Moving Time!

… just a heads up to let you all know that we’re moving all most of our belongings in to the new studio today!

No photos again, i know, boring, but we will have lots more to show in a few days, including some construction pics of the first of 3 jewellers benches my dad and I have made.

Off to get the hire ute and one of today’s many, many, coffees.

Fashion smarts

Hey people, today is a home-day where I get to pack up my entire shed worth of stuff in anticipation of a removalist van arriving in the next day or two!

Our new space is painted, I have picked up about a million kilograms of lasts and shoe equipment from Dennis, we have desks, fridges, kitchen cabinets and lamps scattered all over the house and will be glad to see them gone from here and moved to their new home.

It looks green here, but the new colour dries quite dark and green/grey, like an old machinery shop!

So, seeing as I have an hour to slowly eat breakfast today, I’ve been online (of course) reading and scrolling through my Bookmarks tab, and came across this interview with Azzedine Alaïa where he talks a lot about the crazy seasonal cycle of fashion and how it is almost entirely built around marketing rather than a desire to make the best products possible. It will probably only interest a few of you out there, but I thought I’d pass it on as it resonates a lot with what I’ve been trying to sort out in my head (and on paper) lately in the lead up to launching a fashion-aware handmade brand.

I want to keep up with trends, I want to make things that work with current looks and colours, but I can’t see any way to pump out 2 ranges a year without compromising on quality or lifestyle… unless I bring in a load of workers, set up a production line and churn things out.

I’m hoping to find a balance between bespoke and seasonal ranges by perhaps releasing a new design every month or two, but even that might be a bit adventurous. I’m also aware that here in Australia we have the opposite climate to where the ‘fashion houses’ are, up there in the north, so it will also be hard to appeal to local and international clients if anything is too summer/winter oriented. Anyhoot, just some musing whilst I sit and wait for this coffee to kick in and the work to start up!

I’ll leave you with a few cut and paste quotes that I think sum up a nice and relaxed approach to the design of luxury goods that I hope to adhere to in the future.

“For more than a decade, Alaïa has premiered his collections at his own rhythm… He creates one collection per season. He doesn’t advertise; very few magazines are sent clothes to feature. He rarely gives interviews, and makes no public appearances. Everything Alaïa creates, he creates with his hands”

“Creativity should be the only concern. But today there is no time for creativity; nobody has time to develop a special silhouette or a special fabric. … Four collections for women, four collections for men, another four collections to sell, and everything needs do be done within four-five months — it’s a one-way course towards emptiness. It’s inhuman.”

“Maybe in July I will show other clothes, if I have the time to develop them. I refuse to work in a static rhythm. Why should I sacrifice my creativity to that? That’s not fashion, that’s industrial work. We can hire people to design all day long and then fabricate what they design and sell and sell and sell — but that has nothing to do with fashion”

“Also, people travel a lot today. Seasons are not what they used to be — we go skiing in the summer, swimming in winter. We don’t need to think in seasons anymore; we need to think about beautiful clothes.”

“…nobody can do a ton of great clothes. And Alaïa is expensive, like couture – it’s luxurious, like all high fashion brands. I don’t know why people in fashion don’t treat it as luxury anymore.”

So I think i’ll print a few of those out to form into some sort of mantra / ethos. That said, I also read that Tom Ford gets so much done because he refuses to talk about projects until they are completed… which is a rule I like, but makes the whole idea of blogging near impossible.

Finally these two bits make me feel more OK about being a bit OCD and staying up all night working on things or learning about something new:

“I begin at 9 am and I go to bed around 2am, sometimes around 3am. I sleep little.
Four or five hours of sleep — is that enough time to develop a dream?

I don’t waste time when I sleep.”

What have you learned today?
The day is not over yet. But I promise you I learn something new every day. And I want to try to keep it that way, until the day I die.”

So there you have it, I learned something new today – I also found someone new to aspire to be like, and thankfully that someone is successful.

Off to the (cold) shed to start lifting, and dragging, and lifting, and dragging….. until it gets dark.

We’re in! {trumpet fanfare}

We got the keys to our new space yesterday… so it’s all happening now!
Unfortunately there still isn’t much ‘blog worthy’ content to post, but I do have a few photos of the space as it is at the moment, and a shot or two of the mini VIP party that we had last night.

