Let’s chat! Tropical Black
Today we are talking to Oliver Sivorajah from Tropical Black
Tell us about what you do.
We make the worlds most radical Hawaiian shirts.
[Our shirts] feature original artworks we hand sketch and they are based around the idea of beautiful tropics and also the darkness of the tropics, so there is a little bit of a message hidden in there.
These are your designs?
They are indeed. Tropical Black is myself – Olly Island – and my partner Sammy Skulls.
Can you tell us more about the inspiration?
So it’s born out of the duality of the beautiful tropics. The nature we’re so in love with – the palm trees, the sunsets and the crabs. But there is an element of destruction and death of nature featured in the artworks as well, so you might find a can of rocket fuel or skulls in the print also.
How did Tropical Black come to be?
Well I moved to Australia in 2012, I’m a bar tender by trade and I was bored one night and I decided to make a shit. So I went down to spotlight, bought a $100 sewing machine and I made my first shirt, on my first go, and I was addicted. Meanwhile my old friend Sammy Skulls was living on the sunshine coast and he was studying graphic design so we were chatting on the phone one day and I realised we could combine our superpowers and Tropical Black was born.
And the ethical drive behind Tropical Black is to show the environmental destruction of the tropics?
The two main things for us are the original artworks and the fact they are made from sustainable sourced eucalyptus. We’ll be releasing recycled plastic swim shorts in 2020.
What do you love about Surry Hills Markets?
Well there’s always a really great mix of people who come to Surry Hills Markets – So I’ll sell shirts to a 50 year old guy and a 20 year old girl – it’s lovely.
And I love Surry Hills – people come to have breakfast and a coffee so you feel like you’re making a day of it.