite seriously. I think it is a serious matter. When people say, ‘enjoy what you do’, when people ask you to be happy… I think happiness is for fools. How can you be happy when there is so much unjustness? What is needed is a degree of contentment to do your work and be satisfied with what you have. To not want – that is essential.  And to be able to give.” 

Interview: Mike O'Meally

“If you’re good you put your neck on the line – that’s when it shows.”

 - Mike O’Meally

It’s a Sunday afternoon when Makers sits down for an impromptu interview with Sydney-born photographer, Mike O’Meally.

We’re sitting in the front row of RMIT’s Storey Hall where the lensman has just wrapped up a powerful closing speech at the 2014 Carbon Festival. It’s been a challenge separating the artist from a large group of assorted skaters and hangers-on, but with the help of a lone publicist we’ve managed to wrangle the New York-based snapper on to an empty chair.

Working in the industry for 20 years (including a long running stint as the senior photographer for ‘Transworld Magazine’), this 40-year-old’s pictures of professional skateboarders and boxers have received critical acclaim in the art world. He was the subject of a one-man retrospective exhibition late last year at Sydney’s China Heights Gallery, no mean feat for a photographer who began his career operating firmly within the trenches of sporting subculture.

Bobby Puleo Brooklyn, NYC June 2001.

Bobby Puleo Brooklyn, NYC June 2001.

O’Meally holds a firm gaze as we begin talk about his career, a look that makes immediately evident he is a man who doesn’t suffer fools.

“I’m a tough cookie,” he states by way of introduction. “Come on, I can take it.”

Raised in a strong Irish Catholic household, Mike began playing sports at an early age, encouraged by his father.

 Mike: “My dad would play Irish war songs on a Saturday morning as I was getting ready for football practise.”

He picked up a skateboard during his teenage years and, later, enrolled in Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales. It was the beginning of a marriage of passions.

 Family, love and war are all strong themes in the photographer’s daily life, serving as both the foundation of his person and the inspiration behind much of his photography.

 Mike: “There are some others that I tap into with my work, but they’re pretty strong ones.”

Broadway & Astor Place, NYC September 2001

Broadway & Astor Place, NYC September 2001

As we settle further into our chat, it becomes obvious that the skateboarding community has become an extended family for the often-itinerant photographer.

 Mike: “With skateboarding, the skaters are constantly putting their physical wellbeing on the line and you have to earn their trust. You spend a lot of time with them, apart from actually taking their pictures and skating. You have to become a rogue family in some ways.”


Being able to earn the trust of his subjects and put them at ease means that all of O’Meally’s work displays a real sense of what the father of photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson, describes as “the decisive moment”. Documenting not only the world of skateboarding, but his travels to countries as diverse as Egypt, South Africa & throughout the USA, O’Meally’s images stand out not only for their composition, but because he seems to be looking for real meaning in the way people react to their environment and each other.

He breaks eye contact to check the phone softly buzzing in his pocket. “Sorry, that’s my mate,” he tells us by way of explanation. “How much more do you need, two minutes, five minutes? He’s got a beer waiting for me.”

 It’s the perfect excuse to wrap things up with the artist, an interview challenged by his intensity and cock-sure confidence. As we gather our belongings we ask for one final quote.

Mike: “Hold your pistol, shoot straight. There’s a good quote for you. As a photographer you’ve got to shoot straight and love your subject.” 

And with that he’s off, ready to join the rogue family that is both the support and focus of his photographic artistry.

Jason Jessee gets dragged by a '50 Ford, San Diego

Jason Jessee gets dragged by a '50 Ford, San Diego


Interview: Christopher Pickings

“Global economics and the way things are happening in the world are changing people’s perceptions on what quality is. People are wanting to see the craft, to see an actual basis of quality behind something that’s expensive.”

                                                        -       Christopher Pickings


Legitimacy is written all over Chris Pickings. Born and raised in Newcastle, England, he looks every bit the retro incarnation of the old-school butcher’s son, outfitted in his heavy denim and William Lennon boots, a living expression of the working class style encapsulated in his new men’s store, Pickings & Parry.

But – unlike so many of today’s tattooed, moustache-twirling set – Chris proves the rare exception: a person less possessed of romantic notions of nostalgia than a man preserving the legacy of a family that continues to espouse the traditional values of a bygone era. 


Chris: “My grandfather was a train driver who became a butcher with a shop in a village called East Boldon, a business that my father took over, that my mother ran until she passed away six years ago and that my sister and I continue to run. It makes no money but it’s been in the family for 60 years, it employs people, and so we keep it.”

His words reveal much, of both his working class roots and the strength of character run through with a seam of integrity that serves as the foundation of his personality – a characteristic that harks back to his grandfather’s time. 


Perhaps it was the early death of his father that instilled such strong personal values: lost to him at the age of 10, Chris spent his teenage years absorbing the legacy that was left to him, continually flicking through his father’s collection of ‘60s motoring magazines and adopting his wardrobe of leather jackets as a way of being close.

It is easy to imagine all those years of immersion have found themselves expressed in Chris’ store, a showcase of classic work wear styles given a modern twist. And all of it set against a backdrop of old-school barber’s chairs, shears humming to the buzz of the 50-year-old Faema E61 coffee machine on the shop counter.


Chris: “The store is a working class gentleman’s club and I guess that’s what I’m trying to recreate – to change the buying culture back to that idea of working hard for the money and spending it on good things that last.”

He points to his aforementioned William Lennon boots.


Chris: “These have been made in the same way for 100 years and the great granddaughter of the founder is still the sales person for the company. It’s the same family, the same factory, the same nailed soles.”

For Chris it appears there really is no compromise and you can’t help but feel his last are words imbued with more than a little personal meaning.


Chris: “In the past people would think nothing of buying a Louis Vuitton handbag just because of what it was, not caring how it was made and where it was made. But that’s like an empty promise. If you buy something that is going to age with you and you can hand it on to your kids… well, those are the things that have a connection to who you are.”

Pickings & Parry

126 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

ph: (03) 9417 3390