THE SHORT STORY
My name is Don Urban. I am a menswear designer, mad traveller, scavenger of found objects and food lover.
THE LONG STORY
There is a problem when your taste doesn't match your wallet. I have great taste, but could never afford the clothes I really liked and would never be seen dead in a generic made in China shirt.
A typical starving artist from Byron Bay, living in my studio, I painted, made assemblages and parented my son. There was lots of cast offs and junk about but not a lot of cash. I can still look into an empty pantry and make a three course meal on a one ring burner because I had to. Using ingenuity and cast offs eventually became the essence of my clothing – that and a desire for clothes I could never afford but still wanted.
I love living in the city now, the grunge, the diversity and the toughness comes out in my designs – lots of coats with hoods, layers and large fold up collars as a way of protecting the softer, vulnerable parts of me. You will see that a lot, the theme of protection.
There is power in being a small manufacturer, quick to adopt new ideas and able to experiment. I’m a ninja, an urban guerilla. I never want to be big.
I won't design to seasons and follow trends. Even the word „fashion“ makes me cringe. Throw away clothes made by throw away people is not my idea of cool, or sustainable.
My pieces are one offs because the stuff I find is all original. One of the best pieces was a coat I made from an army tent that had been in the Vietnam war.
Last year I fell in love with the movie Lawless and the dirty, bootlegging, sweating post war years of the prohibition. It became an entire range of clothes. This year its all sci-fi because the costumes are what I watch in movies and films like Oblivion has some awesome clothes. It’s not exactly costumes I make, but I want to think the wearer can travel to another world when they put on my designs.
There is an element of sci-fi costume design that I just can't escape from. I'd like to think my clothes would be just at home on Tatooine or Caladan.