As a young kid growing up in Australia I was surrounded by sports and, like most kids, dreamt of being a pro athlete. I cycled through many sports as a kid - from ice hockey, soccer, rugby, Aussie Rules, bodyboarding and skateboarding. Each sport I would dive in deep and get all the gear. I loved that aspect of dressing up and being something new. I actually liked this more than the actual sport aspect of what I was playing. I knew I was different in that regard. I put a lot of thought and care into the boots I wore on the pitch, more than others around me. I had thought a pro athlete was what I wanted to be, but when I looked at that one point - that I liked this dressing up and appearance aspect more so than playing the sport - a lightbulb went off. Yes, sport was a way to express this purpose of mine, but fashion was more direct. I would watch shows like Queer Eye For the Straight Guy, and I just loved the fact that you could change someone’s life through appearance - not just on a physical level but an emotional one too.
I followed my favorite athletes and what they wore, not just while playing, but also away from their sports too. Guys like Michael Jordan and David Beckham were tastemakers. Even guys on a musical level, like Puff Daddy and how he transcended his field and went into fashion, was inspiring to me. For these guys I feel fashion and appearance is as much a part of what they are doing, and this particular aspect was my forte. I liked the idea of being able to inspire others and set an example in appearance and elicit the same feeling I got from looking up to my heroes to a younger generation and also help them achieve that pride in appearance for themselves.
With my purpose now in mind, I set the wheels in motion. I didn’t know much about the world of fashion, designers and all of that. I didn’t know how to draw, sew, pattern make or anything at all, and I didn’t know what I would need to know to get going. I did spend a lot of time at the mall before rugby training and after work, and I enjoyed dressing up. I had realized that dressing up was something I had been doing since a young age, and I loved it. Even being an athlete was in the same vein as that, and I realized I could help people in this area of inspiring them and helping them to look good. I knew that when I looked good I felt good, and my confidence grew from that, as I am sure most people can attest to. My Dad thought I was trying to fill a void and make up for confidence that I lacked in buying new stuff all the time. To some degree that may have been true, but I truly had a passion for it. And once he saw that, he was more than happy to help me along on my journey. I liked that about my parents. They supported whatever we wanted to do. Convention was not something we had to conform to. I put my parents through many different career changes growing up, each of which were fueled by the original purpose. To create aesthetics in appearance and make people look good and feel good.
I started this journey way back in 2006 when I enrolled in fashion school. 15 years in, the journey has just begun...