Christopher McLaren – Bizarre Bazaar

Fashion, goodie bags, margaritas and a free photobooth are just a few of the things punters can enjoy at Bizarre Bazaar, a new monthly pop-up fashion venture. After two successful twilight markets at Sussex Lane, the third Bizarre Bazaar will pop-up in Darlinghurst’s District01 – an underground gallery on Oxford Street that will be transformed to channel a cosy lounge room vibe. Punters can peruse clothes, accessories, homewares and vintage treats while listening to tunes by Soul Patrol DJs Arnott Olssen and Adam Jacobs.

I went down to District01 to speak with project director Christopher McLaren, of events company A Series of Fortunate Events (ASOF). “I came up with the concept last November. There are so many great spaces with tight-knit communities in Sydney, but besides weekend markets and online stores, young designers don’t have a way to get their collections out there.”

ASOF are anticipating 400-or-so guests will traipse through the venue, from fashion lovers and industry to hipsters, students, and those who want to support grassroots design and fashion.

“We’re bringing 30 designers to one location – it’s going to be incredible,” Chris tells me. “The music is always fantastic and it’ll be warm and comfortable with an interior feel. It’s a great opportunity for people to meet the designers – who are happy to help and dress shoppers. Stylists will be roaming around. It’s a very personal experience.”

As with its previous instalments, the upcoming Bizarre Bazaar will feature a mix of emerging and established labels. Moons of Apollo founder Kevin Tran is relatively new to fashion, having cut his teeth at design studios Alphabet, Frost* Design and Fuzzy (the promoters behind Parklife and Field Day). Tran’s current collection (his first) features slim-fit tees with simple and elegant monochromatic graphics. For Tran, the appeal of the Bizarre Bazaar events is the quality of its lineup and the appeal of using quirky venues. “And they are extremely supportive of new labels!”

Another of the emerging labels featured is Melinda Morrison’s handmade and illustration-based womenswear label Roger + Peach. Morrison has been selling her label from Glebe Markets for almost two years. “There are a lot of great markets out there wanting to give young designers a leg up, but finding the right one can be daunting and a challenge. I liked the idea of an event-based pop-up market – and this one being indoors for winter makes it a lot easier to focus on customer service, rather than trying to keep warm!”

At the other end of the spectrum, jewellery label ATAT has been operating for almost a decade – and took part in the first two Bizarre Bazaar events. Designer and ex-model Atlanta Read has had her work bought by Alex Perry at Mercedes Fashion week, featured on FHM covers, used to dress celebrities at the ARIAs, and shot on singer P!nk. “I always had it in the back of my head that I couldn’t model forever,” she explains. “So I did a silversmith course, bought a soldering iron and started teaching myself my own methods of melting Swarovski crystals together with punk studs in my garage. Before long I had my first complete collection of crystal belts, chokers, bracelets, arm cuffs and earrings.” Her signature theme is street style meets glamour, and she teams up with whatever is inspiring her at the time.

“Bizarre Bazaar allows me to get ATAT out to savvy shoppers,” Atlanta tells me. “It gives my designs their chance to shine and to sell. Because let’s face it, without selling to customers your label does not exist.”

Published in The Brag in both print and online on August 1, 2011

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