Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to frankie, The Monthly, Qweekend and Good Weekend. He has written for over 50 Australian and international publications (including The Australian Financial Review, The Big Issue, Smith Journal, Sunday Life, Crikey and Travel and Leisure: South East Asia) and has been anthologised in The Best Australian Essays twice. His debut book The Family Law (2010) was shortlisted for Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs). Gaysia, his second book, was published in 2012.

You grew up on the Sunshine Coast, so we’re assuming you have some good and/or bizarre stories about Queensland style. Tell us some…

Imagine, if you will, a family of scrawny Asian kids, living by the beach, even though none of them particularly like the ocean or know how to surf. Also imagine that they spent most of their youth dressed entirely in surf gear. It’s pretty inexplicable. But then again, so was ’80s and ’90s fashion in Queensland. Everything was mass-manufactured, ill-fitting, and not quite right.

You’re a freelance writer, so you spend plenty of time chained to your desk. How important is getting dressed for a day ‘at work’? Do you have a uniform?

Well, putting on pants is a start – the temptation is to work from bed in the briefs you slept in last night. (I’m actually composing these answers in exactly that outfit, in exactly that situation.) No uniform is required, but it’s usually April 77 jeans and an American Apparel tee. I’m not really too concerned about brands, but those two brands fit like a glove, and I know they’re not made with poorly-paid factory labour.

What is your relationship to fashion; self-loathing, or self-expression?

Look, I love clothes. People close to me are huge on it. My mother and sisters are pretty fashion-conscious, and my boyfriend is big on clothes – his family have a great eye for cut and style. It’s not about labels, but more about make. I used to get really anxious about shopping – I’ve got a size 28 waist and barely anything used to fit – but once I find clothes I dig, I sort of fall in love with them.

Where do you look for inspiration on matters of style?

I’m not averse to leisurely perusing the fashion pages of US GQ on the toilet. Because that’s the type of guy I am: classy.

What is your most treasured dress-related object or memory?

The most expensive thing in my wardrobe – a Rick Owens suit jacket – is something I just got to wear to my sister’s wedding. Worth it.

Give us three words, people or places you associate with Queensland fashion…

Thongs: any situation.

Is there such a thing as a distinct Queensland style?

Totally. It’s a mixture of bright colours and the important four-word mottot: “Whatever’s in the wardrobe.” Look, it gets hot up there.

Benjamin Law, growing up on the Sunshine Coast, ca. 1990s
Benjamin Law, growing up on the Sunshine Coast, ca. 1990s
Benjamin Law and chicken, 2010s
Benjamin Law and chicken, 2010s

Published in , on December 3, 2013.