A Chat: Australian Fashion Store AUST in Venice Beach
Take a walk through Venice Beach in Los Angeles and you may be surprised to find AUST, a wonderland of Australian fashion.
We chat to owner Hannah Wang about her inspiration, and what LA thinks of Australian design.
Can you give us a bit of background to yourself and the store?
Sure! I don’t have a fashion background. I grew up in Sydney Australia, and I was always a beach kid, loved clothes and dressing up, and had (and have) a lot of varied interests. I was an actor since I was a kid, and was drawn to LA for this reason and the beach. I was also a photographer, pole dance teacher, event manager, marketing for a non-profit and have degrees in English, Psychology and Business. I’m hyperactive and love to learn, so I’m a bit all over the place!
The idea for the store came about when I moved to LA. Young, ambitious, and a healthy dose of naive, I set out to open this store with no prior business experience, and only minimum retail experience. It was basically one big party for the first couple of years!
What made you open AUST?
A really vivid lucid dream about the store, when I first moved to America. I realised that all my favourite brands were Australian and that you couldn’t really find them in the states. I felt with the level of quality, aesthetic and unique designs Australia had to offer, it deserved a place on the international stage.
From there I also realised that internationally, there are a lot of fast fashion options, and high-end corporate options, but not a lot in the middle ground. What Australia does so well is this middle market of high-quality designs at an achievable price.
What about Australian design resonates with the people of Venice Beach?
There’s a lot of cross overs with the lifestyle and general attitude of these cities. Venice has got this laid back yet hyper-creative, beach bum yet ambitious, and chilled out yet party animal vibe that I think Australian fashion meshes with awesomely.
Also, Venice locals are generally pretty conscious, valuing sustainability and ethics when buying. I think they love being able to come to AUST. knowing they are supporting independent and conscious companies.
What do you look for in the designs/designers you showcase?
We firstly look for that feeling of excitement when you see a brand. It’s like when you discover your new favourite musician and wants to listen to their album again and again because the music resonates with you.
All our brands are started by everyday people, and we are always curious to know the back story of a brand when we consider a new label. The heart and intention of a brand is important to us.
And aesthetically, while we do cater to some trends we’re not typically a trend based store. We choose what we feel is fun and feels amazing to wear and go from there. We want all our clothes to have creativity and longevity, rather than something that is just cool for that moment.
Any final thoughts?
I’d just say I think it’s awesome more people are shopping more consciously. We vote with our wallet. Keep supporting the brands you love and get educated about a company before you buy from them. Ask questions, and choose products based on how they feel and its quality, rather than shopping for instant satisfaction.