Category Archives: Interviews

INTERVIEW: Mavericks Laces

L-R Luke, Jayden and Leigh.

Don’t let anyone tell you a little online surfing between writing tasks isn’t a good thing. For me it led to the discovery of this fun and funky Melbourne brand, Mavericks Laces. Founded by three Melbourne designers in 2012, the label has seen an appreciation for the finer details of fashion spawn into a stylish set of shoelaces and award-nominated branding. 

The label’s 100% waxed cotton laces are not for the faint-hearted. According to designers, Luke, Jayden and Leigh, ‘if the shoes make the man, the laces make the shoe’, which is why their bold accents are full of colour and character.

Jayden Zernich, one third of the team behind Mavericks Laces, tells us about the bourgeoning brand, its creative processes, and the challenges of starting a fashion label.

SS 5 Pack

Tell us about the team’s design background?
Mavericks Laces is made up of three graphic designers by trade, Luke Schoknecht, Leigh Scholten, and myself who stumbled across each other in studios at one point or another. Leigh and I have since gone on to be the duo behind CONDENSED, who have worked for the likes of Beggar Man Thief, Shoemakers of Melbourne, Life Space Journey and the Melbourne Pub Group. Luke has recently started his own agency called Raine & Makin.

What inspired the launch of the Mavericks Laces label?
We wanted to start a business where we could be free to push the boundaries with branding and design while having some fun. We have a passion for shoes so we started to think about business ideas in that area, and eventually saw a gap in the market for good quality and colourful laces that would help guys in particular add a bit of individual expression to their outfits.

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“If no one ever doubted your idea then you’re not thinking big enough.”

Describe the Mavericks Laces fan?
A ‘Maverick’ is someone who does things a little left of skew and treads their own path. They’re the bold, dynamic people who walk to the beat of their own drum.

Tell us about the company branding that’s been shortlisted in the identity design category for the 2013 Create Design Awards. 
‘Mavericks’ are unique individuals, so we created a custom typeface to represent this originality. Our challenge was to elevate the humble shoelace into a desirable and crucial fashion accessory. Through strong story telling, high-end product photography, playful copywriting and an engaging visual identity, we crafted an emotional connection between the target audience and the product.


Mavericks Branding

Describe the Mavericks Laces creative process.
Colour research, colour research and more colour research! We delve heavily into colour trends from international seasons in design, architecture and fashion, to formulate a mood board and directional family of tones. We try to look at a broad variety of inspiration as we strongly believe that architecture influences fashion and vice versa.

From here we give it a Maverick touch. We work out how we can colour match our photo shoots to not only highlight the product, but experiment with interesting combinations, too. We want everything from the detail of the paper background to sans normal. Yes, others can shoot with paper, shoes, and laces, but we like to think our colour combinations and fun direction is what brings our product to life and sets us apart from the rest.

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“Sometimes 20% of something is better than 100% of nothing.”

What is your go-to creative resource?
Love a book published by Victionary, Monocle, Wallpaper.

What are the biggest struggles to getting your own fashion store/label up and running? What advice do you have for other creatives?
Sometimes you can get caught up with wanting every element to be perfect as it’s your ‘baby’; however, if you continue down that path there will never be enough time in the day and nothing will ever come of your idea. Sometimes 20% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Take a chance and be prepared to learn along the way.

Adapt to the changes in your industry and learn from others who have done it before you. Nothing is as powerful as the knowledge others can give you, absorb it, add to it and apply it. People saying ‘you can’t’ should be your biggest inspiration, if no one ever doubted your idea then you’re not thinking big enough.

Mavericks Primary 3 pack

What’s on the horizon for Mavericks Laces? 
Anything and everything! A world of colour on every boy, teen and man around the streets of your nearby city. It’s one step at a time, so to begin with we’re launching our two-tone laces in September.

**THE LOCAL SCOOP**

Where do you guys shop for cool fashion and accessories in Melbourne?
Claude Maus, Incu, Somewhere, Vanishing Elephant.

Which local designer/creative are you fans of at the moment?
Meandher, Bellroy, LifeSpaceJourney.

MAV_Nemo_Coral_75cm_LR_006

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INTERVIEW: Stacey Hendrickson, casper&pearl

Stacey Hendrickson

Stacey Hendrickson

Pair big ideas with big dreams and you have a label in similar standing with casper&pearl. This Adelaide-based brand is the brain child of creator, Stacey Hendrickson. At the age of 18, the self-taught designer, who started by altering vintage pieces for friends in her bedroom, launched the ethereal clothing collection that sings with 70s style and whimsical vintage charm. Just 24 months later, casper&pearl boasts a cult-like following with fans from around the world – including high-profile fashion bloggers and TeenVogue.com – revelling in Stacey’s signature bustiers. We chat to Stacey about her brand, and the ups and downs of starting your own
fashion line.

