In a warehouse tucked away in West End, four lads spend their days handcrafting donated and scavenged recycled timber from skate decks and guitars to create the stylish frames of Holloway Eyewear. Barefoot, smiling and content with life, the foursome – co-founders Raffaele Persichetti and Martin Gordon Brown, along with friends Sam Bailey and Logan Fairchild – dedicate their hours to crafting a brand that not only ‘creates to reduce’, but also educates younger generations to live a self-sustainable existence that’s kinder to the planet. And when the working day is done, the boys put down their tools, pick up their instruments and play music all night long in the studio out the back of their workshop.
I was born … in Rome. My father is Italian and my mother is half French, half Malay – she brought me to Australia when I was about five. I grew up … on a cattle farm in the bush in Victoria, until we moved up to Noosa.
Since I was a kid … my biggest passion has been the outdoors – either being in the mountains or at the coast. My passion for the environment has always been with me. I’ve also always loved making things with my hands.
My artistic and environmental side … definitely comes from my mother.We grew up quite naturally on the land, moving from farm to farm and surviving by making things and selling them at the markets. My dad comes from more of a medical side and he’s passionate about discovering new things about the body and helping people in that way.
The Holloway philosophy evolved … from our natural lifestyle. Marty, Sam and I have all grown up in natural environments and so we’ve based our lives around respecting that. The brand has basically evolved from that necessity and that passion and respect for the environment.
We love to … skate, snowboard and surf. And we’ve always been tinkering, making boards, guitars and old wooden fins, and repairing all our instruments. We’ve all studied industrial design, which has helped with the technical aspects of production.
It all began with a beach pipe dream … that I had a couple of years ago. I’d been making a wooden surfboard and wanted to make a wooden sunglasses frame for myself. And it all evolved from there.
The main emphasis of what we do … is not making a product for the sake of making a profit. We’re trying to encourage and inspire children, because they really are the future of change and can focus on a lifestyle of sustainable manufacturing. It’s an environmental movement where you can create products that reduce landfill and use existing materials to keep it in a cycle where we can inspire, create and educate people to think about what they use and how they use it.
You can’t stop humans from … creating and wanting to develop things. But they need to think more carefully about how they do it and how they interact with things, and what they’re affecting, in order to give humanity a chance to stay alive.
If you’re going to go through life … and just consume and not think about what you’re doing or try to make a difference, what have you really done? It’s quite selfish and greedy for your own personal self-interest or gain.
All of our materials are … donated or scavenged from demolition sites, or from aborists, and off the streets. We also get them from professional skateboarders and we give local children prizes to collect old skateboards.
The name ‘Holloway’ comes from … old woodworking slang. When a tree dries, or if there’s a dead tree standing, a hollow section forms in the middle like the clearway of a didgeridoo.
The greatest challenge for us … has been the fact that the materials we use to create our eyewear are shunned by the rest of industry, because we’re not using metal or plastic. But that’s only because it’s different and they’re scared because it’s competitive. We don’t go out there to try to convince people; if they’re interested, they’re interested. Our materials have the same effect that a metal or plastic frame has, but there are a lot of critics out there – older optometrists and old-school ladies and gents – who are totally against timber frames. But that’s a whole different mentality and you can’t judge people. You just have to continue to show them different ways of doing things and stay true to what you have to do.
My greatest achievement is … being able to participate in and create this movement that sustains and supports our lifestyles. And also being able to set an example for that way of being and live exactly how we want to live while educating an awareness of these issues.
Success comes down to … what the individual person defines it to be. For me, success is ending every day understanding that there’s no need to feel guilty, because what I’m doing is positive for other people and for the environment. Being able to live like that and do what I love to do – and do good at the same time – is success to me.
Eventually we would like to … move to the land and run totally off solar, wind and water. We’re quite sustainable here where we are, except for electricity and the plastic we use in the lenses. But that said, if you look after your lenses, you can keep them for life. Our goal is to, within about two years, set up a sustainable acreage where we grow our own timber to make our own products and run everything off the land. We really want to create a movement for an environmental revolution where people live self-sustainable lifestyles and create things that reduce landfill and have a positive impact on the environment.
There’s an uprising to an environmental revolution … and it’s happening more and more. We’re just a small part of it.
There are a lot of people … who inspire me, such as David Suzuki, David Attenborough and Yves Chouinard, because they are giving people answers and practising what they preach.
I’m also inspired by … the natural environment and getting out there and being part of it. We usually go to Mount Glorious twice a week to touch base with the waterfalls and chill out and feel like we’re in the middle of nowhere. There’s no greater inspiration than the natural environment.
I find peace … in nature, but also in the company of people who are pure and truthful to themselves.
I respect all religions … and their philosophies. But if I do see a god, it’s Mother Nature and the Earth, because humans are just a part of that. If we respect it and work with it, we can have and do whatever we want. But if we work against it and take too much and don’t give back, then it will cause problems. And that’s why there are all these natural disasters occurring.
You just need to … love what you do and live your life to do good and to make a difference.