This will be the ‘workshop’… the wall between the two doors will be all bookshelving.

Workshop. The corner directly opposite in this photo will be an enclosed machinery room.

The shop! the white wall on the right will be removed so you can see the workshop in action.

The corner where the kitchen will be. There will be an illuminated wall separating shop and kitchen

A blanket, some fairy lights, an mp3 player, beer and 17 bags of chips = studio picnic party!
Apologies to anyone in the building who heard Phil Collins echoing around the hallways at 11pm….

This morning I drove down to Geelong with my dad to remove, disassemble and bring back a groovy little 50’s kitchen from a house that is being renovated (thankyou eBay), and so with a mini hangover, and tired arms from cutting and moving 150 bits of wood for our shelving wall yesterday I’m off to lay on the couch for the afternoon. I keep forgetting that humans need rest some time!

So, the next 2 weeks will be mental. We have to move, um, EVERYTHING in to the space, and then, you know, make it all nice.

We will have a launch party in a few weeks time, so check back here, or find us on Facebook or stand outside the door until we open it and we’ll see you there!

Wooden it be nice…

… to have a sleep in?

Up at 7am this morning to receive our delivery of 170 linear meters of reclaimed floorboards from the guys at Urban Salvage. If you need timber, with character and nail holes that ISN’T rotten or bowed to the bejesus, they’re the guys for you.

We also picked up some MASSIVE slabs of 40mm thick Blackbutt (hehe) to begin work on the custom hardwood jewellers desks that my dad is going to whip up. They will weigh over 100kg. They will be awesome.

We have also won a few eBay auction bargains, including an entire vintage kitchen that I’ll be off to Geelong to remove and transport back to the city this weekend. Too easy, instant retro.

A day trip to Castlemaine on the weekend netted us some great little antique tools and goodies, and Dani bought herself some super sharp brass scissors. Like cutting with lasers, but they’re scissors.

We get the keys this Friday, so expect a flurry of photos once we’re in… I should see if there’s a way I can post to this blog from my phone, so it’s less of a chore whilst we’re covered in sawdust and wearing overalls.

We also have some quotes onboard for logo and branding design, so that is verrrry exciting. Expect a website / blog overhaul in the coming weeks.

And on a final note, DI$COUNT have opened their store. Its insane. Is blinding. Its brilliant (in every sense of the word). I have already ordered a controversial spelling mistake tshirt that is on it’s way! Buy something if you can. In a year or two they’ll be the new McQueen / Westwood and you will regret not getting on board before everything sold out to GaGa, Beyonce and Rhianna.

Work to do, see you soon!

Getting closer…

Another quick burst of typing before I go to bed (new Harpers arrived in the mail today, time to reeeeead and scalpel out the good bits).|
*update: there were no good bits. boring this month. everyone’s saving for the September issue.

Today we met with our new accountant, and seriously, a dozen high fives will be given to Anika and Leigh for hooking us up with their ‘arts focussed’ accounting firm. My god, one hour of talking to Gianna and we were finally for the first time EVER actually confident about the possibility of making profit AND somewhat interested in using MYOB for something more than another desktop icon. Hurrah. Tax deductions here we come!

We also visited Urban Salvage and put a hold on a sh*tload of old floorboards, which will be used to line almost the entirety of one wall of the studio in reclaimed timber shelves for me to display my collection of lasts and half-made shoes on. Woo!

We also drew up and priced the plans for 3 (count ’em) hardwood, fully equipped jewellers desks that I’m going to build asap.

On that note we have now decided that the workshop space will be offered to pretty much only jewellers (or small, bench work oriented craftspeople, watchmakers? etc) as we are going to divide the non-shoemaking side of the room in to 3 equal sized zones with one central polishing / stamping etc. area.
It just seems like there’d be too many variables and not enough room to offer the spaces to someone like me, who will need to spread out and stack leather or wood or fabric everwhere. Jewellers are easier to deal with. I hope.

The spaces will be offered as available from August 1. Not sure of the price exactly, but as I mentioned earlier, $150 a week-ish will get you a complete workspace, desk, other desk, shared machinery, kitchen and the option to stock your work in the shop and be sold online / hyped up by us. Being only a small crew we’ll be also choosing people who we get along well with, no room to hide in here! Will post more details soon.

