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Apothecary brand Aesop isn't the only Australian feeling the Cali-cool vibes of indie shopping stretch Abbot Kinney. As if we couldn't get enough of our fellow warm weather lovers from Down Under, we can keep feeding our (healthy) addiction to all things Aussie thanks to new Venice boutique AUST.
Carrying only Oz brands like swimwear faves Zimmermann, cult fave label Stolen Girlfriends Club, denim brand Ksubi, men's line Zanerobe and more, your new favorite store is the lovechild of stylish transplants Hannah Wang and Kristin Fedyk. After hearing about the thrill-seeking, bad-ass Wang (this Aussie can open a bottle with her teeth!) and expert hip-hop quoter Fedyk (who hails from Canada), we couldn't resist having a chat with the dynamic, entrepreneurial duo.
Kristin Fedyk and Hannah Wang wearing their shop's wares. Image via AUST.
How did AUST. happen?
Kristin: "We met in Sydney, Australia working at a dive bar in Manly. We both shared a love of adventure, shopping and cooking so naturally a friendship blossomed from there. Hannah has wanted to open a boutique in Sydney representing the homegrown designers she loves ever since she was young, and when I returned to Canada after my year abroad, my suitcase was stocked with all Aussie labels that had won me over.
Fast forward to 2011, Hannah moved to LA and began traveling around North America. She headed north to Toronto with a stellar business plan of AUST. and over some poutine and beers I was on board and moved to LA within the year. Australia combines both quality design and fabrication, at a accessible price point. We both knew we had to share this infectious fashion on a larger scale."
What inspired you to choose Venice as the shop's location?
Kristin: "When Han moved to LA, she stopped shopping. She felt the States had lots of great cheap clothes, however they weren't the best quality and felt generic. She was craving high quality designer fashion, that was unpretentious, stylish and accessible. [...] Having just moved to America, she noticed Americans seemed to love anything Australian! [Editor's note: it's totally true!] Australian fashion was something people were craving here, they just didn't know it yet.
Abbot Kinney is a magical street in Venice that is filled with eclectic businesses, great food, stylish people, a close-knit community and lots of creative minds. I have been coming to Abbot Kinney for years on my trips from Canada. It was some of the best shopping in LA and home to the new 'it' restaurant or bar. I have watched it change over the years and yet still remain the same in many ways which is key to its success. GQ magazine said it was the coolest street in America so it was quite obviously that the best home for AUST. would be Abbot Kinney."
How would you describe each other's sense of style?
Kristin: "Hannah has that effortlessly cool look that everyone tries to achieve DOWN to a T. It's a mix of your favorite Spice Girl-meets-Alexander Wang's über cool niece in 20 years. She oozes sex appeal while staying true to her signature style of a top knot, silk blazer and Funkis sandals. She is fearless with her wardrobe, mixing prints and fabrics, and her genuine love and passion for all the designers she so amazingly advocates is apparent."
Hannah: "Kristin's style is a beautiful contradiction of masculine and feminine. One day you'll find her with her Raptors cap, Air Jordans and Dre Beats, ready to throw down some ball with the boys. On other days, it'll be a flirty dress, fun prints and killer heels, ready for wine with the ladies. Either way, when she struts in the room her big smile, bubbly energy and signature K-Fed style, she commands attention."
Describe AUST.'s vibe.
"Both coming from retail backgrounds, we wanted AUST. to be a unique shopping experience. AUST. is a place people come to shop, but end up staying to hang out for a beer. We wanted to share our store with those around us and create a community within a boutique. Our store is simple and open concept with the clothing remaining the focal point."
How does LA compare to your homelands of Australia and Canada?
Hannah: "The luxe Beverly Hills woman is very different to the hippie Venice local or the hipster from Silver Lake. I find that the Angelenos draw their style inspiration from the people they look up to and they dress to make a bold statement about who they are.
Australian style in comparison is very reflective of their lifestyle, it's laid back and doesn't take itself to seriously. Aussies dress so they're comfy enough to lounge around the house, but could easily strut to the bar in a moments notice. They're effortlessly fashionable."
Kristin: "Coming from Toronto, I am used to dressing for four very different seasons. Light silks and lace dresses in summer, and chunky knits, fur and leather boots in the winter. Canadians love to mix it up and think outside the box. Moving to LA I thought I would miss this, especially the layering of heavy pieces in autumn, however I was pleasantly surprised when I realized in LA I would experience every season, just all in the same day. LA style is more laid back: layering amazing essentials, like a white tee and an amazing leather jacket."
Lastly, where are your fave places to eat, play and shop in LA?
Hannah: "I'm such a foodie, so this list is long!! Abbot's Pizza for salad pizza, True Food Kitchen for a bison burger, Mao's Kitchen for dan dan noodles, C&O Trattoria for those garlic balls, Malibu Seafood for fish and chips by the ocean, Tasting Kitchen for a fancy meal and the Braveheart cocktail, Wurstkuche for a sausage, truffle chips and beer?As Kristin and I always say, food before fashion!
Whenever I get Aussie visitors in town, first place I take them to is Hinanos on Washington! The best cheeseburger in LA (yep, I said it), icy beer mugs, sawdust on the floor, pool tables, locals and free popcorn.
Vintage shopping in America is next level! There are lots of great shops around Burbank, and also the Fairfax and Rosebowl markets are good for cheap and unique finds."
Kristin: "I love Bellisimo Venice's sandwiches! However, being gluten-free, I find it limiting on options that don't compromise taste. Don't be in a rush or hangry because these boys take their time putting love and care into each sandwich. It is NEXT LEVEL and big enough to share.
Being new to LA, I found an awesome community at Bryan Kest Power Yoga in Santa Monica without the pretentiousness of other yoga studios. All the instructors are awesome (and babes), but you can always catch me downward doggin' in Byron's class.
Originating in Toronto, Terroni is a family-run southern Italian eatery that was so good that the West Coast was an obvious expansion. They have the best cheese plate in town and combine amazing wine and cocktails with Italian dining that you will be talking about until you get it again the following week. You can find me at the bar with an Aperol Spritz eating the Funghi Assoluti.
I have frequented The Grove (I know I know; how cliché) for years on my visits here, and there is just something about that place. Not sure if it's the Frank Sinatra blasting around the fountain, the tiny bar inside the farmers market playing the Clippers game, the white marble bathrooms, or that it is the best Zara to shop in the city. Whatever it is I can't get enough? and they validate your parking."
Loving these awesome ladies and their inventory of chic wares? Head to the shop this Friday from 8pm to midnight to score 30% off at their monthly in-store party. Get yourself on the guest list by sending your deets on over to info@thisisAUST.com.
· AUST [Official Site]
· Aesop Bringing Aussie Apothecary to Abbot Kinney [Racked]
· Scotch & Soda Opens Its First SoCal Store on Abbot Kinney [Racked]
· Aussie's Seafolly Splashes Stateside with Fashion Island Shop [Racked]
· Margaret O'Leary Weaves Luxe Knitwear Shop into Abbot Kinney [Racked]