Tag Archives: Interviews

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.

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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 – 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.

Stay ‘in the know’ with the latest news via our Facebook and Twitter.

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July’s most popular posts

Fashion and design take gold in the race for July’s top posts on Ed & Ruby. For those that missed out, here are the favourite reads for the month of July. Enjoy!

1.We shared details of the highly anticipated collaboration between Nike Skateboarding and Levi’s. The collection is a mixture of sneakers and apparel, featuring an updated version of the popular Levi’s 511 Skinny.

2. The Minimalist is one of our latest online obsessions, so we caught up with owner, stylist and blogger, Leah Robins, to learn more about her eye-catching collection of designer homewares for those that relish a minimal décor with a pop of colour! We got Leah’s opinion on the Australian design scene and the details of her latest ventures. 

3. Photographic artist, Cate Legnoverde, shares her vintage inspired art with us. In this interview, we discovered her inspirations and invaluable advice for up and coming Aussie artists.

Nike SB x Levi’s Collection

The Minimalist Store

Cate Legnoverde

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Interview: Chris Lebon, Brothers Apparel

In their own words, Brothers Apparel is ‘in a class of its own.’ It seems the family that designs together, stays together in this soon-to-be dynasty that promotes comfort and style all in the one outfit. The label was founded by the Lebon Family, four Melbourne brothers, and is all about being simple yet unique with your wares. Using premium materials for long-lasting everyday outfits, they’re turning the idea of what’s dressy and what’s casual on its head. Chris Lebon chats to us about the label.

It’s often said, ‘you should never work with your family’. Why is Brothers Apparel the exception?
For most cases it’s true — you shouldn’t work with family but, what sets us apart, is we all have something to bring to the business and we’re very family oriented. So, even if we all did something separate, each brother would be there to help if it was needed. The best thing about running the business with your family is that we’re not afraid to express ideas freely, and you always know you can rely on your family.

Brothers Apparel (left-right) Matt, Chris, Vince and Nick

Describe the label’s style?
Effortlessly stylish. We’re a very causal brand with pieces consisting of ‘urbans’ (tracksuit pants) and hoodies. Despite being ‘casual,’ all our pieces are innovative and fashion forward, putting us in a class of our own.

Has there always been an interest in fashion within the family?
Definitely! With four boys in the family all with their own swag, it was difficult to not be interested. A big influence also came from the second oldest brother, Vince, who has been in the women’s shoe industry for many years, and has also launched his own show label ‘Rollie’.

Which designers inspire you?
A lot of the premium women’s labels such as Sass & Bide, Shakuhachi and UK brand allsaints really excite me with what they’re bringing to the world of fashion. With their bold colours and eccentric designs and contrast, it’s something that I’d like to incorporate in each season for brothers, too.

You’re known for your stylish tracksuit pants. What makes them such an essential item to the man’s wardrobe?
It’s definitely the comfort factor and the ability to wear them for any occasion. It’s great to see people wearing them to parties and even night clubs — it’s what makes these pants so great, they can replace cargos, jeans or chinos, only difference is — they’re more comfortable!


Alex Perry himself gave the ‘nod of approval’ to your track pant designs. What was that like?
It was at this point that I realised, I really had a great product and it was just a matter of waiting for retailers to give it a chance. Being 18 years old at the time didn’t help convince retailers but, after meeting him, and then receiving a few emails from Alex himself, I was  determined to get the product out there and gain the support that I needed.

What’s the number one lesson you’ve learned in the industry?
To have a product that stands out from your competitors. The fashion industry is so competitive you can easily fall behind.

What’s next for the label?
We will be releasing our anticipated 2012 winter collection this month. It will consist of our urbans, hoddies and sweaters. It’s full of colour and contrast. We’re also working on some really cool tees for mid year, too.

What’s your advice for aspiring fashion designers planning to launch their own label?
Be fully prepared, and know what’s involved. Expect things to get hard but, in the end, it’s worth it.

