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Interview: Virginia Bailey of Mango Rains

Words by Hannah Rabbitt

Published in Moustache Magazine

She’s a self-confessed maths nerd meets bank geek, and an engineer by trade. But don’t let that fool you. Virginia Bailey is also wildly talented at crafting wearable art. Even the Sheppard sisters love her. Bailey’s brand, Mango Rains, kick started in October last year after a flood of inspiration (pun intended) inundated her during her travels.

“After travelling through Africa I fell in love with all of the fabrics and bought bag and bags of fabric home with me,” she said.

“I’d been travelling around there on buses doing doodles of dresses and started getting them made in Brisbane and a lot of girlfriends were like, ‘oh I really like that! Can you make me one?’ and then eventually it was like ah I can actually make this into a label and see how this goes.”

A left-brained girl by employment, Bailey had to learn the skills of clothes making from scratch.

“I did mining engineering and I’m now doing my masters for explosives engineering. I’m a maths nerd so I need to keep the left hand side of my brain going but I also am a band geek so I have to keep my right side going as well.”

“[learning to sew] has been an obstacle, but I’ve enjoyed overcoming it. I’m a perfectionist so I hate having half-ass things done, like it has to be 100 per cent. So I’d make something and be like ‘no, that’ not good enough’ and I’d remake it and eventually it starts getting a real quality and it’s like ‘I’m happy with this, I’m happy to put my name on it.’”

Her brand is still in its teething stages but that hasn’t stopped Bailey from getting her name out there. Six months in, and the girls from Australian band Sheppard are already rocking her designers on their tour.

“It’s cool… a bit surreal, you kind of see them all the time and you hear them. I’m so super appreciative that they do wear it.”

But she still loves seeing average girls around town in her outrageously colourful ensembles.

“Every time someone sends through a photo of them wearing their little outfit, every time it’s kind of like yay! It really blows me away. My house mate said that he went out last week and saw this girl wearing Mango Rains and he stopped her and was like, ‘oh my gosh, is that Mango Rains?!’ and he told me the next day. It’s so cute.”

“I design and make [the clothes] but my background is not fashion and I’m not a fashionista. So, I love seeing the way other people style it because it gives me ideas and I can also get ideas about how to change something so it fits better. You sort of make it your own.”

Her sisters are the ultimate Mango Rains girls.

“They’re all about doing their own thing when they want and they love being the centre of attention and they love wearing colour because it helps express who they are.”

So, what’s next for this vivacious young lady?

“I’ve just started the winter range. The next thing is to finish that and get it properly out the door and see how that goes.”

You can expect printed trousers, jackets, cropped jumpers and vests in her signature style; wax printed patterns on 100 per cent cotton, from parts of West and East Africa.

“I kind of like how it is now. I like being able to go to markets and meet all the girls, and fit them myself and make everything for them so I know 100 per cent who its for. I like it like that. I’ve got the home studio set up so girls are starting to come round to home now to try stuff on and get fittings there. I don’t want to go to stockists but I only say that now. In a few years time..”

Not only does she have the brains and a knack for design, but Bailey’s one kind soul, too. All of her work supports charity. 28 Too Many, COHAD and Orphan and Widow Care receive all net profit from her pieces.

“Currently, it is averaging as $18 from each piece is going to charity.”

Fashionably adept, socially conscious and awfully intelligent; if Virginia Bailey can’t make it big, no one can.

Check her out online http://mangorains.com.au or keep your eyes peeled for Mango Rains at your local markets.

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Interview: Don’t Tell Boutique

Words by Hannah Rabbitt, Images by Mayowa Adeniyi

Published in Moustache Magazine

Tucked away in the hip streets of West End is a quaint little boutique. Spray-painted vintage bikes from garage sales and seamlessly mismatched pot plants adorn the space. Printed shorts, tees and structured frocks fill the racks. The stores owner, Maudie Gibson, was going to open a bar; your wardrobes can thank the lucky stars that she didn’t.

