For most people the term “Japanese fashion” brings to mind super-kawaii images of Hello Kitty dolls and Harajuku Girls, but Sydney based streetwear store Via Alley proves that Japanese fashion can be easily translated to a Sydney market. We spoke to Via Alley store manager Ben to get the low down on what it’s like to run a store that caters for Sydney trendsetters. “Via Alley started from a love for all things creative and beautiful but inaccessible in Australia” says Ben, “which is why we've always sourced items from Japan as it was (and still is) a land of creativity”. These internationally sourced items include menswear, womenswear, accessories and gifts and the store works to source highly recognized but rarely accessible Japanese labels including I-Miusa, Graniph and Ben’s personal favourite Tsumori Chisato.
At the heart of everything Via Alley stocks however is a style that Ben refers to as “simplicity with a twist”. Walking around in-store it is evident that it is the place to buy beautifully created or classically designed pieces that offer something slightly different to the norm (my personal favourite was a profiterole ring by Q Pot). The clothing is also undoubtedly influenced by Ben’s own personal style icons: the Japanese fashion veteran Yohji Yamamato and the incredible red-haired Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. Via Alley has called Crown Street home for the last few years, and Ben links the stores success to its prime location, “we love being on Crown Street… it’s a happening area and we’re glad to be part of the Surry Hills hood” he says.
In addition to location Via Alley’s popularity is linked to the growing open-mindedness of fashion hungry Sydney locals, “As a ‘fashion city’ Sydney has progressed dramatically, we've got a lot more boutiques and global fast-fashion retailers which are changing the way we shop and the way we dress” says Ben, “we are seeing a lot of colour and patterns, which we love. Sydney definitely has its own fashion style”. It’s always exciting for the fashion-passionate team at Backyard Opera to be affirmed of the positive and exciting direction in which the Sydney fashion climate is heading, and Via Alley represents the growing relationship between Australian multiculturalism and the way we define our fashion culture.
Check out Via Alley in store at 285 Crown Street Surry Hills or online at www.viaalley.com