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Welcome to Method & Whimsy, a storyteller’s exploration of creative processes, whimsy and personal expression 

 

Marching To The Beat Of Their Own Drum

Marching To The Beat Of Their Own Drum

In between sips of the signature Dog Days beer at Little Creatures, I’m usually observing the waitstaff sashaying like flamingos, ferrying plates of food like it’s an impossibly hip art-house flick. In truth, it’s a craft brewery with a no-rules policy to personal style and 150-member army of glorious ambassadors.

Little Creatures is a craft brewery in a proudly hipster precinct of Fremantle in Western Australia. An immense space with the capacity to seat 1500, it was once a crocodile farm, with drains on the floors and feeding gaps in the metal bars to prove it. 

I usually get a beer and take it out to one of the seaside tables. While the beer is crisp and clean, and the sea-salted chips complement it perfectly, my favourite part is to brazenly people-watch. There is a raw individuality to most of the elements of Little Creatures, and the most striking of it all for me, is the staff. No uniforms or dress codes, laid back languors or intentional strides, they look like the best versions of themselves — confident, at home and expressive. 

 Reg Loderoyke, the Venue Manager and the man responsible for hiring, tells me that he knows within the first 30 seconds, sometimes within just 5, if they'd be a good fit for Little Creatures. Reg is understated and intelligent, wears a grey tee shirt and a simple silver nose-pin. “We look for somebody who is comfortable with themselves, makes great eye contact, answers questions creatively. Sometimes it’s just the way they walk into the interview, or how they leave — it can tell you everything.”

 

Once they’ve found the perfect fit, they do their best to create an environment that encourages them to be themselves. “We ask them what their goals are — at work, and outside of it. And we create ways for them to achieve it,” he says, pointing to all the pretty flower arrangements. “Mel loves gardening —so apart from waitressing, she looks after our garden and does our arrangements. Sometimes she’ll come into work with bunches of flowers she’s salvaged along the way. She loves it. The chalk art is by another staff member.”

He feels that how people feel and perform at work has everything to do with how they’re doing outside of work —  they’re goals and ambitions, if they feel fulfilled. 

I decided to hang out with the staff and talk to them about individuality, courage and what it means to inhabit their truest expressions of themselves.

Megan Hume, 22

 

Hi Megan, I love your outfit. Tell me about it.

I got these pants from the Op Shop just yesterday because they fit great. And this is a very old top — it was funny, I got this top back when I was a frutairian and ate just Fruit. 

What does personal style mean to you?

It is an expression of who you are, of how you portray yourself in society. It is your inspirations — and could be a mix of some current trends and some old fashion. If you just follow trends without your own interpretation, it can feel really empty. Your sense of self, the way you carry yourself, all becomes your personal style. One day you can decide to be a Dolphin trainer, and on another day you can dress like a 60s housewife who got divorced. Take the ideas that you dream of and run with them.

When you started working here, did you get any style guidelines to follow at work?

They just told me that if I was wearing a singlet, I should have shaven arm pits. 

What kind of pieces do you look for?

It isn't a piece per say, but my hair is my most styled feature. I’ve had it all — purple hair, green, peroxide blonde. I used to stick closer to my natural dark shade, but then gradually went all out. No restrictions. Its the simplest form of expression, and yet, it tells everyone that you’re different. Its your own voice.

 

What kind of things do you enjoy wearing?

A lot of prints. With dresses, I choose something that’s cinched at the waist. I naturally have big hips and small breasts — I always pick things that will enhance my natural body shape. I love patterns. I've tried wearing all sorts of pant-suits — solids/ prints/ the real quirky ones — but I've finally decided that they just aren’t meant for me, sadly.

Have you ever faced any kind of bullying — active or passive — based on your style and how you choose to do things differently?

My mother raised both me and my twin sister to be really strong and confident. She would always tell me that i’m beautiful, that i’m a good person, that i’m doing good at life overall. That’s made sure that I have a strong sense of self.

Even though we were twins, there was no pressure on me or my sister to be like one another. We are fraternal twins, and usually one twin is smaller than the other. My sister was the smaller one, but neither of us faced the pressures of being a different size, or a different person. 

You have a twin — tell me more.

She lives in Melbourne, and is committed to a zero-waste lifestyle. She was a butcher for a while, and has her own full set of knives.

 

 Do you have moments of fashion doubt?

Yeah, of course. Sometimes ill catch a reflection of myself in the mirror and think — oh god. Sometimes we’d be out, and I wont feel comfortable in what i’m wearing and want to go home. But I have really supportive friends — we critique each other really honestly. Like if you have something in your teeth or your make-up has gone funky, ill make sure you change it before you see other people.