MM: When did Don’t Tell open?

MG: 6 years ago. I took over November 2012.

MM: What brands do you stock?

Lots of Australian labels! So brands like Cameo, Finders Keepers, One Teaspoon, Premonition, Blessed, and we have accessories and shoes and sunnies and things but they always change.

Who is the “Don’t Tell” girl?

She’s everybody. Even for a little store I try to keep it really broad. I sell to people from 18 to 60! There used to be an elderly ladies store up the road, and then they shut down, so I find that I’m always selling pantsuits and maxis and sunnies to like 50 to 70 year-olds. We have some really healthy old people in West End, it’s like that organic, yoga lifestyle, and so they still look really good in clothes. We also get people in for engagement parties, 21st birthdays, charity functions, heaps of graduation outfits; that kind of stuff.

How do you choose what brands you stock?

I was lucky; they came with the store. And then whatever I like. So, if see something on Instagram and it’s a label I’ve never seen before I’ll Google it. If I really like it I’ll talk to the wholesale and go have a look.

Favourite piece in store at the moment?

That’s so easy! It’s a black This Is A Love Song crop that has Trap sequinned across it in capital letters.

Did you always want to own a boutique?

No! I made my decision in six days! I bought the business on Monday and had my first day in retail on Saturday. I was going to open up a bar in this space, and then I ended up buying the business owners business.

Are you happy with your decision?

Yeah, I think so!

I’m pretty darn happy about it too. But don’t take my word for it. Pop down to 173 Boundary Street West End to check it out yourself.

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Kiara King Talks Lion In the Wild

Words by Hannah Rabbitt

Published in Moustache Magazine

There’s no denying that the influence of the humble blogger is rife. In fact, humble isn’t really an appropriate word for what can now be a full-time, fully rewarding gig. Just ask Kiara King of budding life and style blog, Lion In The Wild.

“People kind of miss it- they think ‘oh I’ll get into blogging and get some awesome product and have an awesome lifestyle.’ But you’ve got to realise that it’s a lot of hard work,” says the 24-year-old.

Three years ago King had some spare time to kill post-uni graduation and a blog was the perfect way to fill the gaping void in her timetable that assignments and exam prep had once occupied.

“To be honest I was bored…I was bored and I needed something creative to do. It started just as a hobby- I didn’t think I would end up doing it full time”

Based in Perth, King has just finished a weeklong trip to Sydney to meet and mingle with other people in her industry.

“Being in Perth has been really challenging, but then it’s kind of really rewarding as well…there’s only a few bloggers in Perth that are quite mainstream and produce high quality, amazing work.”

“It’s really cool- when people want to get in touch with the Western audience they contact me and a couple of other bloggers. I think that’s really rewarding.”

So, what is it that is making Lion In The Wild a boomer in this blogging business? King reckons it all boils down to how relevant she is to the people who actually engage with her posts. She dubs her personal aesthetic ‘relatable’ and believes that’s the secret ingredient that lures readers back for another bite.

“People will always say that they’re really feminine or edgy but I think I’m relatable. People can take what I wear and wear it themselves and not feel uncomfortable. I feel like that’s kind of my thing and what’s working for me as well.”

As someone who has devoured their fair share of blogs (you should see my Google history) I can say that it is indeed a successful method of satisfying the reader. King’s personal style shines in high quality photography and well-written bios, her flatlays give Margaret Zhang a run for her money, and I am now left wondering if I should dye my hair the exact colour of the burgeoning online star.

But how does one make each post as that effective, and as enticing as the last?

“I don’t try to force it. I think it’s kind of nice when you’re just driving around and find a nice location and shoot just what you’re wearing. It’s more organic and I think you’re readers can feel that,” says King.

“Stay true to yourself and be consistent. You need to produce posts as much as you can but with a high quality. You’ve got to be really social with it all and connect with people. Have fun!”

And fun she is having. King has scored some pretty sweet gigs from the hard work she’s put into her second child (the first is her beloved cat). Her favourite?

