“I love the diversity of characters and elements of colour that I find on nearly every corner – I feel it’s very in line with who I am,” says Sydney-born Gary Bigeni, who as a bachelor of design student at East Sydney UTS would go dancing at the Red Rattler (“still do!”) and was “drawn to the more alternative inner-west culture, so I would spend my evenings and weekends there”. Within his designs, which explore draping and wrapping among classic silhouettes, he has sourced inspiration from the diversity of the women in the area. “It’s urban, it’s certainly not the Bondi Sydney! You won’t see people here in board shorts, and there are lots of students, artists and creatives, and there is much more of a multicultural underground and alternative style.” The gentrification in the area he acknowledges as improving its cultural vitality. “While like a lot of Sydney it has become very gentrified, it’s not always a bad thing, given the increase in galleries and the restaurant and cafe scene,” he says, earmarking Chippendale’s redevelopment, which includes the Old Clare Hotel and the White Rabbit Gallery. “Now it’s nearly unrecognisable – it reminds me a lot of east London. They’ve really brought an exciting new feel to the area.”
Gary Bigeni “I put my earphones on and walk five minutes to Memorial Rest Park to lie on the grass and unwind.” Brickfields bakery, Chippendale: “My local fix for my hot chocolate and sweet cravings!” Looks from Gary Bigeni resort ’16.