When we came across this Brazilian born artist/carpenter from Conneticut we couldn't believe that each of his works are carved from a pencil! Better yet, he doesn't sell any of his work - but gives it away to his friends!
An interview between GQ and Alvin from Saint Augustine Academy:
Saint Augustine Academy was the standout menswear show at this year’s Rosemount Australian Fashion Week. The show was a mélange of western-detailing and biker-chic. Luxurious accents, leather tassels and quality tailoring gave the show an international aesthetic. I caught up with Saint Augustine Academy designer, Alvin Manalo, after the show.
Alex Simpson: What was the inspiration for the show this year?
Alvin Manalo: The collection is called Love and Haight, so it’s really a reference to San Francisco in the late 60s’ and the graduation of the Beat Poets into hippies. The narrative in the show is greatly inspired by the story in Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, which is about the Merry Pranksters. They were closely associated with the Hells Angels, famously almost kidnapped the Rolling Stones and then fled into Mexico to escape the FBI and their pending drug charges. So the collection has a wild west feel with paisley, the safari look of the late 60s’ and motorcycle-gang-inspired looks. In terms of styling, I was inspired by Annie Leibovitz’s curation of images from Rolling Stone magazine in Shooting Stars.
AS: The western theme was quite prominent at the Milan shows this year, do you take any inspiration from overseas trends?
AM: I always feel that there is kind of a zeitgeist connecting what people are thinking in the design world. I don’t follow Milan specifically, but I do follow the shows in Paris. Although the hat trend was definitely western-inspired, the leather fringing was more from motorcycle culture rather than western-inspired. The two are kind of easily entangled.
AS: How many menswear looks did you edit out.
AM: I probably edited about 25 looks down to 19. I guess with us, because people know us as menswear, we wanted to focus on the womenswear a little more this year.
AS: When will everything from the show be in store?
AM: It should be in store around September.
AS: What do you think of Australian menswear today?
AM: We are getting slightly less commercial, and I am a fan of some of the newer brands, such as Three Over One, which you obviously know, as GQ nominated them as menswear designer of the year. There are some really great new brands from Melbourne, like From Britten, which seems to have a very international aesthetic.
AS: Do you think it’s important for Australian brands to have an international aesthetic, or should they stand their own ground and have a uniquely Australian voice?
AM: What I try to showcase in Saint Augustine Academy, is that you can be both. Australia should be playing with international trends. The US men’s market has recently become really conservative. So there’s no reason why we can’t move into the international stage. When I’m overseas, people actually think that we’re the ones that are ahead because they see us as one season ahead, rather than one season behind. In New York, a lot of people in the fashion industry see Australia as the next big thing. The US is actually quite a conservative market, so they see us as edgy.
AS: Where do you export to overseas?
AM: We have about ten stockists in the US, we’ve got stockists in Singapore, in Taiwan, in Shanghai, in Tokyo, we haven’t touched Europe yet but I feel like that will be our biggest market given our aesthetic.
Today we visited the Vanishing Elephant showroom in Surry Hills - Huw - one of the main men behind VE took us through the well edited collection of shorts, shirts, chinos, and shoes. There are some great magnified prints, stripes and washes that we know you'll love - as well as some new chino colours to get you excited. We cannot wait to get this amazing stock into Angus for you all to enjoy... Check out the selection:
The VE boys had Angus Black favourite "The Specials" playing in the background as well - check out the clip below...