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How Melbourne’s only streetwear-based social enterprise nabbed an international collab

WORDS BY JASMINE WALLIS

The power of fashion partnerships.

I call HoMie’s co-founder and creative director, Marcus Crook, on an important Thursday morning. Marcus is at the warehouse in Melbourne preparing for the brand’s first-ever international collaboration launching that night; a line with American streetwear label Champion.

While the social enterprise has been a Melbourne institution for close to six years, you can hear the excitement in Marcus’ voice as he shares what this means to the Australian brand. 

“It’s a bit of a pinch-yourself moment. We wore Champion as kids and they’re the oldest streetwear brand there is. It’s surreal but it’s a good acknowledgement that they’re happy to be associated with us and support the work we do.” 


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The “work they do” he is referring to are the programs that HoMie creates to support young people affected by homelessness or hardship. The profits raised by the fashion label go towards achieving its mission, meaning the social enterprise can support young people, giving them the skills and confidence to build a new future.

Champion has been a supporter of HoMie for four years, which made collaborating with the 100-year old brand on this streetwear line a no-brainer for the social enterprise. “The partnership has been really genuine and they’ve been part of our social impact before jumping on board as a clothing partner,” Marcus says. 

“Champion work with young people from our program in their stores for the eight-month work placement aspect of the paid internship. It’s awesome to have Champion in our corner and guiding us.” 

Their collaborative designs feature a range of hoodies, T-shirts and socks, available in red, grey, black and white. But the focal point is the embroidered logos which Marcus says signifies “the two brands coming together for a greater cause”.

 

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HoMie’s CEO Nick Pearce agrees with this sentiment, explaining how fashion partnerships can dispel competition between brands and help create something bigger than themselves. “The spirit of collaboration these days in this current world and climate, this notion of amplifying voices just works so well,” Nick says passionately over the phone. 

“Examples like this demonstrate a changing of the tide and rather than it being a traditionally competitive space by both being streetwear brands, it shows the nature of a collaborative spirit and what you can collectively achieve through amplifying one another’s voices and messages.”

It’s no coincidence that the social enterprise has collaborated with another streetwear brand – as Nick explains, it’s this style of clothing that best represents today’s youth.

“Streetwear is something that traverses time and has an engaged, conscious cohort. It’s inclusive, it’s a community that’s very socially minded and cares about the right things.” 

The quality of the embroidered garments gives the duo’s collection an elevated look and a classic feel – these look like pieces that will stand the test of time. And this focus on longevity is integral to their collaborative partnership. It’s something the duo explored late last year when they joined forces to create a limited-edition, upcycled collection, Reborn, made from donated off-cuts and excess materials. 

Marcus says that they were able to go ahead with the Reborn line while COVID put the latest design collaboration on hold. “This has been two years in the making. We were meant to launch mid last year but COVID stopped that. Now it’s finally coming to fruition.”  

Despite the delay in production, the international partnership is big news for an enterprise that began out of three friends wanting to break down the stigmas associated with homelessness. 

Marcus sounds both humbled and grateful as he shares how this collaboration, set to be stocked in Champion, HoMie and Universal stores, will help young people. “We’re still a relatively small brand and partnering with Champion will help elevate us and one hundred per cent of profits will go towards supporting our social impact programs.” 

From creating whole collections out of off-cuts to partnering with an internationally renowned streetwear label, this looks like only the beginning for the Melbourne enterprise, proving the power that comes from fashion partnerships. 

While discussing what’s on the cards next for the brand, Nick doubles down on the significance of the social enterprise’s international collaboration. “For us, we always want to make sure we’re experimenting, challenging and seeing what else we can do. You’ll definitely see HoMie more in the spirit of collaboration going forward.” 

Shop HoMie X Champion here.

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