Ahead of the opening of Kings of Carnaby’s new Brunswick Street store, Couturing were fortunate enough to interview one half of this cult label, Nick Tologlou to find out more about how Kings of Carnaby came about and what they have planned for the future. Founded by Tologlou and high school friend Michael Lamacchia in 2009, Kings of Carnaby’s 1960’s inspired style quickly became a fashion favourite. Taking inspiration from the mod era and in particular, the ‘King of Carnaby’, Mr John Stephen who lead the 1960’s male peacock revolution, Tologlou and Lamacchia have created a a beautifully tailored mens and womenswear label which stands out from the crowd. Not only have they gone from strength to strength since opening a store hidden away on Greville Street in Melbourne, but they have done so while staying humble and down-to-earth, something quite rare in the notoriously competitive fashion industry.
1. After starting in a little store tucked away on Greville Street, you’ve expanded your stores, recently opening one in Melbourne Central and one on Chapel Street. In a time where online retail is gaining in popularity, how important is it for you to maintain a bricks and mortar presence?
Having an online store is great and very important to any business these days but you will never get the same experience from an online store as you would in a physical store. We believe that when visiting a store you don’t just get customer service but you get the full experience of the label/store that has been created. Everything in our store has been selected and there for a reason. From the interior fit out, to the music, the personalities of staff and store wide ever changing displays are all part of the environment and culture Kings Of Carnaby has to offer. Online stores are all about ‘how few clicks it takes you to buy something’, where as in a store staff would love you to stay and chat and not mind if you buy anything or not.
2. Your label is inspired by the 1960’s mod style. What about this era and fashion appeals to you?
Our interest in the 1960’s started way back when we had way too much time on our hands and use to watch films like they were going out of fashion. Well Michael still finds time for his movie addiction. Our favourites have always been films set in the 1960’s, definitely due to the fashion and music they would have. The 60’s looked so much more fun, we feel we missed out being 80’s babies.
3. You have been friends since high school and started Kings of Carnaby together. What are the benefits of having someone to work with and share your vision for the label?
Having your long-term friend and best mate as your business partner is a bit too easy and mostly too much fun. We’re very professional and serious when it comes to work but at the same time we’re like a couple little kids having laugh. It’s a massive help that Michael and I have always have had very similar interests, so when it comes to making decisions and our vision for the label things tend to run a lot smoother. I would hate to see what it would be like having a business partner you almost never agreed with!
4. Your Autumn/Winter 12 collection features leather accents, plaid, fringing and embellishments, with fantastic statement pieces including a maroon suit and orange printed cloak. What inspired this collection?
This collection would have to be one of our favourites thus far. Our initial inspiration came from Andy Warhol films and his general personality. Strange, quirky, dark and an individual master mind. A quote from Andy Warhol ‘I’m not insane, my reality is just different to yours’ was the main driving force as tried to make a collection which would be easy to wear yet break a few fashion ‘rules’. We have mixed simple and neutral fabrics/colours with more vibrant patterns/colours. Some what portraying what Any Warhol and crew may wear when strolling down Carnaby street.
5. You’ve shown at MFSW and LMFF. Why do you think it’s important to feature your label during these festivals and how has your involvement benefited your brand?
It has definitely been a massive tool in our current success. There is no press or media coverage quite like being apart of MSFW and LMFF. Being a part of Melbourne’s biggest stage alongside some of the premier labels around the country is flattering enough but to have people still comment today on our show(s) they had seen in either fashion festival is amazing. LMFF and MSFW is by far one of Carnaby’s greatest achievements.
6. The fashion world is becoming increasingly digital, with labels taking to Facebook and Twitter to promote their brand. Kings of Carnaby recently joined Twitter and Instagram. How are you using your social media to promote your label?
I think social is pretty important, it’s definitely the easiest and most frequent way to communicate with people who like to keep updated with things they’re interested in. We have had a Facebook fan page for a fair while now, that’s our more frequently updated page I think as it always gets the most traffic. With our social media we do our best to stay away from promoting sales etc as we feel that will only turn people away from the brand before they have even given it a closer look, instead we try to engage people with who Kings Of Carnaby is and show them the culture we are creating with our clothes and the people behind the brand. We are new to Twitter and Instagram as we only just discovered them, but we’re having a great time sending tweets back and forth and sharing photos with people who follow the brand.
7. Kings of Carnaby has a very Melbourne aesthetic. What do you think is unique about Melbourne style?
Melbourne definitely has its stand-alone unique style compared to the rest of Australia. I think it’s an easy place for people to be themselves and dress how they like and not feel like they’re being judge. I guess Melbourne being so multicultural has been the ice-breaker for being different. I think Melbourne style is unique because of its diverse acceptance, making people more comfortable to be themselves.
8. With stockists now overseas and all around Australia, what do you have planned for Kings of Carnaby over the next year?
We have a few cheeky little plans for the next twelve months, which we’re pretty excited about. I can’t say too much just yet, but I can assure you everyone will here about them as they unfold 🙂
Thanks to Nick for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new store and we wish Michael and yourself all the best for the future!