So, work tomorrow, then full steam ahead with carpentry as of Friday. Then we get the keys. Then we panic. Then we move in.


Ps. Some other VERRRRY exciting news regarding a collaboration between myself and an awesome jeweller (not Dani) came to light this week. No need to jinx it now, but when it happens, you’ll know about it – it will be the start of a string of Steve vs. Someone Else Awesome shoes.

More info

Shoe equipment deal is done, money to change hands next week! So damn awesome.

Studio Lease is locked in, signing the paperwork next week.
I have already recreated the whole new space in CAD and planned the entire layout. Neeeerd.

So it’s official, we will soon be returning to our old ‘hood, and setting up shop in the Nicholas Building, corner of Swanson St and Flinders Lane, above Alice Euphemia.

Stage 1 is to move in, set up the workshop, get some tenants. (July)
Stage 2 is branding, making some stock, getting suppliers and launching a super new online store. (Aug-Sept)
Stage 3 will be the whole physical retail fitour, and of course making a bajillion things to stock in there. (Sept-Nov)

All this and more to be done by Christmas, no more lazy weekends for us… save your pennies kids, and shop local!

Photos to come when we get the keys.

Mini updates for a few weeks

So much going, not enough time to prep big juicy blog posts!

us this morning, not sure who that guy on the left is, didn’t notice him being there when we took the photo.

Update for today :

1. Spoke to my shoemaker connection, agreed on a price to buy a lifetime of shoemaking equipment, lasts and knowledge (well, as much as I absorb in 6 months)

2. Heading in to the city now to meet the real estate agent, shake hands and measure up our new workshop.

3. Spoke to the bank, wheels in motion to secure a fat loan for a fitout and branding etc.

4. Had coffee with Dani, discussed speedily all the possible collaborations, hookups and fun ideas we can implement when we have a shop

5. Will begin some leather accessories today (iphone cases etc) to stock in the shop for people with a little less cash to spend.

Next up, web redesign, insurance, heaters, artworks, signage, find people to share the space.

We will be looking for 2 other craftspeople who are established and/or serious about their craft to work with us.
$150ish a week rent, we’ll provide desks and machinery. Comes with the oppurtunity to stock in the store if your product suits the vibe.
If you know of any shoemakers, milliners, jewellers, bag / scarf / sock / lingerie makers who might be suitable, or this sounds like you,  please email us at

Rare times

… I’m excited! (If you were to ask my wife or family, they’d tell you that’s a rare thing for old “nothing fazes me” Steve.)

Today has brought LOTS of promising developments, none of which are locked in as yet, but if it all goes as planned we could be in a FULLY EQUIPPED workshop, in the heart of the city, with enough shoe lasts to last me a lifetime in a matter of weeks. Shit yeah.

I wont jinx myself by blabbing on about the details, but when it’s locked down, you’ll be the first to know (or the second, depending on how often you read this blog).

Bring it on!

Nerida’s Spicy Wedges

Double posting madness – Part 2… 2 in one day!

Nope, this isn’t another recipe post for some sort of Potato dish… this one’s all about the shoes baby!

As mentioned earlier, I took on a commissioned job to make some ‘fashion forward’ shoes for a lovely gal by the name of Nerida King who is currently studying textile design at RMIT. Her semester’s project entailed her hand-weaving these awesome Guatemalan inspired fabrics and then justifying their usefulness in the modern world by applying them to a sale-able product (other than another satchel or tea towel).

Her idea was to make some shoes, and luckily for both of us she had a friend recommend this here “oh, I can make anything from anything” shoemaker with a penchant for woven fabrics and unusual shoes. A perfect match it  seems!
The second idea was to use a digitally scanned and printed example of her fabric to increase its commercial viability… no one is going to hand weave enough fabric to make a whole range of shoes in this day and age it seems, so why not embrace the new technologies on offer and merge the old and the new?

So, we met in a cafe, I (probably) overwhelmed her with enthusiasm, and we traded some emails, sketches and fabric scans until we came up with this design as chosen for prototype #1.

I acually made 2 rough and quick prototypes first, of 2 differing designs, but this one had the most appeal.

