Though Bruce Slorach and Sophie Tatlow are world-renowned for their exquisite hand printed textiles created under the name Utopia Goods (with high-profile clients including Christian Louboutin), Bruce originally achieved cult-status in the 80s through his fashion labels with Sara Thorn, and time spent as Creative Director for Mambo. Although many don’t know the extent of his influence, Bruce can be credited as a fundamental part of shaping Australia’s streetwear aesthetic, even today. Much of his archival textile work from this period is held in the permanent collections of the NGV and Powerhouse Museum.
But back to Hamilton. ‘About 200 people showed up – we got mobbed!’, Sophie tells me of Bruce’s return to his hometown. Despite leaving at 16 (‘a country boy with big city dreams’), the local community embrace Bruce as one of their own. In fact, Hamilton Gallery were the ones who reached out to Bruce to hold Botanica. Established in 1961 and, since 2015, under the expert leadership of Director Sarah Schmidt, Hamilton Gallery holds one of the best art collections in Victoria (even Australia), featuring a renowned decorative arts collection.
Coming to the end of a busy year with Utopia Goods, which took Bruce and Sophie around the world, the creative couple are showing no signs of slowing down. In November the pair will hold an exhibition at Saint Cloche contemporary art space in Paddington, Sydney, where Bruce and Sophie will be debuting their brand new line of 16 custom-print wallpaper, and they’ll kick off the new year with another work trip to New York, where they have multiple stockists.
‘We work 24/7’, says Sophie, ‘life is short – who wants to sit down?’
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