60 Seconds With

Jessica Ward, By Brooke Tunbridge by Brooke Tunbridge

If you ever need any inspiration to get outdoors and travel, hit up Jessica Ward’s Instagram (@jesswardphoto). It’s filled with photos that will leave you in awe. When Jessica isn’t navigating her way around the world with her camera, she’s back in her hometown, taking incredible shots of iconic Newcastle landscapes captured from the best angles imaginable.

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Where Things Happen Studio, By Kian West by Kian West

It was about a year ago when I first met Suzan after an Idea Bombing event as part of the Newcastle Writers Festival. I’d just finished ranting at a packed audience inside the Press Bookhouse about our love affair with print in a digital world. A year later I was still keen to speak with her about the interesting work she showed me. So Suzan let me in to where all the magic happens.

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William John Jr. & Voodoo Youth, By Ryan Williams by Ryan Williams

William John and Hunter Powell have both been on Mirage's radar for a long time. It was hard for a stage there to go out anywhere in Newcastle and not see either one of them playing somewhere. Mirage has held off doing an interview with either of them until they decided get off both their asses to put out some new music. William John sent me a text last week to say he's doing it – a split with Voodoo Youth.  

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Chesters, A Pet Bakery making a difference by Kian West

On Saturday we heard how Chesters Pet Bakery had held a fundraising day for the Leukaemia Foundation and spotted so many gorgeous photos of happy dogs with fur coloured and nails painted, or generally just being pampered, so we had a quick chat with Chesters owner Kendall Richards about why and what Chesters is all about... 

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An interview with James Callender, By Kian West by Kian West

I’M A BIG BELIEVER IN TRYING TO LISTEN TO THE UNIVERSE FOR OPPORTUNITIES AND TAKING ON CHALLENGES WHEN THEY PRESENT THEMSELVES. AT THE END OF LAST YEAR, A MEMBER OF THE HUNTER YOUNG PROFESSIONALS (HYP) BOARD REACHED OUT TO ME TO BECOME A DIRECTOR, AND I SAW THIS AS A MESSAGE THAT THE FOLLOWING YEAR WOULD INCLUDE THIS NEW CHALLENGE. IT’S ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN FROM OTHERS, SO I ASKED THE CURRENT PRESIDENT OF HYP, JAMES CALLENDER, TO HAVE A CHAT WITH ME.

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Sarah Christine, By Brooke Tunbridge by Brooke Tunbridge

It’s so inspiring to hear when someone puts so much love, effort and time into their creative projects, and still manages to find time for work, study and life in general. Sarah Christine, like many other incredible people I’ve interviewed, does just this. We were talking for a while about her music and the amount of gigs she performs (which is a lot), then briefly about her work as a singing teacher at Anna’s Singing School in Redhead. I thought to myself, ‘I won’t even ask her about studying, she sounds way too busy to be doing that as well.’ To my surprise, study slips into the conversation as Sarah mentions she’s in her second year studying Primary Teaching.

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Smart business is Booksmart by Kian West

Here at Mirage we are always stoked to hear about fellow Novocastrians doing amazing stuff. When we heard Alex Nicolaidis had been announced as a finalist of the Australian Small Business Champion Awards for the category of New Business we had to find out, well, what exactly that all means... 

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Chinchen Street, An Article, By Ryan Williams by Kian West

The staff at Suspension must be so sick of me coming in to do interviews. I just sit there and wait for the people to come down to meet me, anxiously looking at the door every few moments. I sit in a really good seat and I don’t even buy anything. I met Chinchen Street’s resident fashion guru, Bonnie Lee Tipper, at Suspension to talk about clothing and stuff. She didn’t get a coffee either, so I guess I didn’t look so bad.

 Have you been doing the clothing thing for a while?

Bonnie: I started sewing my own clothes when I was 14. I'm 24 this year, so I guess that makes it a decade.

What about Chinchen Street?

Chinchen Street has been about two years. Before that I studied Fashion Design for three years. When I was just out of school I had a different label called Electric Sugar, but I scrapped it when I started studying. 

That was a similar thing? Handmade clothing?

I feel like Chinchen Street is further along than that last label. It's a whole lot more wearable now; Electric Sugar was very weird and wonderful. I used to make clothes out of kids’ curtains, a Humphrey Bear dress and stuff like that. Now I'm a bit more subtle [laughs].

But it's all one of a kind?

More or less. The biggest runs I do are of swimwear, made with new fabric. All the skirts, dresses and tops are in small runs, maybe five of the same thing maximum. Everything is unique though.

All is done by hand?

Half of the Chinchen Street stuff is handmade, all designed, cut and sewn by me. All made in the same house in Islington. Really small scale. The other half is handpicked vintage gear, mostly from the mid-north coast where I grew up. I have a few friends who are a bit older who will sell me stuff from their wardrobes. 

Do you alter the vintage stuff?

Generally, no. Only if the piece is in really bad condition. 

If it's not broken, don't fix it.

Exactly. I like my stuff to be different and try not to worry about trends or anything like that. I normally work to my personal taste or a theme I might have. 

What are the normal themes you go for?

Some people say it's boho or festival-y, that kind of thing. I normally think about what's going to be the most comfortable and what won't fall apart. Something that will fit a lot of different body shapes and use fabric in an efficient way. I do a whole lot of stuff that's square-shaped because it meets that criteria. I worry once you start to tailor stuff it gets very wasteful.

Is that an environmental thing?

Absolutely. When I was studying, an assessment was to construct a dress that was zero waste. From a square piece of fabric you used the whole thing. It really stuck with me.

You must live on Chinchen Street?

Yeah.

It's like Beach Street [the band], but they don't live there anymore.

I know. I'm not saying they copied me or anything, but I definitely had Chinchen Street first. I remember doing that event – I made a little street sign for each of us. I use it all the time at markets and stuff.

Is it a nice street to live on?

I like it. It's got a really strange mixture of houses. I take a whole lot of the photos for the label on that street.

You did all that Owls merch too?

I did. I'd only tie-dyed one of their shirts for fun and they really liked it. I patched a few vintage jackets for them and they sold really well. 

Do you do many collaborations?

I've only done a few – I was working on one for another band, Family Dog, last year. So far I've only done the tie-dye with patches; if I got approached again, I'd look at doing something totally different. 

You do a whole lot of other stuff to do with live music too.

I just did an event in collaboration with Newcastle Music Collective at the Lass – markets in combination with live music. Red Boy, The Two Fridas, Amani's Market, plus a big flea market of secondhand stuff. Last year I had a stall at This That festival too. 

And other markets too? 

Yeah, I do the Impossible Markets at The Edwards as well as Olive Tree. They're both always really good! 

What’s planned for the rest of 2017?

A new range of menswear is on my list, some more tie-dye stuff. I'm thinking of doing a more natural-looking colour scheme. Something more mellow than my previous menswear range last year. Moving in the opposite direction. Trying something new.

 

Get to Chinchen Street through Facebook or Google Maps. chinchenst.com