“I did a few things for Clinique a while ago. And they contacted me middle of last year and contracted me for a job to create some images for their Instagram, so I did that last year and it was incredible. That was just something that was offered because my Instagram has quite a good aesthetic and that’s what they wanted.”

With her past successes, it’s all systems go for King in the New Year; her fresh website will be launched (I’ve heard only good things) and exciting collaborations are on the horizon.

“We’ve been talking about some really big projects coming up with some quite high end designers and boutiques. It’s really exciting! I can’t say too much but… there might be a bit of a bloggers trip coming up which we’ve been talking about for a while.”

Blogger trips can only mean one thing-killer photos with stunning backdrops. I’m oh so keen already. King’s clearly got a good thing going on here- this is definitely one of those blogs to add to favourites and consume as regularly as your 2&5 (we’re talking daily).

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Holloway

Words by Hannah Rabbitt and images by Mayowa Adeniyi

Published in Moustache Magazine

What do skate boards, international cuisine, well-framed glasses and a whole heap of lumber have in common? Holloway, of course.

Raffaele Persichetti and Martin Gordon Brown are the men behind the very cool, very local and very ethical business. Hidden away in West End, Holloway calls a small, wood-drenched restaurant home. The floor is made from three thousand pieces of chopped log from a boutique mill, dried rose petals and stones filling the crevices. Underneath, their studio is brimming with old skate decks, utensils and couches for long-haul artistic sessions.

“It’s creative compulsive, you can’t help yourself,” Brown says about why they started up, “always playing with reality and trying to make a different version of yourself that’s more in line with your ethics.”

“It’s challenging things…do I need that? And if I need that, how can I make it?”

“There’s nothing complex about it, it’ just super primitive; wanting to be able to food, shelter, clothe yourself…self-sufficiency I suppose.”

Since it’s inception in late 2010, the aim for Holloway has always been to be as local as physically possible. The materials for their glasses and watches, and even their food, are sourced as close as possible to West End.

“Skate decks are dropped in by the local crew who have heard of what we’re doing just by word of mouth. It’s the strongest element of what we do; just try and nail everything and educate people along the way as to how their thing came to be.”

In fact, Brown aims to have their block of land totally self-sufficient for the restaurant side of the business.

“The backyard is being turned into a ponics to plate model. So we’ve got some plans drawn up that we’ve been laboring over to develop an aquaponics system that can be processed through utilizing the fruit and vege and the fish upstairs to serve straight from what was developed here. So you can limit the total exposure of a meal to being within one block.”

With a focus on personalisation and ethics, Holloway’s strongest advertiser is the consumer himself.

“Everyone loves to have a colourful discussion of things so if their like ‘where’d you get the frames?!’ and they’re like ‘this spot; they’re made out of skate decks, you should bring your skate decks in because they use them all the time’.”

And discussion-starters they certainly are. Chances are, you’ve never seen specs made quite like this.

“We’re making frames at the moment out of stone, aluminium, timber, skate deck, horn, which is sourced from the Lyell Dear Farm which is out at Samford.”

Out the front of the restaurant, a seemingly random grand piano sits on the curb.

“A friend dropped it off yesterday. It was just a message in the morning like ‘hey, do you want another piano?’ I’ve ended up collecting them. It’s the most ridiculous thing to collect. They’re just handy for things.”

A doubtful glance at a piano’s usefulness later, and Brown pulls out a pair of glasses with a self-closing hinge; the joints pulled out of said large instrument.

“The idea of a piano is reverse-factoring. If you find like one way to re-use a hammer or something, then you’ve got 88 iterations of it.”

The creative juices and knack for re-modelling things aren’t all haphazard; Persichetti and Brown both (partially) studied industrial design at QUT.

“I ended up not really finishing it just due to not being able to pass one subject which was manufacturing technology plastics. I’m like ‘dude, I don’t want to study plastics so I’m going to fail this thing.’ Why would I even bother to learn all these things…I don’t want to understand it because I’m never going to engage it.”