Describe casper&pearl’s style?
Our style is bohemian meets preppy; a mix of vintage floral with short picnic dresses. We create whimsical and dream-like designs suited to personalities such as Isabel Lucas and Alexa Chung.

casper&pearl

Tell us about your creative process. Where do you begin when designing a collection?
I like to come up with a story first, and I always make sure I have a visual diary by my side, so when ideas come I can draw them down. I imagine my character, where she is, what she’s doing, and what she’s wearing. I draw images, write poetry, make collages of inspirational images and end up with a collection that reflects all of this.

Your bustiers are very popular with fans. What is it about your signature piece you think they love?
Our ‘First Love’ bustier is definitely our signature piece – its fun, happy and innocent with a twist of cheekiness in the back. It’s the perfect piece to wear to festivals, picnics, first dates and tea parties! It sold out in one night on our website and under 60 seconds in one of our online boutiques, Peppermayo!

casper&pearl

Are there any fashion designers you look up to?
I adore Chloe’s effortless sophistication, and Alexander Wang’s edgy sexy style. The two of them combined would be a magical world of perfect outfits! I also really look up to Alice McCall and the girls behind Maurie & Eve. I imagine casper&pearl being sold right next to these two amazing Australian brands.

I adore Australian fashion. We’ve seen so many amazing Australian designers take the world by storm such as Lover, Magdalena Velevska, and Dion Lee which is so inspiring. One of our stockists in New York – one of the most on-trend cities in the world – will only stock Australian and New Zealand designers which says a lot!

casper&pearl

Tell us about your upcoming collection. What’s it inspired by? What can we expect to see?
We’ll be launching our first seasonal collection ‘Secret Garden’ in March 2013 for autumn/winter. It’s inspired by my favourite childhood book written by Frances Hodgson Burnett and you can expect to see lots of cut outs, peplums, cute dresses and hand-drawn embroidery.

What is your go-to fashion/creative resource? Where do you turn to for inspiration?
I read Vogue religiously, the Australian and British versions are my favourites. I also love to read fashion blogs and keep an eye on street style. My favourite fashion bloggers would have to be Tuula, Le Gypsy and Fashion Toast. I also make sure I keep a visual diary with magazine cutouts and inspirational images. I find inspiration everywhere I go, from the colour of the sky to the flowers on the ground. I also find creativity in children’s books, Sofia Coppola movies, and the decades of the 70s and 90s.

casper&pearl

What do you think are the biggest struggles to overcome when starting your own fashion business?
Getting noticed and building a following! You also need to work hard and show persistence to have the industry take you seriously. But this all comes with time!

Would you consider setting up a bricks and mortar store?
A casper&pearl pop up store is definitely in the near future, and then I’ll see how it goes before we do anything permanent. At the moment I can only dream of having a concept store.

casper&pearl

What’s the number one lesson you’ve learned about the business so far? What advice do you have for others starting their own label?
I’ve always loved the saying: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” I think this is so important when starting your own business whether it’s fashion or not. This industry can be really tough, so you have to learn to brush everything off and not take anything too personally. Make sure you show respect and loyalty.

When starting out, I faced so many blunt replies and negative feedback because nobody knew about casper&pearl yet, but I always promised myself when my brand grew I would never be like that. I always make it one of my top priorities to write back to aspiring designers who ask for advice and always make sure I donate a percentage of profits to charities.

casper&pearl

Where can people find your designs?
We’ve picked up some amazing stockists for 2013, some of the better known ones being Globalize, Nasty Gal and Dissh. We’re so excited with how many boutiques have come on board, reaching from Alice Springs to Manhattan! And you can always find our favourite casper&pearl pieces on our website.

