As part of its successful creative spaces program, the City has redeveloped a series of vacant garages and loading bays under 66 Oxford Street into modern retail shopfronts facing the newly upgraded Foley Street. Five creative businesses working across art, design, fashion, jewellery and homewares have been selected to operate the spaces which are now officially open to the public.
“Artists and creative workers are a vital part of Sydney’s cultural scene – not to mention the local economy – and we are always looking for ways to support them,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “With commercial rents rising, we need to provide affordable space for creative startups in the heart of the city or they’ll go elsewhere.
“Over the last five years our creative spaces program has given more than 35 businesses a home, injecting nearly $3 million into the local economy and attracting 85,000 additional visitors to Oxford Street. I’m really looking forward to welcoming our newest tenants to Foley Street and seeing the contribution they make to the area over the next three years.”
The City’s creative spaces program launched in 2012, offering affordable office space at 66 Oxford Street to 14 emerging creative businesses. Since then, the City has also made space available for artists and creative workers in its properties on William Street in Darlinghurst and at Waterloo Library. An exhibition space is set to open alongside the retail shopfronts at 9 Foley Street later this year.
The new Foley Street tenants are:
The Tribe: already a successful online design emporium, The Tribe’s shopfront on Foley Street will feature artwork, jewellery and homewares by both local Sydney artists and talented regional designers. Founded by visual merchandiser Jess Polaschek, The Tribe aims to provide a platform for emerging creatives to develop their brand and showcase their work to a wider market. The Tribe’s Foley Street space will also host a variety of exhibitions and workshops.
Spunky Bruiser: specialising in sustainable and ethical fashion, Rebecca Frost and Christian Orso of Spunky Bruiser make one-off men’s, women’s and children’s designs by hand. They use reclaimed and repurposed materials and incorporate stencilling, applique and other vintage design techniques. Their Foley Street space will feature an open studio and offer workshops to the public.
Bermuda Black: run by self-taught shoemaker Marina Roorda, Bermuda Black offers a bespoke shoe design service, along with a range of off-the-shelf shoe and clothing designs. Bermuda Black’s Foley Street retail space is combined with an open studio and workshop where customers can watch Marina at work and see her suite of shoemaker’s tools.
Studio Enti: specialising in porcelain tableware and lighting, Studio Enti’s Naomi Taplin has designed ranges for some of Sydney’s biggest restaurants, including Nomad in Surry Hills and Lotus at Barangaroo. Her Foley Street shopfront will feature workshop and retail spaces where customers can learn more about the ceramics design process and take part in regular workshops.
Fine Fellow: the brainchild of fashion blogger Giuseppe Santamaria and jewellery designer Clara Ho, Fine Fellow is a concept retail store that presents locally designed, handcrafted men’s fashion, accessories, homewares and gifts. Supporting its aim of making Foley Street a new fashion destination, Fine Fellow will also offer regular events and studio talks featuring local Sydney makers.
“Opening this space on Foley Street is a dream come true,” said The Tribe‘s Jess Polaschek. “I’ve been wanting to open a bricks and mortar business for the last 10 years, but I thought I’d either have to open a shop in the middle of nowhere or take on a massive debt to be able to do it.”
“The City’s creative spaces program is a real leg up for businesses like mine. It allows me to experiment and take creative risks that I wouldn’t be able to take if I was constantly worried about making the rent. Foley Street is without a doubt the right place for me to bring The Tribe to life.”
“The Darlinghurst community has already been so welcoming, and I can’t wait to start working more closely with local artists, designers and the other creative spaces tenants over the next three years.”
For more information about the City’s creative spaces program, visit: www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au for details.
Image: The Tribe’s Jess Polaschek (supplied)