Richie Whillas launch his new heritage menswear label from the ashes of Kakadu
The rugged and svelte menswear Whillas & Gunn, the brainchild New York based ex-Sydney resident Richie Whillas, emerged from the ashes of renowned family run Australian workwear label Kakadu. Taking the meticulous eye for detail and hardwearing elements of Kakadu and twinning it with a contemporary eye for sartorial style and tailoring, Whillas & Gunn are breaking with the tradition of tough clothing lacking shape, giving it a contemporary edge. With the label hitting stores this Winter season, Dazed Digital caught up with Richie Whillas to talk about the family business.
Dazed Digital: So, what’s been going on?
Richie Whillas: Working hard...hardly working! I can't tell these days because I’m having a pretty good time of it of late.
DD: What was the inspiration behind the label?
Richie Whillas: Well… Whillas and Gunn is an off-shoot of Kakudu with rich working class values and heritage and vast resources in outerwear manufacture and distribution. This is combined with a passion for escapism, be it in the city or the country, and the contemporary silhouette. We aim to form a style with no boundaries, be it geographical or otherwise.
DD: Is it a contemporary spin off Kakadu?
Richie Whillas: Kakadu Australia is a family company since 1972 and is now in its third generation. Basically Kakadu has a deep archive of outerwear garments and fabrications. We’ve built off the same foundations and archives from Kakadu’s rugged outerwear, but with a polished fit for today’s man.
DD: What does the family think about the fashion orientation of the Whillas & Gunn?
Richie Whillas: My rather massive family is pretty proud and excited to see the new generation join the company and take it into the next 40 years.
DD: I heard on the grapevine that the factory you guys have can treat any fabric given? That true?
Richie Whillas: Yeah. We have a wax machine that my uncle designed. We can wax all kinds of fabrics, though naturally with some working better than others depending on the construction of the fabric. We’ve got some pretty interesting combinations we’re working on to be unveiled over the coming seasons. Keep an eye out.
DD: In your opinion, what’s the most exciting thing you’ve seen sartorially this year?
Richie Whillas: I’m liking three-piece suits, tapered trousers and bow ties at the moment. But I still don’t know how to do the suckers up though!