INSIDE SCOOP

Do you think Adelaide has its own fashion style? Where is your favourite place to shop in Adelaide?
Most definitely! Over the last few years the Adelaide fashion industry has become very significant. With the launch of the Adelaide Fashion Festival, and stores like Zimmermann and Sass & Bide opening retail stores on Rundle Street, it’s evident that Australian fashionistas are keying onto the fact that SA is up and coming. My favourite boutique at the moment is definitely Karibu Boutique on Melbourne Street!

casper&pearl

casperandpearl.com

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INTERVIEW: Jac Gaal, Furrow South

We spied this bright Furrow South jewellery range back in November at the Young Blood Designers Market held at The Powerhouse Museum, and had to share! Graphic designer Jac Gaal, creates the geometric gems as a creative outlet to her — funnily enough — already artistic field. We’re drawn to these earthy pieces that have a zing of juicy hues for a few reasons: they’re handmade, sustainable, and one-of-a-kind as professed by Jac.  So we had a quick chat with the designer to discover more about her style, the designer jeweller, and sustainable design.

FurrowSouth_1

Jac Gaal

Jac Gaal

Describe your personal style?
White with a pop of colour and earthy undertones. I’m a sucker for on-trend looks and I’m loving neon mixed with white and wood. I live by the ocean and lecture most days in a design college so I tend to have a daily battle with style: beachy and cruisy comfort, or on-trend, edgy professional.

When did you launch Furrow South? Is there a story behind the brand name?

Furrow South was launched only three months ago, and the brand name the reason it was  held launch off for so long! I’m the worst decision maker and, being a graphic designer, the hardest thing in the world is developing your own brand, nothing seemed right — I was my own worst client! I ended up deciding on Furrow South as ‘Furrow’ means trench or groove which, as most of my pieces are made from recycled timber floor boards, they possess the trademark grooves and character on them. The ‘South’ came about because I recently moved to the south coast of Sydney and that’s where the necklace making began.

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How did you get involved with jewellery design? Are you professionally trained or did you just fall into this creative sphere?
I completed a Bachelor of Industrial Design and have always worked within the creative/design industry. Despite working within an artistic industry, I needed a personal creative outlet (yes, I know that sounds crazy!). You need a place where you can design for yourself and not to a specific budget-driven brief. I also own a product design business, making lamps, mobiles, candle holders and origami artwork and, after doing this for sometime, I wanted to create something different from homewares, something more me.

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New furrows in the making. This timber was destined to be turned into ash.

New furrows in the making. This timber was destined to be turned into ash.

What are your designs made of? Tell us about the creative process for developing them.
My range is made from recycled timber floorboards with their shapes and designs dependant on the repurposed timber that I come across. I develop the angles and shapes based on what best suits that particular piece
of material.

Do you recall the first Furrow South piece of jewellery you made? What motivated you to experiment with this sustainable idea?
Yes very clearly! I embarked on a massive project of building a custom timber feature piece in my home to cover an ugly brick wall. Once I was finished there was all this beautiful timber left over that I couldn’t bring myself to burn or throw away. That was when I started experimenting with the left over pieces and realised there must be so much of this lovely material going to waste on building sites. So I went to see what I could save from the landfill pile.

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Why is sustainable design so important to you?
I acknowledge that we already have so much ‘stuff’ in our part of the world compared to others, and there is something fulfilling and rewarding about saving something from turning into landfill and giving it a new lease on life. Just the other day I found some great timber drawers from my local recycle depot tip and transformed them into a neat little shelving unit in just a couple of hours. It was great to stand back and marvel at my very simple, but thrifty creation.

Which other sustainable designs do you admire at the moment?
I’m in love with the Re-Ply repurposed cardboard recliner chair by Dan Goldstein. It’s such a simple design that’s very aesthetically appealing, and very practical
and comfortable.

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Is there a source you can suggest creatives visit if they wish to learn more about sustainable design?
As I’m only very new to the world of sustainable design, I can only suggest to keep your eyes open to all the items around you in your world. Think before you just dispose of things, there may be another life you can create for the items around you, so don’t thoughtlessly chuck out!

You’ve just released a neon range of ‘furrows’. What are you planning on doing/designing next?
The beauty of the Furrows is that there is no real set plan with how they are created. I am really dictated on the different types of timber that come my way and the unpredictability of the shapes that will form. I look at colours that are on-trend but also colours that work well to complement the natural tone and lines of
the timber.

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Where can we shop Furrow South?
We will be launching our online store very soon and have had lots of retail enquiries. We will have a full list on our website soon so check-in or like us on Facebook for regular updates.

Furrow South Websitehttp://www.furrowsouth.com

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INTERVIEW: Bboy Blond, break dancer, part 2

Last week we shared part one of our interview with break dancer Youngkwang Joung, better known as Bboy Blond. If you missed out, you can find part one here. If you’re ahead of the game, here’s part two of our interview, we cover a stint in the army, power moves, memorable battles and the future!

