I tell you what, once you start hunting for amazing creative Australian expats you really do uncover some GEMS. (I feel like we've already unearthed a list that would last well over a month....!) I guess you often don't hear too much about Australian creatives once they leave home soil... and then before you know it they're basically famous internationally and STILL have no Australian stockists. What is WITH that!?
Today's gem is Megan Trimble, who grew up in Hong Kong, Canberra and Sydney respectively, but who now calls London home. Megan co-founded boutique eyewear label Zanzan in 2009 with fellow creative Gareth Townsend, and in just three short years since then their incredible sunglasses have been picked up by some of the most respected retailers in the world - including Liberty, Start London and Tenoversix in Los Angeles. No surprise really, one look at these incredible frames and I'm sure you'll agree, Zanzan eyewear really has 'cult status' written all over it.
Zanzan sunglasses are 100% hand made in England, which is very unique, as the eyewear industry has all but died out in the UK. We are very baffled that they currently have no Australian stockist (!?) but you can buy Zanzan sunglasses online at Farfetch. They have a new collection coming out next month - keep your eyes glued to the website! (Those 'Avida Dollars' frames, oh my...) Meantime, perhaps some fabulous Australian fashion retailer should make contact and ship some of these beautiful frames out for us to admire first hand... hint hint!?
Do check out the very excellent Zanzan website, and ALSO if, like me, you are developing an unhealthy obsession with Pinterest, you might be interested to know that Megan / Zanzan have a GREAT Pinterest page, well worth following!
We're thrilled to learn a little more about Megan and Zanzan today, and of course because we love to live vicariously, we've asked her a few questions about expat life in London...
I grew up in Hong Kong, Canberra and Sydney and have always been very seduced by fashion and photography. I was always a daydreamer and easily transported to a different place by the fantasies in The Face and Vogue. As a child I wanted to inhabit the exotic worlds of Norman Parkinson, Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton! Living in Sydney (where the sun shines constantly) I collected vintage Dior, YSL and Persol sunglasses. I noticed that most of them were either in made in France or Italy, and when I moved closer to these two countries something just clicked.
My curiosity kicked off an odyssey of discovery around the Jura Valley, The Dolomite Mountains and the French Alps aka the historical homes of secretive European eyewear artisans, which spurred me to conceive Zanzan. We produced our first collection in France in 2009 that was immediately picked up by Liberty, Start and The Shop at Bluebird here in London, and Maxfield and Tenoversix in Los Angeles.
The history and culture I was interested in was always European, and I was desperate to immerse myself in it from an early age. London was an easy starting point due to my Irish heritage that permits a very long visa. I've been here for eight years now with spells in New York and Los Angeles. I came to experience London's rich cultural life and it's been a real eye-opener.
Work-wise extraordinary people in all creative fields are often drawn to London at some stage in their lives, so it is always a privilege to work alongside or collaborate with such talent. Resource-wise there is never a lack of inspiration, we have the Victoria & Albert museum, The Tate Modern and The National Gallery, not to mention the city's architectural merits. The city has been built upon year-on-year since Roman times, it's just a case of opening your front to door to see exquisite examples of the Art Deco or Georgian eras.
Living-wise London is perfectly positioned to access any part of Europe. Nothing beats leisurely boarding the train at Kings Cross and two and half hours later popping out at Gare du Nord in the centre of Paris. It still makes my heart skip a beat!
We have a new collection coming out in a couple of weeks. I'm really looking forward to seeing my sunglasses on my friends and some of the stylish and interesting people I've met along the way. And also to having them professionally snapped by amazing photographers – it's really nice to have your work archived and captured in the two dimensional form. I'm the Creative Director at Zanzan and it's this side of the business that I'm really passionate about. I've been buried in fashion magazines since I was very little and it's wonderful to be featured in them now.
One of the best places to escape the bustle is the Chelsea Physic Garden. It’s a walled garden (i.e. a private park) founded in 1673 as the Apothecaries' Garden, with the purpose of training apprentices in identifying plants. It has a great cafe and is a lovely place to sit on the grass and watch the butterflies. It also has claims to have Europe's oldest rock pool!
This post was researched by Melbourne writer Lisa Marie Corso and written by Lucy Feagins.