AÃRK Collective

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
19th of March 2013
The 'Classic' watch in White Peach by Melbourne based AÃRK Collective.  Photo by AÃRK's creative director Cedric Austria.
The 'Classic' watch in Navy Ink by Melbourne based AÃRK Collective.  Photo by AÃRK's creative director Cedric Austria.
AÃRK Collective!   Left to right – Sara Su, Celica Austria, Karla Magayanes and Cedric Austria.  Photo by AÃRK's creative director Cedric Austria.
OK so L'oreal Melbourne FASHION WEEK kicks off this week, and whilst we don't really cover fashion around here, I thought it was an opportune time to bring this fabulous new discovery to your attention - TDF readers, meet AÃRK Collective! These ridiculously clever people have created this most impressive range of watches I have seen in such a long time.  I cannot BELIEVE how stunning and cleverly resolved these unisex watch designs are, and how beautiful the AÃRK Collective website is!  Best photography from an emerging label I have ever seen, in my long and illustrious career as a professional blogger. :) It's hard to believe four young Melburnians have created this label from scratch - if I wasn't paying close attention I would have most certainly assumed AÃRK must be some massive international brand.  Their range is just so beautifully presented and considered.  EXCELLENT WORK team AÃRK you are clearly a force to be reckoned with and there is little doubt you'll be in Monocle Magazine before the year is over. SO how do four young Melbourne creatives (with day jobs!) join forces to create a label and debut range of this high calibre?!  We thought we'd ask them a few questions and find out!  The answers below are by Sara Su, AÃRK's company director (just to clarify, he is a bloke!).
Tell us a little bit about AÃRK Collective – who is involved, and what do each of you contribute to the group dynamic of your label?
There are four of us who make up AÃRK Collective. Auver Cedric Austria (you can just call him Cedric!) is our Creative Director. As his title suggests, he's the man behind everything creative, including (but not limited to) our product design, branding and website plus all the photography that you see. His background is in animation and he also holds the title of Senior Art Director at XYZ Studios. Then there’s me, Sara Su – my business card says that I’m Company Director. My role lies in the business-development side of things – making sure that things get made and run according to plan. I’ve got a pretty broad background in business and a degree in Entrepreneurship from RMIT (yep, that's a legitimate degree!). And I was raised in the rag trade; my family operates one of the last standing clothing manufacturers in Melbourne. My partner – Celica Austria (Cedric's sister), and Cedric's partner Karla Magayanes play all-encompassing support roles. They are equally involved in the decision-making process; they’re the glue that holds us all together. Both have their own strengths: Celica currently works as an Account Manager / Project Manager at Right Angle Studio, and Karla is our retail specialist – she has over ten years of retail management experience. Just to clarify: Celica and Cedric are siblings. I know Cedric through Celica and Karla through Cedric. So I guess you can definitely say it's a family thing!
What spurred you to launch AÃRK and how long has it been in the works?
We've been working on AÃRK for over two years now. Like all good things, it started as more of a passion project. It was our way to put all of our ideas and strengths into something we all believed in. To be honest, we never intended to be in the watch business – it came out of a passing thought while we were talking about objects that pull on people’s heartstrings. We all felt that a watch was exactly that – an object of desire that tells a story about the individual wearer.  When we looked into the market, we didn’t really find any other brands or designs that we felt we could connect with. So that’s how AÃRK Collective came into being.
What influenced the AÃRK aesthetic?
The look and feel of each model in the AÃRK range is shaped by our appreciation for minimal design, led by Cedric's distinct style – he always keeps it playful yet simple. You can definitely see this in all our branding, website imagery and packaging, too. We use shapes and geometry to drive the form and function of each model; Celica and Karla also play a big role in influencing AÃRK's aesthetic with their discerning tastes and senses of style. We developed a series of unisex timepieces was because we wanted our three models, each with their own sets of finishes, to connect with different people. We like to think that our timepieces reflect a wearer who has a true appreciation for good design and well-made products – these are the people we design for, they’re who we like to connect with and it's because of their support (here’s lookin’ at you, friends and family) that we can continue to do what we love doing most.
What's next for AÃRK? Will you launch other products or stick exclusively with watches?
That's a great question. We’ll always see ourselves first and foremost as a design company, but as to what we dabble in in the future – who knows? For the moment, we get a kick out of designing watches. You’ll definitely see more great designs, perhaps more of the unexpected.  As the old saying goes, 'Watch this space!' (and pardon the pun).
The 'Iconic' watch in Inox by AÃRK Collective.  Photos by AÃRK's creative director Cedric Austria.
The 'Classic' watch in Tortoise by AÃRK Collective.  Photos by AÃRK's creative director Cedric Austria.
Development drawings by AÃRK's creative director Cedric Austria.
AÃRK watch pieces waiting for assembly.  Photo - Cedric Austria.

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