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

As a Korean-born male, you were required to serve in the army. What were your thoughts when it was your time to serve?
When I went into the army, I was thinking – it’s time to stop dancing. Before me, everyone who went to the army would just stop dancing completely. It’s compulsory to serve in Korea, so when it was my time, I thought that it was my time to quit dance, too. After one year I realised there was no life without dance. So when the army gave us holiday break, I practised a little. It was only maybe twice in two months — which made it very hard — but I kept practising.

You’re a pioneer for ‘power moves’. How do you develop a new move?
It’s complicated. Sometimes new moves evolve from an accident, sometimes you just take a basic move and add your own personality to it, or sometimes inspiration comes from others’ suggestions. In the early days I wanted to shock people with moves, that’s all I was thinking. So when I competed I would keep the move a secret during warm up and then, in the battle, I would let the move loose and people never saw it coming! I feel differently about it now — I like to practice and focus on the music and let them come naturally.

Kids always ask me how do I keep doing power. How do I keep my body going? Do I work out to be able to do it? Sure, I do some sit ups and push ups sometimes, but that’s just for fitness, you don’t need to do it just do more power. Practice more and study the moves you want. Think about how it works and the technique, or watch someone else. Maybe you can’t do it exactly the way you want because of your body type or level. But the best way to learn is practice.

It gets annoying when people ask what my secret is, there is no secret, I just practice. Practice more and study the moves you want to know. Think about how it works and the technique used. I’d also say it’s better to learn how to control your body first. I always get asked how to do airflares. Airflares are hard to learn! You’re basically in the air, no feet on the ground, jumping over from one hand to the other. It’s dangerous when you’re in mid air with no hands on the ground. If you don’t know how to control your body, anything can happen. It’s a move I’m known for, but I don’t teach it to people who don’t know basic moves or don’t know how to control their body. What’s the point in having one of the hardest moves if you can’t do anything with it or tie it together with the rest of your skills?

Bboy Blond at 'World Powermoves Series'

Bboy Blond at ‘World Powermoves Series’

You mentioned your style changing from power moves to more freestyle dancing. What motivated this?
I was never pure power, even before the army. People would always see a battle with power moves but they never saw how I would train. I would practice footwork and freezes too, but I would never use any of those moves in a battle because I mostly danced with my crew where we each showed our strongest moves. It just turned out that they were better at footwork and freezes, and I was stronger with power moves. That’s why most people think I’m just a power-move guy.

Since I moved to Australia I’ve tried to enjoy my dancing even more, which has naturally changed my style. Back in the day, all I would care about is winning a battle, now I’m more focused on enjoying a battle. I still want to win, but I do whatever I’m feeling not just my best moves.

How did it feel winning Battle of the Year 2007 with Extreme Crew?
It was awesome! When we got onto that stage and we saw the audience, we thought it was crazy.  I was so impressed that there were so many people there to watch bboys, it was unbelievable. We were just happy to be there, to be at such a big event. After we made it into the final four crews all we could think was, ‘This is real, we have to kill it! We have to smash it!’ And when they announced the winner and it was us, we went crazy.

Extreme Crew at Battle Of The Year 2007

Extreme Crew at Battle Of The Year 2007

After a long career in dance, do you still get nervous?
I get nervous every time. Even if it’s a small battle, I’m still nervous. I don’t know why. My heart beats faster all the time and I have to tell it to relax! My heart never understands.

Dancing is still exciting and I’m happy that even though I haven’t competed in big international competitions for a while, people still know who I am and still like me.

What’s your most memorable battle and why?
I have two favourites. My first was in Osaka, Japan in 2002. It was first time we had been to an international battle. It was a whole new feeling being in a different country to dance. The other one was definitely Battle Of The Year 2007. It makes me happy thinking about it because it was probably the biggest competition we had ever won.

What’s your favourite country that you’ve been to for dancing?
I can’t pick just one, but I like going to Europe. When I go there to dance, there’s so many bboys from so many different countries. When I go to a competition in Australia, it’s mostly Australians, when I go to Korea, its mostly Koreans, but in Europe, there’s so many different people from so many different countries. I like going to Korea too, it’s so competitive there, and there are so many good bboys and and so many crews there. They have Drifters, Last For One, Maximum, Gambler, Jinjo, Rivers, my crew Extreme, Fusion MC. And even then, some of them make united crews. It’s hard to compete there when so many crews are really good.

Going to India was crazy. I felt like a superstar. They’ve had a few dancers there before but they were just there to do shows with no one-on-one time. When I visited, I was doing workshops and teaching dance which no one had experienced before. I travel less now, but since I moved to Australia my English has improved, and that helps a lot when you travel. So now I can enjoy a trip 10 times more because I can actually speak to more people now.

