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The Ultimate Novelty Store: Fatboye Group

In the last couple years, starting a venture has become very much en vogue. A double degree, a social conscience and a job with a corporate giant no longer cuts it. Just ask Fatboye Group’s Nikki Diaz, Kristina Iantchev and Jane Lu, high school friends who saw a missing link in a market now dominated by street style and decided to go ahead and start a new concept store. Now stocking more than 50 emerging designers and artists, Fatboye connects those looking for something fresh with those who create something fresh and has become a breath of fresh air in a market saturated by the pop-fashion heavyweights. Fatboye is located at the Arthouse Hotel and is best described as a designer novelty store, with everything from underwear to artwork to quirky books and designer dog biscuits. We caught up with Jane to find out what it is that drives them forward and how the young entrepreneurs make it happen…

Effortless Elegance: Secret Squirrel

There’s something undeniably charming about Sydney’s grassroots fashion labels. You can almost sense the cautious dedication that has gone into each and every stitch, cut and fabric choice, and the fervent passion required to start a business in one of the most cutthroat industries is admirably compelling. Secret Squirrel is one such label that Sydney can be proud to call its own, which humbly started at a market stall about five years ago. Its collections prove that fashion need not be extravagant to be beautiful, with simple cuts and prints that emit a yearning appeal and result in easy, effortless style. We spoke to the label’s founders, Andrew Prince and Bri Cheeseman, about discovery, timelessness, and really f’ing hard work.

Captain of Entertainment: Justin Heazlewood (aka The Bedroom Philosopher)

Justin Heazlewood, or as he is known in more polite circles, The Bedroom Philosopher, isn't just a funny guy on the streets. He’s a regular contributor to Frankie. magazine, where he never shies away from baring the oh-so-relatable (and, at times, cringe-inducing) moments of his life for our entertainment, and his comedy show, Songs from the 86 Tram, won a 2010 Green Room Award (which is apparently a Melbourne thing for performer types) and even spawned an offshoot album. If you’re an FBi or Triple J listener you’ll almost certainly have heard the single Northcote (So Hung Over) during the past few weeks. Like most things that come out of this guy’s head, it is seriously f’ing funny.

Justin’s first foray into the world of entertainment began in his hometown of Burnie in Tasmania, where at the fresh age of 15 he won the populist vote at his high school talent quest for a satirical examination of Home & Away. His classmates loved it – the judges, however did not. After being typecast as the gay / bisexual / naked guy in pretty much every play put on by Canberra Uni, Justin finally tasted success in 2000 with a set that included an acoustic rendition of Rockafella Skank. Most notably, Justin holds the world record for the continuous performance of John Farnham’s “You’re The Voice”.

In light of his upcoming Sydney show, Justin sat down with Side Street Sydney and responded politely to our grilling.

Photography Plus Soul: Lyn & Tony

Walking into the home and workspace of photographers Lyn & Tony, you know immediately that you are in a place where life is looked upon through a different viewfinder than the one held by most of the outside world. Partners in life and creativity for 15 years, the two seem to share a presence that sits quietly between them, but whose energy conspicuously radiates with an irresistible imagination. It is this joint force that is responsible for Lyn and Tony’s apparently endless list of creative ventures, which starts in fashion photography and makes its way through branding, creative direction, art, installation and, most recently, accessories design. Devoting equal passion to each project is what has enabled them to pursue (and, unquestionably, succeed) at each endeavour – that and a staunch commitment to the trade in which they happen to be working within at any given moment.

Karen magazine

Grand Social

Elegy on The Bard

If Shakespeare had been born in ‘83
In Parramatta or Bankstown; not Stratford ‘pon Avon
We’d call him Ill Will and we’d be bobbin’ our heads
To the beats and the rhymes and white boy thoroughbreds

Fatima is drinking her sleeping potion
A secret lover, awaits; a family undone
But Judah is fooled by a cleric and a mother
His story untold. Death in Gaza, what’s another?

Frankenpenis Bobbit had a hard-core wife
Her hands, blood dripping; a moment won
Her domestic coward, he’s her tabloid star
Got crucified, porno-phied. He’s drivin’ big black cars.

The fairies and queens on Oxford Street
Take a pill and dance; a boy called Bottom.
Monday waking from a Saturday dream
A suit, silk tie, just another dude on the team.

words: Kristen Hodges

Social Butterflies in Flight

photo from Sweaty Betty's 6th Birthday party

Pier Street, Darling Harbour

photos: Lisa Zhu

On Everybody's Lips: Bloodwood

Everyone’s talking about this new restaurant, Bloodwood, on Newtown’s King Street. That’s because they ain’t no fools.

