Thursday evening saw the amalgamation of fashion and writing with the launch of LIFEwithBIRD’s new flagship store ‘Project 7’ and the simultaneous launch of Mitchell Oakley Smith’s debut title ‘FASHION: Australian and New Zealand Designers’.
After having opened their first LIFEwithBIRD flagship store in Melbourne’s GPO earlier this year, designers Nicholas Van Messner and Bridget McCall decided to dip their toes into a location Van Messner describes as being in the midst of a “change over”. He lists FAT and Gorman as other retailers shaking up the Brunswick St fashion scene.
“We were looking into another location in the area and waited six months to see if anything else came up…I guess this was a, what do they call it? Diamond in the rough” he says of the 264 Brunswick St, Fitzroy location.
“I love the big factory windows and the light beams in from the street. We love the idea of punching a stairwell through it.” The current interior is crisp, every inch of ceiling, floor, wall painted in a clean white. It is hard to conjure up images of the previous interior Van Messner describes.
Van Messner and McCall’s achievement as designers is one of the many examples featured in Oakley Smith’s book which profiles 70 reputable designers from Australia and New Zealand. One of the most interesting revelations Oakley Smith says he made during production was the work ethic of the designers being profiled, “working in their own stores on weekends” and going that little bit further.
Mitchell Oakley Smith is already beginning work on another title, and while Van Messner and McCall’s lease is only for 7 months, Van Messner says “we’re 90% sure we’ll keep it.”
Wise words by Taylor Kelly
Images courtesy label