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

What’s the next competition you’d like to take part in? 
I’d like to go to a lot of the big-name competitions, UK Championships, Battle of the Year, Red Bull BC One. I don’t want to win, it’s not about that. I just want to see more bboys and new bboys. I don’t think I could go unless I could compete. To compete in most of these big competitions you need to be invited, and it’s hard being here sometimes, because now I’m representing Australia, but everyone knows I’m originally from Korea. I sometimes think if I was born here I might have had a better chance to compete in bigger competitions.

What’s it like being married while dancing around the world?
It’s hard because I travel a lot without my wife and I always have to leave her. She supports me a lot and she actually wants me to go see new countries and travel if the opportunity comes up. She’s a cool girl, she’s one of the reasons why I moved to Australia. She has seen everything I do, so she always asks why I don’t get invited to the big international competitions and events, because I’m always doing my best and pushing to be a better dancer. But they don’t want to invite me because I live in Australia now. I’ve spoken to a lot of organisers, and to bring someone out from Australia is really expensive. For the price of one Australian bboy, you can get two Korean bboys. It upsets her. She’s just looking out for the best things for me, I definitely know I married the right person.

What keeps you pushing to be a better dancer?
The scene inspires me to become better. In the early days, I was known for power moves and it feels weird that after 15 years I can still win a power-move competition. I’m really proud of myself, sometimes I don’t know how I do it. People always say I need to prepare for later in life when I’m ‘too old’ to do power moves, when I can no longer do flips and airflares. I hate when people say that. I’m doing what I like and if I can still do it – I’m going to do it. If my body decides it can’t cope with it when I’m older, I’ll do something else!

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

Who are your inspirations?
Back in the day, I was inspired by the first Korean bboys, such as Sung Hoon as well as American Bboys, like Remind and Super Dave. Today, even the new generation inspires me – they have crazy power!

What does it mean to you to be a bboy?
I don’t want to say it’s everything, because I can live without it, I just don’t want to. I know a lot of people say it should be everything and you should live every day as a bboy, but there are also other things I want to do and want to see in life. It does mean a lot to me. If I didn’t start dancing I wouldn’t be where I am today, I wouldn’t have been to a lot of the places and countries I’ve been to and I wouldn’t have met all of the inspiring people I have and who are still some of my best friends today. I don’t want to ever say that I’m not a bboy. If I could, I would dance for the rest of my life but, if I had to stop one day, I would move on. It’s been the main focus of my life since I was 14.

What would you do if you weren’t dancing?
I think I would be a totally different person. I have no idea what I would be doing, and even now I wonder what I would do if I suddenly had to stop dancing. I know I’d like to study, but I’m not sure what. I’ve tried to think about what I would do if I were to stop dancing, but every time I do, I get distracted and start thinking about bboying again!

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

What advice do you have for the new generation?
Enjoy dancing. I don’t think I enjoyed it as much when I was young like I do now because I was so focused on winning battles and competitions. If you win with that mind, you’re happy, if you lose, you’re sad. That’s all I would think of when I was young. But now I think that’s not important. Whether you win or lose, you’re still dancing which is the best part of all. Just have fun, respect all the bboys, too.

I get hundreds of requests and videos from younger dancers asking me to teach them. I like to teach and train people in person, face to face. I need to be able to see you dance, how your body works and not just one move. I feel bad sometimes because people expect me to have instructions on exactly how to do a move but they don’t realise it’s not like a recipe where you follow the exact same steps or methods as the next person.

Do you plan to stay in Australia?
For at least 3-4 years we will be here. My wife is currently studying at university so we’re going to stay and see what happens after she finishes. When I was travelling in Europe, I kept wondering what it would be like if I had moved to the UK instead. So that might be an option down the track.

 
Check out the latest clip of Bboy Blond showcasing his different styles in the clip below.

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INTERVIEW: Bboy Blond, break dancer, part 1

Don’t say we can’t keep a promise! You may have seen out interview preview with Bboy Blond here on Ed and Ruby TV, where we notified you that a very exciting (extended version) was on its way. Well, it has arrived! Below is part one of our chat with the world-renowned dancer. We had such an amazing time getting to know Blond, we’ve had to break our interview up into two parts, so stay tuned over the weekend for more great reads!

