Lionel's Melbourne is set to dress up and go shopping for the month of September. Melbourne Spring Fashion Week (MSFW) cannot be complete without supporting the retailers that help make fashion accessible to all of us. With the wealth of local talent, you can expect a wide range of made-in-Melbourne designs from garments to jewellery.
I had the opportunity to chat with some of the city's retailers involved in MSFW including Mark Boldiston of Lord Coconut. An avid fan and collector of locally designed contemporary jewellery, Mark decided to leave his managerial position in professional associations to pursue and share his passion with others as a retailer.
Deer cufflinks in sterling silver by My Friend Romeo / Image courtesy of Lord Coconut
Lionel: How did you get involved in the jewellery business?
Mark: I have always been inspired by jewellers, designers and artisans who work often in anonymity, creating the handcrafted gems which I admire. I was lucky enough to be able to take a 12 month sabbatical which allowed me time to determine what type of small business I wanted to start. As an avid purchaser of locally designed contemporary jewellery I decided it would be better selling rather than continuing buying jewellery. Once the decision was made, I established contacts within the contemporary jewellery community in order to source stock and then set up the store. As a point of difference I decided to specialise in men's contemporary jewellery as there was no existing store in Melbourne concentrating in this area. This also allowed me to work with the existing contemporary jewellery stores, not against them. I've been at this for 18 months now.
Pistol cufflinks in oxidised sterling silver by Frances Rose Jewellery / Image courtesy of Lord Coconut
Lionel: What do you enjoy most about your work?
Mark: The most enjoyable part of my work is interacting with both the jewellers and customers (many who are travellers) who are lovers of handcrafted jewellery. They are also supporters of local jewellers, artisans and designers. The contemporary jewellery market is seeing a return to local handcrafted artisan items and it is hoped that the fashion industry will start to follow this lead. All stock from my designers must be handcrafted, preferably in Melbourne, with an aesthetic which fits into the overall store range and complementary to what I currently stock. I carry designs ranging from AUD25 through to $2400 with the majority priced between $150 and $300.
Crown ring in oxidised sterling silver by Zachary Frankel / Image courtesy of Lord Coconut
Mark: MSFW is one of the two major fashion festivals in Melbourne which allows the average fashion follower an opportunity to celebrate their interests. More importantly, it allows small retailers like me to participate in an industry-based Festival with other complementary businesses. The major challenge I face is marketing my retail store as I cannot rely on passing trade. So MSFW has help me to promote my business to a wider audience that I would not always have access to or afford to market to.
Cicada cufflinks in sterling silver by Katzinka Tschierschky / Image courtesy of Lord Coconut
Lord Coconut will unveil the creative genius and meticulous detail of its band of jewellers, celebrating the art of the tie bar at the 'Keeping It Together' exhibition, as part of MSFW Look.Stop.Shop program in September.