Womenswear and Menswear from Alvin Manalo & Adrien Amores
View recent St Augustine Academy Collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog.
Introduction to the Saint Augustine Academy Fashion Label
Australian-born designer Alvin Manalo first got his break in the fashion industry came in a store called ‘Luxe’ on Sydney’s Dowling Street, where he was shopping with a friend. A shop assistant approached Alvin to comment on the jeans he was wearing that were his own design – the shop assistant loved them so much that he asked if he could buy a pair. That evening the owner of Luxe called Alvin asked him to bring a selection of his jeans into the store, and with that chance encounter Alvin was on his way.
Alvin, despite having no formal design training, officially launched his womenswear and menswear label, ‘Saint Augustine Academy’ in 2002, teaming up with Adrian Amores, who he met in the mid-1990’s, while studying for an Economics degree at Macquarie University. Adrian took charge of the business aspect while Alvin took charge of the design side of things. Heavily influenced by the indie music scene, Saint Augustine Academy soon developed a cult following of musicians and fashionistas alike for its sharp suiting, skinny-cut denim, printed tees and limited colour palettes.
The Saint Augustine Acadamy soon became a regular in the fashion press, featuring in editorials in influential publications such as, Nylon Guys, GQ, Grazia, Harper’s Bazaar, The Sunday Magazine, Sportswear International, Selectism.com and The Fashionisto.com. The brand has also taken part in a number of fashion events including L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival and Rosemount Australian Fashion Week.
Sadly, in late 2011 Saint Augustine Academy announced that they were to cease trading for an indefinite hiatus after the Spring/Summer 2011-2012 collection. Previously the brand was stocked in some of the worlds most prestigious boutiques, including H.Lorenzo in Los Angeles, The Lawn in Singapore, Midwest in Tokyo, and in renowned Sex and The City stylist Patricia Field’s store, Hotel Venus, in New York. As well as, having their own stand-alone store in Sydney’s Surry Hills that was regularly visited by musicians from across the globe.
Aesthetic of the Saint Augustine Academy Fashion Label
“Indie-rock-alt-country-goth-mod-new-wave-post-punk-alicious with a touch of Cary Grant “ – Alvin Manalo.
Saint Augustine Academy is the fashion ‘label borne out of the vibrant and eclectic fashion of Sydney’s alternative music scene. Saint Augustine Academy draws its style from the vast spectrum of indie rock and roll and all the sub-genres therein – from the sleekness of the Mods to the hardness of the Punks, from the darkness of the Goths to the eccentricity of the New Wave movement. Signature features of Saint Augustine Academy’s collections are lean colour palettes, skinny denim and directional tailoring.
Fans of the brand have unsurprisingly included indie rock superstars MGMT, Bloc Party, The Black Lips, Friendly Fires, The Rapture and The Killers.
Saint Augustine Academy Fashion Label – Key Dates
- 2002: The ‘Saint Augustine Academy’ fashion label is launched by Alvin Manalo and Adrian Amores.
- 2008: The Saint Augustine Academy fashion label opens a stand-alone boutique in Sydney’s Surry Hills.
- 2010: Saint Augustine Academy showcases their Spring/Summer 2010-2011 collection, entitled ‘Crystal Ballroom’ at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week.
- 2011:Sadly, Saint Augustine Academy announced that they would be calling it quits, with an indefinite hiatus, at the end of the Spring/Summer 2011-2012 season.
Saint Augustine Academy – RIP
In the fashion industry it is difficult for independent labels at the best of times, but in the current turbulent economy, with high rental costs and a strong Australian dollar, it has become even harder. Evidence of this tough climate came in the November of 2011, when Saint Augustine Academy announced that they would be ceasing trading, with an indefinite hiatus, at the end of the Spring/Summer 2011-2012 season. It is a sad day for the Australian fashion industry, which indicates a need for increased support for independent designers, not only from consumers but also from the Australian government.
At the end of the Spring/Summer 2011-2012 season Alvin will be doing some travelling exploring new career opportunities, as well as learning yoga, attending life drawing classes and picking up his neglected guitar. Here at the Australian Fashion Review Blog we are certainly looking forward to what Alvin does next.
Founder and Chief Designer Alvin Manalo said of the decision:
“It’s been nearly 9 years, 15 collections, 10 countries. I’ve met and dressed our heroes, The Drums, The Horrors, Interpol, Black Lips and Nick Cave.
What they don’t tell you and what you can’t prepare yourself for is how hard this game really is. When you’re small, independent and don’t have all the resources in the world; it feels like a million full time jobs rolled into one. Designing takes up maybe 10% of what actually happens in the scheme of things…Burn out was imminent. It’s time to take a break.
The lease on our Bourke St store has ended and it’s been hard getting the right space and location right for the next phase of Saint Augustine Academy retail…We are taking this junction as an opportunity to take a hiatus to re-evaluate our internal organisation and make it more robust and efficient.
In the mean time I am also taking time to take advantage of different creative opportunities and projects that I have not had time for whilst running SAA full time…Thank you immensely for your support all these years, and please know that the next phase of the project is just around the corner.
We bid farewell to St Augustine Academy with the campaign of their final collection…best of luck to all those involved with their future endeavors.