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Interview with Director, Jono Cottee.
 
Words: Lauren King
 
 
Vanguard visionaries Jono and Sam Cottee fuse nomad with a hit of nautical in their latest collection, Good Morning Rucksack Wanderers. These summertime threads designed to invoke an alternative way of travelling and living based more on creativity than cold cash.
 
 
You used to be an architect. How do skills in this field influence the unique graphic prints synonymous with Vanguard?

On a purely technical basis, computer design skills developed in architecture enable me to create an object or scene in 3D rather than the traditional 2D that most graphic designers work with.  The design skills taught in architecture also push you to create design that has a purpose or meaning – more than say a photo of Kate Moss with a non-descript slogan across it for example.

Design principles of the new collection?

Our basic design principle is to create well designed, good fitting clothes for guys that don’t cost a packet and deflect the try-hard impression.
 
 

What should every bloke have in their wardrobe this spring/summer 2010/2011?
A good pair of denim shorts, some cool boardies and lots of basic tees.

What goes through the mind of the quintessential Vanguard advocate when he gets dressed every day?
I wonder what I will have for breakfast.

What won’t you catch him wearing?  
His girlfriend’s skinny jeans.

What won’t you catch him drinking?
Soy chai skinny latte.

 
 

Your latest collection is titled ‘Good Morning Rucksack Wanderers’.  Where are they travelling to and why are they going there?

The wanderer we are referring to encapsulates the freedom and spirit of a drifter – the emotions synonymous with travels bound by no destination. Or an impromptu summer road trip, or when a catch up drink with some friends turns into a night long celebration and BBQ breakfast. The Vanguard Rucksack Wanderer doesn’t know or care where they’re headed because they are not locked down to any sort of schedule.

 
 

What inspires you on a daily basis?
Photography at the moment.  I am loving images that perfectly capture a moment in time - explaining the entire story and exuding an emotional response in just one frame.  We try and design collections that create a similar response throughout our look-book and campaign imagery.

Where will (or won’t) Vanguard be in five years?
Who knows. The label is certainly not where we expected it to be five years ago - in a good way. Hopefully in a place that allows us to live a life like the drifters who inspire our collections.

 
 

Check out these iconic shots ready to represent VANGUARD in spring/summer 2010/2011, photography by Chris Proud. http://www.yoursuspensionofdisbelief.blogspot.com

http://www.vanguardfashion.com.au/

 
 
 
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The Kirin Big in Japan! event tours Australia
 
Words by Lauren King
 
 

All too familiar with shit ‘Made in Japan’, Aussies just inhaled a whole new side of the culture’s produce. Through the pipeline pointed Down Under recently emerged ‘Big in Japan!’ the avant-garde show designed to surface Japan’s dangerously talented underground while pushing summertime’s ultimate accomplice to fresh lime – Kirin.

In what was the biggest marketing push for Kirin in Australia to date, it made sense for the cool kids’ brew to buddy up with denim’s equivalent, Ksubi to create the brand-funded art initiative that this year added Melbourne to its list of ‘places to intrigue.’

Although the iconic term Big in Japan was originally strung from rock bands that failed to sell a decent number of records in the Golden Years that were the 1960s and 1970s – even though they were Big in Japan - the event is far from a plight to commercialise the profile of Kirin. Much like the inimitable distress, daring palette and unforgiving fit definitive of Kusbi that ensure not every man and his ‘bitch’ are rocking the get-up, Kirin is pretty content with keeping it niche for now. 

 
 

“The Big in Japan concept is a play on words which recognises that Kirin is a massive brand in Japan, but a niche product here. We want to take it to a bigger creative audience but we are not looking to make it mainstream right now,” says distributor of Kirin in Australia, Lion Nathan’s, Ben Slocombe.

And creative audience they captured. Serving up a rich calibre of artists from all corners of Japan working across multiple mediums including performance, video, music, noise and installation, the ‘Big in Japan!’ event that first visited Australian shores in 2009 opened the minds of fashion designers, top models and media heads with expressionism cultivated to strike the perfect balance between weird and wonderful.

 
 

The line-up went a little bit like this:

Respected sound artist Mamoru Okunu experimented with sounds we hear but never listen to. An audio and culinary performance that tapped into the music of noodles.

Colourful chaos was served up from Shabushabu and Lakilaki / Maho ThaiDisco from Kyoto. Exuberant singing and tropical sounds made for a high-energy performance that saw Lakilaki jump aboard his keyboard – plastic green recorder in hand.

Japanese krautrock girl group, Nisennenmondai, worked their hypnotic magic on the crowd – a little something to do with being deadest sexy and very much to do with ripping talent on the guitar and drums.

Sound artist Atsuhiro Ito brought his original fluorescent lighting noise instrument ‘optron’ for an explosive synesthetic experience.

Having worked with McQueen and Galliano, acclaimed designer Yoshikazu Yamagata showcased his futurist fashion from his label writtenafterwards – sending ancient nomads down the runway barefooted and draped in gathered white dresses.

 
 

Brother and sister team Shimurabros offered digital installation in the form of “X Ray Train” challenging 2 dimensional film and production techniques.

Lighter-than-air floating human sculptures hovered overhead from Yasushiro Suzuki.

Exploring differing mediums from light, shadows, stop motion and more, video art was captured by Leiko Shiga, Yukihiro Taguchi, Sachiko Kodoma, Yusuke Shigeta and Yuichiro Tamura. 

Renowned reclusive voice music artist, beat boxer Dokaka gave a rare live performance.

Hiroshi Hawegawa (of noise units ASTRO and C.C.C.C.) performed his psychedelic live set “like drifting between the meditative and awakened state, with electronics.”  To learn a little bit more about what this bloke is all about, check out the SOUND section of this issue of T-Squat.

 
 

The ‘Big in Japan!’ concept salves on all year round at www.biginjapan.com.au. Check it out.

 
 
 
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The Art of Van Grenquist
 

Van Grenquist, a 22 year old Bondi bandit with a penchant for anomalous art, looks at daily items a little differently from the average punter.

Perhaps due to early years spent cutting cookies, this walking piece of art (Van skates about town in some gnarly threads) is motivated to outshine normality through the process of metamorphism – transgressing the unwritten laws of practicality to create something more enjoyable.

 

The beauty of Van’s work is that every layer is a meaning borrowed from his own life experience. From days as a fashion designer for Pete VS Toby to nights spent exploring the underground of NYC, when you open one of Van’s boob-printed wallets, you just know that somehow you’re opening an entire morning and night in this guy’s wild life.

Please welcome the Walart – Van’s (aka: Wally’s) latest innovation for those keen to keep coins (unlike the next guy). Made from paper and available in over ten variations, Marlboro, pills, plant and burger prints encourage one to pick their poison and for the less overt, a series of more abstract 1970s inspired versions are on offer. Recyclable, water resistant and made in Australia, visit www.thewalart.com for your very own.