To make the deadline of a Sunday morning photoshoot I got to work on making these over a 2 day period and had them ready and waiting to dry out by Saturday lunchtime. Still a little slower than i’d like to be, but quick enough to make this whole handmade shoes idea profitable for me in the long run.

Here’s the pics (there’s a lot, so they’re small, click em for maximum big-ness) :

patterns and pieces…

insole shaping and wrapping

digital printed cotton (turned out not as black as she planned, but it was fine for this task)

fabric and cotton pieces ‘laminted’ to a leather backing, and wrapped / piped edges applied.

construction! what a mind bender this was… zips, compound curves, 6 layers of material! ouch.

…coming together now.

I decided to add a yellow collar to the design for some ‘pop’. Artistic license was taken.

assembled and lining added.

makin’ wedges.. Cut ’em out, stack ’em up, sand them down.

… and there you go. curvaceous wedges, a dusty half hour later.

wrap those babies up in suede. Very profesh looking. Then I lasted the uppers.

Lasted, taking shape, 11pm. Happy Steve.

adding the wedges… the design we chose has a fancy upper-wrapped-wedge feature.

…cut a channel for the leather to nest into. wrap and glue it.

Add in some ‘socks’ with my pre-logo logo on them (new official logo is almost done btw!)

All done! Looking fuckin’ ace.

detail shots… check the (intentionally) unmatched upper patterns. Beautiful huh?

Contrast CENTRAL. Smooth/Rough, New/Old, Plain/Patterned. We’ve got it all covered. 

The outsoles are a bit of a let down i must admit… but there were going straight to an outdoor photoshoot, so I decided against spending another hour sanding and lacquering them only to have it destroyed a day later.

All in all a TOTAL success. So, keep your ear out for Nerida’s name in the near future…
I think this will be the start of a few more collaborations over the coming years, not that i’ve discussed that with her! Nerida? Is that ok?


Double posting madness, Part 1…

As you may remember me mentioning a few weeks ago (he says, confidently assuming people read AND remember everything he types on here) we went to my relative’s farm in rural NSW for the weekend. This provided us with many ‘firsts’, most notably being Dani’s first chance to pick up and hold a week old lamb in a paddock, after jumping from the back of a ute to open a gate. So very chic.

The second ‘first’ of the weekend was the chance for us to get our hands on a few kilos of freshly picked Kalamata olives, straight from the tree, for free! There are a wide variety of trees on my uncle’s land, and it just so happens that he planted a few olive trees back in the day for shade… and now they’re bearing fruit in large amounts.

So, Dani being the true italo-australian she is, grabbed a bag and spent half an hour stripping the tree bear of every juicy olive on there.

I’m aware that some of these are green/black/not kalamata…
there was a second tree that we grabbed some from for a sample of what they’ll taste like

We brought them home and decided to f0llow the pickling recipe that we picked up from the “Rose Creek Estate” – a small traditional Italian farm, that is suprisingly nestled in the heart of Keilor. Bizarre, I know, but they had some of the best olives i’ve ever tasted and were handing out the recipe to anyone who asked.

So,  following the recipe, we soaked the olives in fresh water, changing it each day, for 10 days.
This process seemed to leach most of the bitterness from the fruits (and boy were they bitter at the start), I’m guessing by replacing the water content that was provided by the tree, with fresh, less bitter water?

After that, we made a brine of 100g of salt to 1 litre of water, which is salty, i tasted it, it was salty.

Then its just a matter of popping all the olives in sterilised (boiling water rinsed) jars, with garlic, lemon slices, some oregano and chilli, and filling em up with brine.

Of course I underestimated how many jars we’d need, so now we have some odd sizes here and there, but you get the idea.

These now sit in a dark area for 6 – 8 weeks to get fully salt-ified, and then its just a matter of eating them all.

We are planning the annual salami making day this year to be in July, so by the time the olives are cured, the salami will be good to go, and August is looking like it will be antipasti central around here!

** We will be sending out invites to people who have expressed a genuine interest in learning the salami tricks over the last year for a special Sunday session where you make your own and pick them up later on, so if you are reading this and are all “damn, i wish i could make salami” then email us and we’ll invite you along! **