This is my pal Joe. We both come from Sydney, we both went to art school, and we both love old things. When I think about the term ‘passion’, Joe always comes to mind because it mildly describes his relationship to vintage and menswear. He has ace style, and an encyclopaedic mind for textiles, watches, old military gear, and garment hardware. Yes, if I send him a picture of a zipper on a vintage jacket that I’ve picked up in Chatuchak market (Thailand’s biggest market, and a great one for vintage digging), most likely Joe will be able to tell me where the jacket comes from, how old it is, and if it matches the age of the actual garment, in the case of a reconditioned piece.
Spending quality in New York time for a change of scenery, Joe found himself working for the (to me) dreamy label RRL. It wasn’t long before his perfectly put together ensembles started to be noticed by style huntsmen (the ones we once ogled during couch potato time back home in Sydney). Joe’s popped up on Backyard Bill, The Satorialist, Highsnobiety, Refinery 29, GQ, and many more hashtag menswear-spired publications who straight up gave props where they were clearly deserved… just to name a few, right? Eye widening moments like these are what make me realise that being passionate about something is a very special quality to have. To be able to find your true passion in life, and have the courage to live out a life driven by this passion is a remarkable thing indeed. Nevertheless, Joe’s levelheadedness and humble sensibility has always kept his feet firmly in the ground and his head from floating to the clouds. One thing I admire is his focus on staying true to himself, which is a personal quality that I have high regard for.
Some of my fondest memories with Joe are days experimenting with a natural indigo dying process in my backyard (a weekend that transformed all the white items in my wardrobe into blue – not to mention my cushions and tableware), eating bacon salad in a wonderfully wooden 40s New York diner, surviving a horrendously humid Hong Kong for tasty plus textiled goodness, post-exploration street stand Muslim chicken rice in Bangkok, and of course digging for vintage treasure along the way. Right now you’ll find Joe stationed in his heritage city, Hong Kong, doing what he does best at Double RL, digging, eating good grub, collecting good stuff (like wonderful textiles and local heritage t-shirts), sourcing parts for his tightly curated tumblr, and wearing things really WELL. A great lesson in finding your own unique style, having fun with it, and wearing things without too much care.
I shot the portraits of Joe below on his last visit to Bangkok. He is a great inspiration for me to wear garments that speak their own unique story, and to understand where your things come from. As a cook and an eater, I find this rule in provenance a refreshing reminder to always question where things come from, even if it isn’t food. A Romantic perspective on life, but something that often gets lost in the functioning order of our busy lives. I’m sure looking forward to my next adventure with Joe. He knows what’s good, and he knows the meaning of living the funnest life possible. So here we go, my first #funnestlifepossible file via correspondence from Hong Kong with Joseph Au.
P.S. Joe, hurry up and start your menswear line please.
Q/ Describe WHAT YOU DO as if you were talking to a five-year-old.
I collect old junk which makes me happy
Q/ Tell us how you slipped into VINTAGE
I grew up going to thrift shops, as I went more often I learnt more about the things I was buying. The first pieces of clothing I collected were tweed jackets from the 1960’s
Q/ What did you have for BREAKFAST this morning / What do you wish you had for BREAKFAST this morning?
Dumplings and tea
Q/ What does the word GOODNESS mean to you?
Both mental, physical, and also spiritual health.
Q/ Draw us a picture of JOE STYLE.
[he draws a portrait of himself wearing a bucket hat and wide pants that he’s coloured in with blue, a short sleeved wide shirt with a peace symbol on the front with a plain white tee underneath, a red bandana draped around the neck and what look like sneakers without laces… or maybe they’re boots?]
Q/ What is a typical SUNDAY in your world?
Working! [sad face]
Q/ What was the last thing you GOOGLED?
JD McPherson – Renaissance Rock and Roll, Blues Artist.
Q/ Who’s IG account distracts you MUCHLY?
notjustnat – amazing textile artist from Melbourne.