Scuffed floorboards, rough walls, a tin roof and a front counter of scavenged timber – Wollongong’s burgeoning independent clothing scene has a new home in the CBD.
Minty Duds, stocking purely independent Australian apparel labels, was officially launched last night. Popping up inside the spacious warehouse at 5 Crown Lane, also home to Music Farmers records, the store reflects the growing strength of the Illawarra clothing community and a wider ‘‘cultural revolution’’ in the region, according to owner David Everitt.
‘‘Young people are starting to hang around Wollongong post-uni a lot more, and there’s not necessarily a lot of work, so they’re doing their own things especially in the creative sector,’’ Mr Everitt said.
‘‘We’ll be stocking lots of local brands. There are a lot cropping up lately.’’
Mr Everitt sold his own T-shirt range, Thomas Foolery, at a number of Illawarra markets before forming the idea for Minty Duds. While the freedom of the internet allows independent labels to more easily source and sell products, Mr Everitt said having a physical space was a huge boon for the Wollongong clothing scene.
‘‘It’s to have a place visitors can come and get real locally made merchandise,’’ he said.
Thomas Foolery uses organic cotton and bamboo to produce shirts, sourcing from ethical manufacturers.
A member of the University of Wollongong’s successful Solar Decathlon team, Mr Everitt said this environmentally friendly approach to clothing seeped into the fit-out of the store itself, which he said was ‘‘99per cent recycled’’.
‘‘Everything from railway sleepers to pallets, old hardwood timber scavenged from demolition sites or old houses,’’ he said. ‘‘It was really inspired by the material reuse in our Solar Decathlon house Solar Flame. And as well, it gives a more creative edge to it, rather than using new clean material. It’s a raw, gritty finish.’’
In addition to Thomas Foolery, Minty Duds will stock labels including Memory Clothing, Crooked Head, as well as leathergoods label The Outdoor Social and wallet manufacturer Chris Nicholson.
‘‘It’s not just clothing, but things manufactured in Wollongong. Chris makes these wooden wallets from recycled hardwood. So it’s products grown locally, used in local houses, and now being recycled and resold locally.’’