Interview: Bboy Blond, break dancer, part 1

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

In the world of dance, ‘Bboy Blond’ is synonymous with explosive breaking moves. The 29-year old Korean break dancer has mastered the art of ‘power moves’ over his 15-year career while he – as he describes it – is simply doing what he loves. Famous for his strength, it’s easier to list the countries Youngkwang Joung hasn’t showcased his dance talents to admiring fans in, rather than detail out the destinations he has!

Together with his bboy group, Extreme Crew, Blond cemented his name into bboy history in 2007 by winning Battle Of The Year; one of the world’s longest running and biggest break dance events, with Extreme.

In recent years, Bboy Blond has moved from Korea to start a new life in Sydney, Australia and it’s here we had the privilege of discovering more about the dancer, including his thoughts on the Australian dance scene, his big move to Australia, and the inside story to his ever-evolving career and personal life.

Originally from Korea, you’ve been in Australia for almost three years now. How are you finding it?
I really like this country, it’s much more relaxed, but the bboy scene is much smaller than what I’m used to back home.

What spurred your move to Australia?
My wife and I just got married and we were looking to start a new life and meet new people together. We wanted a new lifestyle and, at the same time, I could feel my body was tired from dancing, so we thought it was a good time for the new challenge and scene.

I was scared and nervous to move to Australia, but also very excited. I’ve travelled before but never moved countries, and I couldn’t speak English very well so everything was going to be new! I knew no one here, so I was a little scared.

Why did you start bboying?
It was my brother who started dancing first. Being the younger brother, I was always following in his footsteps asking him, “Where you going? What are you doing?”, all the time. Once I followed him to practice and he was doing some waving and freezes, so I tried it and it was fun!

When did dance transition from a fun pastime to professional activity?
I’d never been serious about anything before I started dancing. In the beginning, it was a challenge, but once I tried some new freezes and some power moves, it was like I was in a whole different world! It made me happy every time I learned new moves which made me take it more seriously.

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

How did you get the name Bboy Blond?
When I was young I dyed my hair blonde for fun. All my friends were saying it suited me, so I kept doing it. At a competition one day everyone kept asking who the ‘blonde’ guy was. When I first started dancing, no bboys in Korea had a dance nickname, we just called each other by our real names, when  I came back from the army, everyone all of a sudden  had a bboy name! So my friend Baek told me I should be Bboy Blond, and it stuck. I’m not sure I like the name. At the time I couldn’t speak English and I didn’t think of what the word ‘blonde’ could mean to someone from a different country. When most people think ‘blonde’, they think of a blonde-haired beach girl, not a Korean man!

Tell us about joining Extreme Crew, your first crew and one of the world’s biggest.
I first started dancing with my friends Bboy Blue and Hoti while we were living in Busan City. There wasn’t any real Bboy crews in Busan at that time, there were a few hip hop dancers, but not a bboy team. At one point, other bboys in Busan City tried to organise a big crew of united dancers. At first they scouted Blue and Hoti who I was with, they soon realised I didn’t have my own crew so they said we could all join together. I wasn’t really that good at the time though.

What was it like to be a part of Extreme Crew?
That’s hard to answer because I’ve only ever know two crews, Extreme and SKB. I don’t really know how other crews train and work together. I do know that for both crews it was never ‘work’, just friendship – we’re all family.

In the beginning we had some problems in Extreme as everyone wanted different things from the group. But as we spent more time together, we understood each other more. We knew what everyone was thinking, or what they were going to say. We had to learn to work together to make things easier. You have to learn to understand your crew when you spend so much time together.

Bboy Blond by Mary Kwizness

How much did they help you become the bboy you are?
A lot! Having a crew to help you out is everything. If Extreme weren’t there for me, I wouldn’t have continued dancing after my time in the army, where I hadn’t been able to practice for two years, and had lost most of my dance skills. They said “You are Blond, you are my crew, just come back and enjoy dancing, you have to join us.”

What did Extreme Crew think of your plans to move to Australia?
Extreme is like a family, I spent half of my life with them and they understand why I moved to Australia. In the beginning they weren’t sure. “Why would you move there?” they asked, “There’s no crew there, we are here, why are you going there?” I still talk to them a lot and we still catch up on dancing. They’re happy and I’m really happy, too.

You’ve joined SKB crew since moving to Australia. Did this create conflict with Extreme?
Not at all. Originally I wasn’t thinking of joining or finding a new crew, but SKB reminded me a lot of Extreme. We’re all good friends and look out for each other.

Bboy Blond with SKB

How many hours a day do you train? How has this changed since you moved to Australia?
There’s been a big difference in my training since moving. When I was young and in high school, I was training all day. When I woke up, I would go to the studio and practice with others, heading home around 10pm. Since finishing studying, and spending time in the army, I’m noticing that I’m getting older because my body is feeling older when I train. I still pushed hard though, doing approximately four hours a day with one day off a week. Since moving to Australia I’m training two or three hours a day, four days a week. I try to practice as much as I can whenever I have time, I have to train harder with the time that I have here.

What do you think of the Australian dance scene?
Honestly, in the beginning, I was disappointed because the scene was very small. There were no big ‘jams’ and the bboys didn’t train very hard, they would just sit down and think most of the time. I would say “What are you doing? You don’t come here to think, you have to practice!” They’re starting to get there now, they train a lot more and a lot harder, and there are more ‘jams’ and competitions coming up.

A lot of the dancers and bboys here have the wrong idea. They blame the small scene on there not being enough sponsors or supporters. When we started in Korea, we had no sponsors or supporters either. Once we were at a really good level, we got more sponsors because they couldn’t believe what we could do.

Youngkwang Joung aka Bboy Blond

Is this the same for the world scene?
There’s a big difference now. When I started bboying, there wasn’t anything like YouTube which has made a big difference! Back then we had the internet, but not many videos, so it was hard to see what the rest of the world was doing at the time. I remember when I started to practice hopping air flares and I watched a Freestyle Session video with Bboy Ruen, I had never seen him before and I was in shock. This guy was doing the same thing I was! These days, you can watch anything on YouTube and see what this guy or that guy is doing all over the world – it’s easy to get inspired.

What do you think of dancers pushing to get sponsorships and trying to make a life of dancing?
You can find so many good dancers and bboys online. If these sponsors look at them, and then look at you – why would they sponsor you if you’re not at the highest level? Why would they give you money, or products, or clothes when they could give that to someone who can represent them better? Don’t blame sponsors for not supporting you if you won’t improve yourself first. Some seem to think if they got a sponsor they would automatically improve. Red Bull sponsors an ‘All-Stars’ team and you can see why – they’re amazing! A lot of dancers think they’re bigger than what they are.

It’s harder in Australia because we’re not so well known here, but it doesn’t mean you can’t work on your name and image here. Sure it would be good if you can go and represent internationally, but if you can’t because of money or some other reason, then work on your name in your home country. If you’re out there winning every competition, people will know you. I haven’t seen someone like Bboy Rush dance, but he has made his name big here that even I know him.

Stay tuned for part 2 of our interview with Bboy Blond, like us on Facebook so you don’t miss out! We chat with Blond on his time in the army, how he developes new moves, his advice to the younger generation of dancers and even marriage! But for now, enjoy a video showcasing Bboy Blond from our good friend, Frace Luke Mercado.

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INTERVIEW: Lucy Hope, fashion designer Unicorns in Love

In a land where the women are creatures, and friends are made with the ghosts of pets past, lives Lucy Hope …

Lucy Hope (right) with models wearing her collection.

In her own words, Lucy Hope takes wearable fashion to a whimsical place for anyone after a little magic in the everyday. With a keen eye for colour, pattern and texture, Lucy’s clothing range draws on her love and appreciation for all things art and design, and results in a proudly Australian one-of-a-kind collection you can’t take your eyes off! We chat to the Alice Springs-based designer to discover more about her fashion label and quirky style.

How did you get involved with fashion?
I never knew what I wanted to do at school. I enjoyed art and drama but had no interest for any other subjects. At 16 I left school to work in local fashion boutique, Mixed Lollies, where my eyes were opened to a world of fun and inspiring, art, fashion and design!

From that moment on I knew that my heart belonged to fashion: selling it, creating it, and buying it. I use to spend all my pay on designer clothes, shoes and bags and had to hide my mini addiction from my mum! I worked at Mixed Lollies for seven years, gathering ideas and skills that have helped me in my journey to becoming
a designer.

Where does your design inspiration come from?
All sorts of things inspire me: movies, music, books, people, other designers and more. I love fantasy movies such as Labryinth, Gremlins and The Dark Crystal, stories such as The Virgin Suicides, Lolita, The Lord of the Rings, and designers including Alice McCall, Lady Petrova and Alannah Hill. Often inspiration comes from something around you, and sometimes, it’s something from inside of you.

Describe your style.
I design very close to my own style. I like anything girly and sweet with a bit of a provocative twist such as wearing a full skirt of tulle with the tiniest of bra tops, or a summer dress that’s see through in the sun. I also like wearing things that make you feel like you’re from a different era or items you can pretend you’re a character from a movie or book in. I definitely theme dress, I like being a Unicorn Princess
right now!