Engaging seems to be the key for Brown, especially when it comes to the customer.

“It’s all bang on personalisation. We go to painstaking lengths.”

“The returns policy is; if it doesn’t suit you, swap it up. You need to be ninety per cent happy with what’s going on.”

The two seem to have it all worked out; happy customers, ethical consumption of both food and fashion, and a very good use for oversized instruments.

Hop online: http://www.hollowayeyewear.com.au or pop instore to say hey: 69 Hardgrave Road West End.

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Up Late on a School Night

Words by Hannah Rabbitt

Published in Moustache Magazine

You know how mum always said it wasn’t good to stay up late? She was wrong. Marie Claire teamed up with James Street for the third consecutive year to bring Brisbane a well-deserved night of shopping, champagne, free goodies, and designer shoulder rubbing. Cue squeals of giddy excitement and the sound of bank accounts dwindling.

The night not only provided an excellent opportunity to bag a bargain (15% off storewide at Zimmermann- umm yes please), nab a killer insty shot (the Marie Claire photo booth was literally too cool) and get a little tipsy (free Veuve at Sass and Bide, ladies) but it was also a great chance for homegrown talent to shine and Brisbane to further develop its image as a fully adept culture and high-fashion hub.

Lydia Pearson and Pamela Easton from successful Aussie brand Easton Pearson were amongst the designers who attended to walk attendees through their latest collections. Members of the Marie Claire team meandered the street, dishing out expert fashion and beauty advice to shoppers. Among them was Publisher and Editor Jackie Frank, who says Brisbane keeps up with trends, but in our own manner.

“Your fashion scene is dictated to you by your weather, so it’s much more relaxed. I see a lot of colour up here, which is what I love. You can have a lot of fun with your clothes because you’ve always got a lot of sunshine.”

“You are keeping up, but you are keeping up in the way that is needed for the way you live.”

Aje, famous for their sequined skirts and ‘disheveled elegance’, also chose the evening to unveil their first official Brisbane store. A complementary bar service was well received and everyone enjoyed the very first look at the squeaky clean and fresh new store. Designer Edwina Robinson sung praises of securing a spot on the popular strip.

“We did a pop store in Westfield, but we were trying to find a space on James Street, which happened! It’s amazing! Both Adrian and I were originally from Queensland and I went to university in Brisbane so we’ve always wanted to be here.”

“I think [James Street] is amazing to be honest. Adrian and I both live in Sydney and there are little pockets but it doesn’t have the shopping areas with lots of restaurants. You guys have everything happening here! It’s really extraordinary and I hope everyone follows suit.”

“I don’t feel that way [that Brisbane gets a second hand look so Sydney and Melbourne], maybe the media portrays it as such. You guys have so much to offer here.”

At Samantha Ogilvie, designer Megan Park and owner of the eponymous boutique, Samantha herself, wandered and chatted to Moët-sipping attendees and gave the lowdown on this season’s leather and colour explosion (I was frothing at Ms Ogilvie’s printed Derek Lam jacket). She too agreed that James Street has its finger on the pulse.

“We’ve been here just eighteen months. It’s on fire. This area is just brilliant and business has been very, very good.”

At Robb + Lulu personally painted canvas’ invited customers into store to watch designer for the up and coming label, Lulu McDermott, work her water-colour magic and of course, snap up some discounted goodies. McDermott said being part of the precinct and the Marie Claire event has been great for her brand.

“It’s fabulous. I love it! It’s a great spot for us. I think this is the prime spot in Brisbane, and we are really lucky to be here. Brisbane is growing in everyway possible and I think it’s very on trend.”

“Hopefully [the event] creates a bit of excitement in terms of shopping and getting people out and driving them into store,” editor Jackie Franks added.

I don’t personally need any motivation to get shopping, but judging by the amount of shopping bags swinging nonchalantly from arms by the end of the evening, the event was a win for shoppers and storeowners alike. Staying up late has never been so rewarding.

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