Stumbling across Bloodwood is better than a finding out your dad knows the CEO of Hermés, who’s kindly offering you a cost-price handbag. Bloodwood is exciting, beautiful and relaxed, and most importantly, it’s just the right amount of refined. After all, Newtown has more cheap eats coming out of its dreadlocks than dust mites during spring, and while sometimes you just want a quick $10 bowl of pasta, there are those nights when you want a high-flying dining experience. Bloodwood is not a student restaurant; it’s an aperitif and tasting plate kind of joint. Dinner for two will set you back roughly $100, depending on how greedy you are and/or whether you are a lush.

Tiah, Tats and Terry: Patrick Delaney

Ex-model Patrick Delaney is more than just a pretty face. Sure, his chiseled cheekbones, pouty lips and sweet tats have seen him work with some of the biggest names in fashion, including Hedi Slimane, Terry Richardson and Marc Jacobs. So sitting at Crown Street’s Kawa café, day-lit haunt of Surry Hills’ hipsters, every one of my insecurities should have been twisting about inside of me like vines turned green with envy. But who could hate him? He’s humble, sincere, has more values than a real estate’s display window, and could probably charm the pants off of ‘never-nude’ Tobias Funkhe. Recently, he and his wife Tiah Eckhart relocated to Sydney from their home in New York to raise one genetically blessed baby girl – the adorable Finley. I caught up with Patrick to find out about his fast rise to success in the cut-throat world of male modeling.

Not Just a Rock Band: The Stabs

From a group of self declared “good-for-nothings” with an appetite for onstage havoc to a constantly gripping live act, The Stabs' story has been enthralling to watch over the past six and a half years. Following the 2003 formation of bass player Mark Nelson, guitarist Brendan Noonan and drummer Matt Gleeson, the Victorian threesome have carved out a well defined and distinctive niche for themselves in Australia’s music scene.

Following three vinyl single releases and two sold out pressings of their much loved 2005 debut album, Dirt, The Stabs have gone on to play support act to the likes of Mudhoney, the late Rowland S Howard, The Scientists and Lubricated Goat. Last year saw them gain further success, taking part in the inaugural Australian All Tomorrow's Parties festival at the request of curators Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, as well as playing to overseas fans in New Zealand and Asia and touring for the first time throughout Malaysia and Taiwan.

Creativity without Boundaries: ICE

For those who are creatively minded, art manifests itself into their very existence, and unlike their racial, cultural or class identity, it is a characteristic that is spread consistently; without boundaries, barriers or inherent social connotations. Parramatta’s Information and Cultural Exchange (ICE) is an organisation which celebrates exactly that element of creativity and the cultural divides that it has the power to break down. The programs that fall under its mission statement prove that artistic expression can enable innate differences to transgress from areas of conflict into infinitely beautiful bodies of work.

As the home to the largest migrant, refugee and urban Indigenous populations in the country, ICE proudly works across Greater Western Sydney to engage the region’s residents with their lingering creativity. As the ICE’s director Lena Nahlous explains, ICE is all about creating a space and an opportunity for diverse communities to develop skills and tell their stories. After all, there are two million people in Western Australia alone, so the potential talent arising from the area is undoubtedly priceless.

There are so many important creative experiences and stories to be told that come out of diversity. There is a certain level of depth within the people and their interaction within this space,” she says. “The people in this area don’t have as much access to the equipment, contacts, or opportunities in the film, music and design industries, and the idea is that because Western Sydney is predominantly working class, the people here don’t want to enter those industries. But this just leads to a lack of diversity within the media industry, and the stories that end up coming out don’t represent Australia as a whole. We work with people who have these stories to tell, and they will have the greatest impact on the world and the way people think if they tell them. Take the refugees, for example – most of the time they have been persecuted because of their art.”

Sydney, Discovered: 52 Suburbs

Sydney is a city that far exceeds the picture-perfect postcard images that have come to distinguish it, and those of us who have branched out past the confines of its tourist route know that its stereotypical beauty can almost tend to sell the city short. Louise Hawson’s photographic project, 52 Suburbs, reaches into Sydney and grab out its essence – in the form of its people, its buildings and its landscape – and exhibits it through images that are at once both stunning and revealing. In the process of rediscovering her residing city, Louise has chosen to let everyone in on the ride as well, a decision that is both inspiring and motivating. After a flick through 52 Suburbs, the chances are likely that you’ll want to go for a drive when you next have some spare time and bring that travel bug home.

"A Seagull's Worst Nightmare", Brighton Le Sands

"All Roads Lead to Heaven", Ingleside

Sunnies & Shoes

photo: Margaret Sevenjhazi

Dick Street, Chippendale

photo: Lisa Zhu

Spreading Beauty: White Rabbit Gallery

The end of summer inevitably means rainy days ahead, and rainy days often end up becoming expensive days, which usually just end up being sad days. But thanks to the folks behind White Rabbit Gallery, they don’t have to turn out that way. In fact, they can be full of tea and beautiful things. Bliss.

