Inspired by the sweeping landscapes, rain forests and oceans of their childhoods, local artisans Raffaele Persichetti and Martin Gordon Brown created Holloway Eyewear, a bespoke frames business with an eco heart.
“It’s more of an environmental movement than a brand,” says Persichetti over the racket in the West End warehouse he and Brown stumbled upon two years ago.
“We tracked down the landlord to see if he’d lease it to us, and he said yes,” Persichetti laughs.
“I wanted to inspire people to be aware of what they consume and how it’s created. We’re still making an essential human product, so the message is not to stop creating but to preserve the environment and respect nature – to create in a sustainable manner.”
Persichetti, who was born in Rome before migrating to Melbourne with his family when he was five, says Holloway has always been an extension of his lifestyle.
“I grew up on cattle farms in Victoria and eventually moved to the Sunshine Coast and Martin grew up around Samford and Mt Glorious,” he says.
“The guys who work with us are similar – we all have a really strong respect for nature that our families ingrained in us from an early age, so Holloway evolved from who we are. We all work with timber, we all surf, fish, skate and make music.”
The warehouse – a raw, industrial space on Victoria Street – is the heart of Holloway, where everything, from initial sketches to manufacturing, occurs. Furnished with salvaged and donated wares, the warehouse is also home to Black Star Coffee and a fully-equipped recording studio.
“It kind of feels like a log cabin in the city,” says Persichetti.
“We’ve got everything we need here – there’s the studio, about 20 guitars, boats in case we feel like going for a fish, a commercial kitchen, a cold room, a bottling plant and areas to chill out with hammocks. It’s a good vibrations space. I can do and feel anything here.”
The frames, which have already snared design awards in Australia and are sold online, are made largely by hand.
“It’s about 30 per cent machinery and 70 per cent artisan woodwork,” Persichetti explains.
“But it’s not just about creating a pair of sunnies for profit. We try to be 100 per cent self-sufficient and low impact, so I just hope what we do inspires other creatives to follow our path.”