Tell us about your latest collection ‘CASH’. What’s the story behind its development and inspiration?
CASH is loosely inspired by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. I hand painted its three prints myself which represent some of the best things about our country: fruit, flowers, and a 1950s silhouette. I designed the collection for the girl who goes to the fair in the day and the bar at night – a small country town girl with big aspirations. The shapes are girly and quietly sexy.

Where do you start when developing a collection? Describe the
design process.

I’m always playing around with ideas and different stories, creating the collection in my head and the girl who’ll embrace it. I start doing some drawings a year in advance and develop them, change them, leave them for a couple of weeks and go back and do more tweaking.

I look at different fabrics for colour inspiration and look around my world for different print ideas. I always design very close to a theme and then worry about how someone is going to actually get themselves into the piece when I’m creating the samples – imagination is first, practicality comes second!

Once the samples are made, I fit them to a model, tweak them, and continue this process until they’re perfect. Then comes the fun part, the photo shoot. This is when the overall idea, look and feel of the collection comes to life.

Which other creative people/fashion designers do you admire
and why?

I love Alannah Hill’s ladylike day pieces and vamp evening cocktail dresses, Lady Petrova’s innocent, girly and lush designs, as well as Alice McCall’s free spirit and amazing prints. I also love Jane Birkin’s effortless French glamour and beauty, and the pin-up intrigue that is Bridgette Bardot, Farrah Fawcett, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and the Kadashians. I also love Blythe, a 70s fashion doll.

You’ve recently turned your business into a bricks and mortar store? What are the benefits of this and online shopping?
I have just opened up my boutique called Unicorns in Love. I was going to call the shop, Lucy Hope, but there are too many amazing labels out there to just stock my own pieces. Unicorns in Love is a celebration of the most beautiful things including like-minded designers and my own label, Lucy Hope.

As well as my own Lucy Hope label, I stock Lady Petrova, Fairground, Lime Crime, Keepsake, House of Wilde, Sretsis and other whimsical creations from small independent designers I love. There are a lot of great things about selling online and shopping online, but for me, nothing beats the magic of going into your local boutique, seeing all the pretty shop girls and trying on and experiencing beautiful fashion, fabrics and appreciating the store. You miss out on all that shopping online, it lacks that little bit of soul and charm you get
in store.

You’ve showcased your fashion pieces in Australian and the US. Is there a difference between the two industries?
I don’t see much of a difference because my customer is the same no matter where she’s from. She is girly, a little fickle, fashion forward, whimsical, romantic and doesn’t take life (or fashion) too seriously; she could be from anywhere or look like anyone. You just have to find your niche in a new place or country.

What’s one thing people don’t know about the fashion industry in Australia?
There are lots of things people don’t know about the fashion industry! I still find things out as I go along, but I think the main point is that people don’t realise how important it is to support local boutiques and stores.

The amount of great independent and local boutiques that I have known shut down around the country in the last 12 months is really scary and sad. Online shopping and mass market products really hurt the smaller labels. Even if you supported a small boutique online as opposed to buying into the cheap mass production, your money would be so much more appreciated.

What are you currently working on? What can we expect from you in the near future?
I’m working on my winter collection, ‘The Last Unicorn’. It’s full of magic, glitter, bold prints and sheer organza. It’s inspired by a 80s fantasy movie dream such as the scene where Sarah dances with the Goblin King in Labryinth. I’m also starting work on a small shoe collection and would one day love to design furniture, too.

What is it you love about fashion in general?
I love those moments you have in store, when there’s a dress that you’ve designed and you’ve put all your heart and soul into it, and then a girl comes in and makes a bee line for it and her face lights up. She tries it on and you can tell that you’ve made that dress for her and for that moment, when she falls in love and looks amazing in it!

www.lucy-land.com

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INTERVIEW – preview: Bboy Blond

As a bboy supporter, chatting with award-winning dancer Bboy Blond is a true highlight that brings intriguing discoveries and plenty of laughs.

With his original crew (Extreme Crew) he won the 2007 Battle of the Year and has since continued to impress the scene; recently taking out the 7 to Smoke battle at IBE held in Heerlen, Netherlands.

In this interview teaser, Bboy Blond tells us about his big move to Australia from Korea, Extreme Crew and SKB, his thoughts on the new generation of dancers and more. Full interview coming soon but, for now, enjoy the preview.

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