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Australian fashion gets hip

Fleur Britten Times Online
Australian fashion gets hip - Australia

Once considered a cultural and style backwater, the land down under is now home to designers and labels celebrities love

One sleepy Sunday night in London, a throng of terrifyingly trendy twentysomethings are partying like they’re in another time zone. Australia’s most influential DJ crew, the Bang Gang Deejays, arrived in London and Paris this summer, and with them came a party culture neither capital has seen the like of for a while. “Australians treat parties like festivals,” says Bang Gang’s Gus Da Hoodrat. “Everyone jumps around like it’s a huge mosh pit.”

The Bang Gang Deejays are a taste of something rather interesting going on down under. Once described as the UK on Prozac, Australia has always been considered a cultural backwater. Now it’s time to think again. As Steve Pavlovic, the founder of Australia’s celebrated label Modular Recordings, puts it: “It’s burning over here at the moment.” The country, he says, is changing fast. “It’s really exciting — every week, something new happens.”

And it’s not just music. The Aussie fashion label Sass & Bide has come of age, with its Black Rats leggings the must-have trousers of the summer — both Mischa Barton and Kate Moss have barely been out of theirs. The label Antipodium claims Alexa Chung as its face, and Ksubi, a favourite of the Olsen twins, is so hip it has Kanye West and Jeremy Scott clamouring to collaborate. The restaurant scene has seriously upped the ante, too. Gordon Ramsay is opening a restaurant in Melbourne later this year to join Jamie Oliver’s, and Jonathan Downey, the entrepreneur behind the Match Bar and Clubhouse groups, is, in his words, “on the rampage” in Sydney and Melbourne, opening members’ bars, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels.