Pocket Guide: Sydney shopping as told by Emma Kidd, BenConservato

Emma Kidd of BenConservato is a full time artist and illustrator, who dreams up quirky, imaginative creatures in her work. Through reviving and recycling old pages of books to create her art, her approach to style exists in a similar realm. We caught up with Emma Kidd to talk art and fashion.


On expendable fashion.

I am a “wear ‘til it dies” type of person. I tend to buy all my shoes from Camper these days. Why? A Euro habit, perhaps. I bought myself a pair of boots from there this season, and I hope that I’ll be able to buy another pair almost the same when they fall apart. Other than that, I have certain styles of clothes I like, and when they die, I trawl about for another to replace it. Just ask any of my family who has seen my knee-length A-line skirt (preferably in corduroy) fall apart and what happens afterwards.

On shopping for kids.

I see what I would consider high-fashion kids clothes, and they are beautiful, but my rough and tumble little boy would destroy them, if I could ever get them on him. I do buy odd things from Freddy Alphabet (kids T-shirts), Paul & Paula Handmade (they are based in Melbourne), Bonds (they old fall back), Cotton on Kids, and just whatever will last. He refuses to wear the upcycled jumpers I used to buy him from a woman in the U.K. called Mini Magpie. They are so joyful. He claims they itch. Very dull. Mr & Mrs Smith (www.mrandmrssmith.net.au) in Manly and Shorties in Newtown also have some great prints for kids.

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On her personal style.

I am a black wearer and have been since I was about 17. My mother thinks I went through a goth stage, but I think it was just layers of black vintage. I do love prints, and colour, but I feel like a complete imposter when I wear it. I have a couple of vintage Haori that I occasionally roll out, but generally like corduroy or linen (One Teaspoon is really great for corduroy and velvet pants), wool jumpers (I bought a couple from Obus last season that weren’t black!), and Uniqlo for black basics.

On art supplies.

If I am buying in person, there are three I like, Oxford Art Supplies, Ecersleys, and a local for me in Seaforth called Art Smart. I used to like Oxford in Darlinghurst because it was a bit chaotic, and seemed to have a big variety of things for all the different creative types that would go there (possibly because of the art school up the road!)

On supporting local creatives.

I class my main seller in Sydney Sweets Workshop in Summer Hill (www.sweetsworkshop.com). They are fabulous and friendly and do all the hard work while I hide in my flat painting. Other than that, a new shop in Mona Vale called Made in Design (www.madeindesign.com.au) opened recently with a large collection of my creatures. They also sell some beautiful homewares, accessories and jewellery.


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