James Cameron typifies what we look for in good local fashion: understated cool, good taste and high quality. Just stepping into his newly opened Collingwood store you can't help but feel that this is a designer worth paying attention to.
Since launching his eponymous label in 2003 with his brother Scottie, James Cameron’s classically inspired menswear has become renowned for its impeccable attention to detail, sharp silhouettes and quality construction. While others were busy super-shrinking the skinniest of skinny jeans and sourcing the brightest of bright neon dyes for their slogan tees, Cameron has been working steadily at creating distinctive and unique designs with timeless appeal. In addition to the rapturous applause he’s been receiving at fashion weeks and the plethora of awards, Cameron has also left most fashion events grasping stock orders from catwalk models desperate for a piece of his innovative label.
Cameron’s collections of suits, jackets, shirts, jeans and smart woollen knits are exactly the kind of things that a sharply dressed Melbourne man should be wearing. With this label it’s the little things that make the biggest difference, and it’s hard not to notice the thought and energy that’s gone into each piece. Just take a look at the jeans - cut from raw Japanese selvedge denim. For Cameron, raw jeans are always the way to go. “Try to always buy raw denim, for as time passes it becomes softer and truly unique; [it wears] in at your creases and not in some preordained location. Buy a straight cut, not necessarily tight, but straight. Loose jeans are for 12-year-olds; skinny for The Strokes. Leave the ironic fashion to the hipsters.”
In the final weeks of last year, Cameron moved to the new store from the Oliver Lane boutique he opened in 2007. Working with Universal Design Studio, Cameron has created a store that clearly reflects the clothes within it. “This was the first chance to properly explore what the label represented," he says. "I didn’t want the space to feel like a shop per se; I wanted the themes and ideas to override that, so that when you enter you begin your experience. You want to be part of that world; to look and feel good.”
Inspired by Jean-Pierre Melville’s classic 1967 film Le Samouraï, the boutique instantly evokes a sense of understated cool with its chequerboard tiled floors, a counter reminiscent of the police desk in the film and row upon row of cardboard archive files. All these touches are clearly indicative of Cameron’s eye for detail. “It was to be film-like, straight from the set. References were from the 1960s, specifically, the 1960s idea of the near future,” he explains. “Police stations in Paris and office suites of the period. Jean-Pierre Melville’s and Jacques Tati’s set design is second to none. We also looked at current artists and designers such as Thomas Demand and Dieter Rams. Ultimately, it needed to feel classic and new and fresh – all at the same time.”
The store is located on the corner of Smith and Gertrude Streets, and Cameron believes he has found the “perfect” site. “Around here they have strong community values and knowledgeable, design-aware locals. It’s thankfully clear of chain stores and has a sense of authenticity. We believe it’s a great stepping stone to our future”.