Indiana Moon Ward-Wiltshire, 23

 

What does personal style mean to you?

Personal style to me is about self expression, and has very little to do with trends.I usually dress based on the way I want to feel — and usually it is powerful, capable.

While out shopping, what kinds of things catch your eye?

I love patterns, and I notice craftsmanship. Things like needle work don’t get taken nearly as seriously as it should. I also pay attention to fabric feel. I tend to get frustrated with how a lot of women’s clothing is made. Comfort is very important to me. It is very rare to find something beautiful and comfortable. I mean, why would you wear something if you can’t jump around and do stuff in it.

Have you ever faced any kind of bullying — active or passive — based on your style and how you choose to do things differently?

I grew up in a country town, and I was always outdoors — foresting, logging etc. I was always different as compared to everyone in school. I remember wearing a floral headscarf to school on the first day. It was totally natural for me, but I got bullied for it. I also got treated funnily because I didn't own a washing machine — They thought my clothes smelled of the outdoors.

 

You look beautiful, and I can see you never compromised. How did you cope?

I was never good at pretending to be someone else. I always figured I might as well have a shit time being myself than pretending to be someone else. They had made up their mind that I was weird — there was no hiding it. I just never tried to fit it.

I come for a large family of women, and my mom has an androgynous style. She was the first person in her school to wear Levis Stove Pipes and Converse shoes. I grew up listening to all her stories, and being surrounded by women who weren't ‘typical’. They were all women who wore power outfits to go out there and get the work done.

What would you consider is a trait unique to you?

I will not wear anything that I am not comfortable in — that absolute lack of compromise on comfort is something unique to me. My friends always tell me that they envy how comfortable I am — to that I say, you can do it too. It’s your decision. I do really love femininity, but there should be a place for femininity and comfort to exist simultaneously.

 

Your hair is beautiful, have you always worn it like this?

I had very long hair, but I realized that the only reason I kept it that way is because other people loved it. Everyone would tell me that my hair was so beautiful. But it gave me headaches and was overall tough to manage. I realized that the reason to keep it was just the approval I got from others, so I took the plunge and shaved my hair. Recently, I had my first boy cut in a men’s salon — I was in an old school place, in an old salon chair — and it just felt amazing. So liberating.

 

Tobi Lynhe, 29

 

What does personal style mean to you?

I don’t think about it much, but it is about drawing on what you feel. I always go with what i’m feeling in my body. Some days I want no one to look at me, and on that day I’ll wear all-black. I feel a lot of things intensely, and that makes me want to hide away from the world at times.

You look great, Toby. What do you think it is about you that makes you stand out?

I think it is exactly the opposite of wanting to stand out. It is more about standing in — within yourself. It is usually attractive when people are themselves.

I really do love your hair.

Yeah it’s completely tied to me. I tried to cut it once, but then I felt it deeply. It’s a part of me.

 

Do you enjoy coming to work here?

Some times when I come into work, it feels like a cathedral. When the music is just right, and these wonderful people are going about being themselves, it just comes together. I love being here.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Philosophizing about life, dancing and playing basketball. When you feel something is trapped in your chest, the best thing to do is dance. My best jams are in my bedroom.

Have you ever faced any kind of bullying — active or passive — based on your style and how you choose to do things differently?

Yes, I was bullied when I was a kid. It completely wrecked me at the time, but now, I see that people who bully you are giving you what they don’t like about themselves. Its their way to release whats trapped in their chest — its their jam.

 

Laura Agostini, 19

What does personal style mean to you?

It is important to me that I am not someone else in my clothes. I go with whatever I feel like wearing and like. Also, I do not belong to or follow any particular style group or group of friends. I decide what I want to wear based on what I like.

What do you like about working at a place that encourages personal expression?

People are all unique here, and they are supportive. Everybody has their own style, body language. You learn how to adapt to differences, open yourself up to acceptance and you form strong bonds here.

What kind of piece catch your eye?

I love style that lets me express myself and my body. 

 

Do you think courage and style are linked?

I used to struggle with my weight earlier, but now I am grateful for my body. Courage is about self-love. People may think that courage is loud and expressive. But to me, courage is about loving yourself so much that you will do anything for yourself. And in doing that, you show yourself and radiate beauty. 

 

Thanks Reg, Megan, Indiana, Tobi and Laura! 

Hello, Beautiful.

Hello, Beautiful.

Flamingo-Watching in Bhigwan, India

Flamingo-Watching in Bhigwan, India