The gallery opened last year by the Neilson family and exhibits their collection of post-2000 Chinese art in a stark white four-storey space in Chippendale. Residing on a tranquil street that contrasts sharply with its bustling neighbours, it’s the perfect location to quietly contemplate art. With free admission and only a fraction of the 450-piece collection on display at any one time, you can find peace, quiet and inspiration time and again without déjà vu setting in. And if that isn’t sufficient motivation to make the gallery a regular habit, then maybe the monthly film club and free events (martial arts lessons, anyone?) will do the trick.

Styling Nostalgia: Kashi Mai Somers

Ed note: we normally don’t like to run too many Q&As, but this week we had to make an exception. You see, some of us have been a little busy launching Oyster’s new website, so the only thing we’ve really had the time to write is directions to the nearest chemist. Sorry.

Within the styling world, the range of aesthetics is vast, and each publication manifests its own with precise clarity. Somewhere in this beautiful abyss sits frankie magazine, and its corner of the visual landscape is clean, nostalgic and unassuming – a formula that tends to create just the right combination of longing and comfort. Aside from its fantastic written editorial, its fashion pages have their very own unique place in the industry, which is a desirable characteristic for any publication.
One such stylist who has worked across the mag and landed in its style section relatively recently is Kashi Mai Somers, whose vision appears to have been made for the mag – a sentiment which was all the more confirmed after we sat down with her for a little chat about her world.

Noise Pop, Mate: Kitchen's Floor

Amongst the masses of bands emerging from the basements and warehouses of Brisbane and crawling around the East Coast of Australia, Kitchen’s Floor's sound is one of contradictions. Swinging from uproariously fast lo-fi to droning fuzzy noise-rock, they move from a lazy crawl to a driving amplified sprint with alarming panache and regularity. All the while, they’re genre hopping from garage-punk to pop to grunge. This musical breadth is captured perfectly on their debut album, Loneliness Is A Dirty Mattress, which is imbued with their myriad sonic guises and multiple personalities that in a live forum prove an equally compelling experience. On the verge of their upcoming 7” launch and preparations for their forthcoming album, lead singer and guitarist Matt Kennedy spoke with Side Street, Sydney.

How would you describe your sound to an audience that may be unfamiliar with your music?
It’s the sound of three fuck ups from Brisbane with little to no musical talent trying their darn hardest to play pop music in their own little way. I’ve been caught off guard with this question a few times by people who don’t really give a shit and I just say ‘noise pop, mate’.

Literary Guidance: Kat Hartmann

If there is one thing we’ve learned since we started this writing project, it’s that independent publishing in Sydney kicks ass – we don’t really need to make it sound too flowery. From magazines such as Oyster, Yen and Russh to the plethora of online sites devoted to telling stories, the passion the people in the industry have for their chosen profession is glorious. If you happen to be in it, you know that the reason is because you can’t do anything else. You’ll chase opportunities until you become irritated with yourself, and when you get sick of that, you’ll create them yourself. You’ll put up with no money and no sleep to no end, all in the name of sheer adrenalin.
Kat Hartmann is a bit of a indie publishing veteran. As the founder of the online mag Kluster way back in 2005, she’s made sure her vision does not go unnoticed. She completed this little fill in the blank for us, and we tell you… we could not have said it better ourselves.

Hi, my name is… Kat Hartmann
And some of my projects include… Kluster Magazine, where I am co-founder and editor-in-chief. I am also Creative Sydney’s producer.
And other places I write for are… In print: The Australian and Yen. Online: The Blackmail and Creative Cities.

Off the Street: Ears

Local Sydney artist Ears, or Daniel O’Toole as his mum calls him, has been a mainstay of the street scene for years. His beautiful curling eyes and solemn, funny faces have adorned many a wall throughout the inner west and his work also pops up around a certain café in Paddington. Recently he’s turned to more studio-based pursuits and less late night city sojourns; more painter, less graff. Warm, friendly and scarily talented, we’d like you to get to know him a little more so you too can fall in love with his unique vision and feel the pull of those magnificent eyes. From his work, not his actual eyes. Although….
Right now, Ears is wrapping up an exhibition in San Francisco and heading east across the US. We tracked him down to see what makes this enviable artist tick.

I’m guessing you’ve had some pretty interesting moments late at night in dark alleys. Tell me about your hairiest & scariest?
Falling in a pit in an abandoned building off the side of a highway and nearly killing myself changed my invincibility complex a tad.