Brothers Apparel can be found in all Globalize stores as well as online from May. Click here for full list of stockists.

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Interview: Fabian Scaunich, mosaic artisan

Fabian Scaunich is a Maestro Mosaicista (qualified mosaic artisan), the only one to have this distinct title in Australia. With his unique qualifications he founded Mosaic Republic — a boutique artisan gallery/studio specialising in the creation of authentic mosaic art. With each design, Fabian and his team are encouraging people to rethink their preconceptions of mosaics.

Why mosaics? What attracted you to this art form?

My parents are both Italian and immigrated to Australia in the 50s. I’ve always had a strong connection to all things Italian and, having spent many years holidaying, studying and working in Italy, mosaics have become a link to my Italian heritage. Also, I like the permanence of mosaics. I once witnessed the unearthing of a 2000 year old mosaic in Aquileia. The colours and condition of it were exceptional. I always imagine the story behind these creations. Who made them, what was the intention or symbolism behind them.

What are you currently inspired by?

Currently my works tend to explore the textural and tactile aspects of mosaic. I like the way light can interact with different materials and different angulations of ‘tesserae’ (individual units that make up the mosaic) to create light/shadow and how these can be used to create depth and lines.

You mention you’d like people to rethink their beliefs and perceptions of what a mosaic is and can be. What’s a common misconception you often come by? 

We’re not surrounded by the history of mosaics in Australia, so many people identify mosaic as the ‘Trencadis style’. This is a type of mosaic used in Catalan Modernism, it’s created from broken tile shards, pieces of ceramic and dinnerware, and was famously used by Antoni Gaudi. However, in Italy, France, Spain, Turkey, Mexico and Russia, each area has its own distinct style/technique. I wish to show the varied forms/styles of mosaic and its many applications in today’s context.

What is the best thing about your job?

I feel very privileged when given a commission as the mosaics will last for generations. For this reason, I consider it a ‘snapshot in time’ that I’m locking into a mosaic. Often the stories linked to the work are very private and personal.

“I’m not a fan of the disposable society
we live in today,
I prefer quality, craftsmanship and timelessness – a trait all good mosaics have.” – Fabian Scaunich

Describe your work space?

Currently, I work in two studios. One is in the middle of my mosaic gallery! It’s clean and organised and I draw inspiration from the works hanging around me. My other studio is more like a workshop where I can get down and dirty and play with cement, rocks and glass. I tend to always have music, but often when I mosaic, it’s like meditation for me and I tend to lose track of time and my surrounds.

What has been your favourite project to work on and why?

Given that it takes a good deal of time to develop, plan and complete a mosaic, it’s difficult not to get attached to them all! I did some restoration work on a mosaic that dated back to the early 1930s – just before WW2. I couldn’t help thinking about the artisans who made that mosaic – what motivated them to make this beautiful floor piece given that war was around the corner. It was nice to be able to restore this mosaic and lock in a little piece of my story (even though you cannot notice it, of course!)

What is the most important piece of advice you were given during your mosaic studies in Italy? 

I received a plethora of advice, tips, rules etc, but I find the one that constantly serves me well is to ‘keep it simple’. There are so many options/possibilities available to you when planning a mosaic and often people get carried away and want to add a million effects, materials, symbolism, etc.

What would be your dream project?

To make a mosaic the way Romans did. Their mosaic was originally planned (as flooring back then) at the time of designing a building. I’d like to work with an architect/designer and incorporate mosaic into the fundamental of a building design. This has been done in few buildings in modern times and the results have been outstanding.  Such buildings have become iconic structures, namely Antoni Gaudi’s Hundterwasser, Santiago Calatrava.

Mosaic Republic will be exhibiting and launching a new range of mosaic floors and feature walls for interior designers and architects at Decoration & Design, Melbourne Exhibition Centre, July 19–22.

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