Although this year has been touch and go - for us, Merchants has expanded more rapidly than we could have ever anticipated, and that's thanks to you legends!
In the past twelve months, we've done some incredible things. We've had the opportunity to work with amazing creators, such as Wezlew and Sam Corlett, incredible artists such as Coco Loberg, musicians such as The Dreggs, Kim Churchill and The Rions and we've met so many legends on the way!
We put on our first curated event, opened a new store and released four collections; our team of 2 has grown to a team of 10, and we have more and more people joining the Merchants family every day - to say we're chuffed is an understatement.
We've travelled, we've partied, we've loved, we've cried, and we've pulled off some of our most significant moves yet.
So let's take a trip down memory lane...
Daisy Capsule, February
To begin 2021, with the help of good friend Sam Corlett, we collaborated to create the Daisy Capsule. An ode to the battle scars of life and beauty that lies thereafter. "Going forth, with love, patience and compassion, we need to allow those dying petals to fall as we grow, so we can serve with lightness. That's the journey home. May our Daisy Line remind you: Welcome Everything, Attach to Nothing." - Sam Corlett
The Wander Collection, April
We saw the release of The Wander Collection, which was forged to play homage to the adventurous spirits, the travellers and storytellers, nomads and rovers. This collection saw us introduce Black and Blue Sapphire stones for the very first time.
The Culture Series
Although we loved releasing new pieces for you guys, we put our heads together and decided it was time to really dive deep and create something that enabled us to connect. Enter the room, Merchants Culture Series, an interview/vlog style video series favouring the artisans, the earth-dwellers, the creators, and the movers. This series offers our community a glimpse into the 'behind the scenes of the brand and the incredible people that make it.
The Liminal Collection
Before we knew it, it was back to the drawing board and Matt put his head down to design our most popular collection yet. The Liminal Collection. A thought-provoking collection that includes hand-etched pendants with incredible detail, raw hammered rings, and for the first time ever, handmade chains.
Our Very Belated, First Birthday
And to celebrate the release, we combined it with a very, very belated one-year birthday party and took over The Dust Temple in Currumbin for a sold out event. We somehow managed to squeeze 220+ people into the venue in between rolling COVID lockdowns and restrictions (arguably the only brand crazy enough to organise an event of that magnitude in the middle of COVID restrictions).
We had the Liminal jewellery on display in their own gallery, food trucks, multiple bars and launched The Liminal Campaign video filmed by Nathan Prostamo and Olly Edmondson and with help from our mates The Dreggs and Felipe Baldomir, we relished in the fading sunlight and left on cloud nine.
The Story Of The Merchant & The Sun
In between designing collections, Matt and his good friends, Nathan and Olly worked tirelessly on the official Merchants brand video, and the story of the Merchant and the Sun.
A project that was 6+ months in the making—this was a story of everything this brand is; adventure, nostalgia, courage, passion, but most importantly - connection. Connection to the natural world, to the community, to culture and creation. This video is the very soul of Merchants, and its heart, the people. The word 'it' was used repetitively, inviting anyone watching the video to welcome their own passions, ambitions and drive - "I imagine 'it' born inside of us all."
The Gold Collection, October
October had us teetering on the edge of our seat as we waited for the next collection to arrive. We were ready for the next challenge and made sure we stayed true to our motto, Make Few, Design Well - we created Merchants Gold. 18k vermeil gold, delicately layered on 925 recycled silver. Made to last, incomparable in style, innovative in concept and impeccable in craftsmanship, Merchants Gold, added a level of timeless elevation to our designs.
For this release, Hamish and Matt really wanted to take the campaign to another level and went all out with the planning, conceptualising and execution—which included hiring a yacht, high-profile models, reels of super 8 film stock, negronis, a number of Gold Coast's best photographers and videographers and an impressive assortment of analog and digital cameras.
Black Friday Campaign
We pulled off our most extensive and perhaps most meaningful marketing campaign to date, our anti-black Friday campaign, Break Tradition, Not The Planet and solidified once again that Merchants is a brand at the forefront of change. We took over billboards across Australia, had sign holders take to the streets, and created a visual campaign that was hard to ignore to raise awareness around overconsumption and the grim reality of the fashion industry. #blackfridayforchange. Instead of playing into the bullshit of yet another pointless sale on the Monday, we donated 50% of profits to ActionAid Australia and raised almost $5k for garment workers in India, Bangladesh and Cambodia.
We Raised Over $27,000
To date, the Merchants community has banded together to raise over $27,000 towards not-for-profit organisations such as Mindful Aus, Black Dog Institute, ActionAid, and the Australian Cancer Council. We also partnered with organisations such as The Brotherhood who raise awareness around Men's mental health.
The House Of Merchants
We opened The House of Merchants our amazing new shop front, in house studio and Gold Coast's go-to retail boutique that will double as an event space and be a place for creatives to meet creatives.
As you can see, this year was HUGE for us at Merchants and kept us extremely busy and next year will be no different. We have huge plans already underway for 2022 and although we wish we could share them with you all now, you'll have to wait.
One thing we can say for sure though, is we will continue to produce and create unique, bespoke pieces tailored for the change-maker. We will continue to seek and impose the most ethical and sustainable practices we can. We will continue to challenge the hierarchal systems, push the grain and be a voice for change in this industry,
We aren't just a fashion brand - Merchants of the Sun is a movement, a family, and a community.
Join the collective.
Matt, our Founder, designed every single one of these collections by hand, he directed and led every campaign and initiative, and created a majority of the graphics you have seen online and offline over the year.
From the billboards designed across Australia to the handrawn titles in your emails, from the original Sunwalker sketches to the BTS analog film photos, the interior design of the House of Merchants to the clean aesthetic of the packaging;
Matt ensured his unique vision was prevalent through every aspect of his brand.
An Australian designer and creative to his core, and at his heart, the Merchants community begins with his meticulous detail and absolute passion for everything he does.
The office team at Merchants is closing out an incredible year on the 19th of December, however the shop will still be open so feel free to stop in.
Wishing you all a great and relaxing holiday!