Autumn Florals

photo: Liya Dashkina

Phoenix Reminiscing

photos: Lisa Zhu

French Sugar: Tabou Restaurant

So you’ve left Paris behind you, you’ve gone back to work and moved on with your life…but sometimes, you still wake up craving those delicately presented desserts, those bubbly aperitifs and those rich mains. Of course, if you were a backpacker, you probably only remember the expensive beer and rude waiters. But no matter how your memories of Paris stack up, you will find a little of what you’re missing at Tabou in Surry Hills.

Of course, it’s not quite the same: the atmosphere lacks that dark, moody quality of French bistros that only cigarette smoke and poor lighting can bestow – but when it comes to the food, you’ll be transported back to those cobbled streets and grand avenues of the Lover’s City. The entrées and desserts are the delectable highlights, so if you can’t do three courses, then split them with your friends – you won’t regret it.

Men in Black: Beat Poet

We live our lives in black, but it doesn’t mean we have to be boring. Luckily, local designers Edward von Bertouch and James Johnson of Beat Poet are making sure of that. With each collection, the label combines a structured, tailored aesthetic with a sharp minimalism in a way that makes something about their designs inimitable. There is an energy in their collections that transcends the local space, giving their garments an international feel without compromising wearability in our unique climate. If there is a brand basic in a young Sydney man’s wardrobe, it's Beat Poet. With the seasonal shift in fashion from sweaty to chic, it seemed timely to catch up with the guys that are responsible for decking out the dashing beaus of our fair city.

Tell me how you got into designing?
Ed: I was increasingly interested in design and the business of fashion throughout my undergraduate degree at Sydney University. It was probably a chance to meet and talk with the late Mark Keighery that cemented my fascination with the industry and prompted me to enroll in the Melbourne School of Fashion following graduation.

James: I studied art in high school and went straight to design school when I finished that. The plan was to become a graphic designer and collaborate on a few cross-disciplinary side projects from time to time but I quickly got bored with the limitations of that path.

Simple Energy: Eddy Current Suppression Ring

Back in 2003, four average Australian guys who had met at their factory day jobs decided to start a band after a drunken jam session at a Christmas party. Paying homage to mid 70s proto punk and favouring a more straight forward, ragged sound, they successfully recorded a few singles and two fantastic albums, and even toured overseas – all to the praise of garage punk critics and fans alike. And yet the only thing more extraordinary about Melbourne’s Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s piercing guitar riffs and straightforward vocals is the ordinary character of the four men who write them. Mind you, that is hardly what anyone would consider a problem. A noteworthy part of Eddy Current Suppression Ring’s broad appeal and nearly unanimous critical acclaim is owed to their own disposition as run-of-the-mill type of guys. They may not be doing anything groundbreaking or particularly original, but that’s kind of the point.

We’re just average guys playing the type of music we always wanted to play,” says bassist Brad Barry. “It’s strange being considered established musicians – it’s even stranger having to try and be a public figure with stuff like interviews. We just try to keep ourselves grounded and try and show people where we came from and how far we’ve come.”

One Night of Insomnia

I think I should go to bed now. But I don’t want to go to bed! But I need to go to bed. I need to sleep more. But I have so much to do! But I need to go to bed. I’m going to bed.

I can’t sleep. I should have read. Maybe I’ll read. Wait, if I turn on the light, I’ll wake Boyfriend up. Maybe I should leave the room and get some work done. Then I’ll be tired tomorrow. Then I won’t go to the gym. I’m fat! I need to go to the gym! Okay, if I close my eyes long enough, I’ll fall asleep. Okay, breathing exercises, go: In… out. In… out.

In… out. In…-grits teeth.-…out. In…-mumble curse mumble curse.-… out. This isn’t fucking working. FUCK. This is fucked. Life is fucked. I want to die. You sleep when you die. I probably wouldn’t, though. I would probably be an insomniac in my grave. Is that limbo? That would suck. Those poor people in limbo.

Happy Chocolate Days to All xx

We're off on an Easter Egg Hunt.
Have a wonderful long weekend, lovely readers.
See you Tuesday xx

photo: Lisa Zhu

Fashion's Digital Masters: Pages Online

If print really is dead, then Pages Online is fashion’s reincarnation. It is the webzine for people who love magazines, and clicking through its pages of some of the most creatively liberated fashion editorial in the country makes the longing for the scent of paper subside a little. Created more than six years ago, Pages was a vision well before online became the norm, and it set the benchmark for every fashion publication attempting to compete in the digital domain. Showcasing high fashion at its most desired, Pages Online has proved that expensive taste has no viewing boundaries.

Side Street sat down with Pages’ market editor, Lucinda Constable, to find out a little more about the shoes behind the mag.

How did Pages Online begin?

Pages Online began from a desire by our Managing Director, Marnie Neck, to create something new and innovative in the realm of fashion and music. Something a bit different to the norm in publishing.

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