Anyone who has spotted you around Brisbane before will know that you have a very well-honed aesthetic when it comes to dressing. Where do you source your clothing from, and how would you describe your personal taste?
I would say that my personal taste encompasses comedy, tragedy, pain, vaudeville, tenderness, cruelty… in that order, depending on the day. I feel like a Beckett character, standing in front of my wardrobe every morning, surrounded by beautiful clothes, paralysed by choice, awaiting some divine intervention. The time I have wasted staring at outfits, being unable to decide what to wear, well… it is literally embarrassing. Vladimir and Estragon have nothing on me!
As for shopping, the team at Fallow are doing a great job, and I love the women at Camargue. Actually, I have asked Camargue’s Shan Bauer to marry me a couple of times, but she resists. Maybe I need to spend more? I am still mourning the closure of my favourite store, Atelier (New York)—an inspiration and influence.
As the senior book buyer for QAGOMA and the man behind the galleries’ stores, what has it been like to work at a place where books and visual culture mingle?
Working in books has afforded me not only the opportunity to meet the most interesting people, forging many close friendships, but an enlightened education beyond my wildest dreams. From artists to circus performers, poets to boxers—the most interesting people love books. The enthusiasm to learn is one of life’s most interesting attributes. You’d be surprised who frequents bookshops (and who doesn’t for that matter).
I am a very unambitious person; nothing is planned. I seem to just fall into things. Starting work in a bookstore for the first time was one of the best things I ever did! My world expanded ten-fold.
What is your relationship to fashion; self-loathing, or self-expression?
Self expression. I am one of those people that loves to swan around under the illusion they look good. Actually, if I saw myself in the street I would think ‘who is that pretentious wanker?’ It’s amazing how one’s ego deludes oneself to keep the ball rolling…
Where do you look for inspiration on matters of style?
When Van Halen released their first album, and David Lee Roth came out in a shirt 2 sizes too small, unbuttoned of course, leather pants and chunky boots, I knew I had found my aesthetic. I thought—I can do that when I grow up. I am still trying! Add into the mix Gaultier, Yohji, CDG, Kiss, the New Romantics, heavy metal, Goths… shake it all up and you have my style.
One hero is the Yul Brynner character in The Magnificent Seven. Dressed in black with a black hat. So cool and calm under pressure.
My father thinks I dress like a homeless person. The truth is he is not far off! I often study homeless people and their outfits, and am many times inspired by their creativity. Out of necessity comes an honesty and purity in design.
What is your most treasured dress-related object or memory?
I buy most of my clothes online. The strange thing with ordering from the internet is the anticipation on receiving outweighs the owning. The excitement of opening a new package soon dissipates and I am left wondering—what’s next? So I would say my most treasured item and memory remains my next purchase.
Give us three words, people or places you associate with Queensland fashion…
The beauty of hot weather is the exposure of the body. And Queensland has an abundance of both. I believe the body is the most powerful fashion statement. Size and shape don’t matter, as long as you have confidence. No outfit will look good unless you feel good inside. There is nothing more powerful and beautiful than a confident naked body. So as a person who would take their clothes off at the drop of a hat, let’s say:
Sun, body, confidence.
Is there such a thing as a distinct Queensland style?
No. Through my travels people in the Western world dress eerily similar. Like anywhere there are niches of brilliance and individualism, but on the whole there is a sameness that is reflected by the giant retail chains.
Published in Issue 12, on April 8, 2014.