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Gypsies and Gentleman are Alex Zucchi (vocals), Steve Frances (guitar), John Balestri (guitar), Trent Bulfin (bass guitar), and Mitch Bell (drums).

RAW:Sydney alt-rock band Gypsies and Gentlemen takes home the 3rd Annual Australia RAWards accolade for RAW Musicians of the Year! With lovely, resounding vocals, sunny guitar sounds, and consistently great beats across their tracks, the band's eclectic and multidimensional, indie rock sound was sure to please. We hosted a short Q&A with lead vocalist Alex Zucchi to talk about the band's success and how they've evolved into the musicians they are today.



How does it feel to take home the national accolade in your art category?

We were all pretty blown away to tell you the truth. We hadn't realised that there was a national competition involved when we signed up for the RAW showcase. It's a great feeling to be recognised for your craft by anyone really, but for it to be on a national scale and decided by industry professionals makes it even more rewarding.

What's influenced you, as a band, to arrive to where you are today.
All of us have musical backgrounds starting from a fairly young age, so our love of music brought us together to form Gypsies and Gentlemen. We've been consistently writing and gigging for about 4 years now and with that a constant evolution of our sound. The drive we have to share our music with more and more people is what has really pushed us to where we are now. We want to write music that we love to play and that people will want to listen to. That desire doesn't end at a particular song or on a certain achievement, either. It's a lifetime pursuit. This award will only push us to work harder and reach the next milestone, whatever that might be.



How would you describe your style?
Tough question. Music is such a personal experience and boxing it into a category seems a difficult task! We're not fans of titles because we feel it can alienate people from your music. A simple title can stop someone from giving your music a chance. Our answer is to give our music a listen and decide for yourselves ... but if you really want basic description it would probably have to be alternate indie rock.

What/who inspires you creatively?
I gather inspiration from everything really—music, film, art, everyday life. Sometimes I'll see something and a word or line will pop into my head, then I'll quickly write it down in my phone and that can become the foundation for a new song. Ideas can come from anywhere. As a band, we also have a lot of different tastes in music, which really helps to bring a lot of flavours to the table. We all bring something of ourselves to the writing process and that is what gives us our unique qualities as a band.

Gypsies and Gentleman are currently finishing up recording time in the studio and anticipate releasing new music in the near future.

Follow the band as they continue their journey on facebook and learn more about these fellas on their site.
RAW:Dallas fashion designer Venny Etienne of LeVenity wins the 6th Annual RAWards accolade for RAW Fashion Designer of the Year! 

"It is truly an honor and even shocking to know that I won," says Etienne. "There [was] some stiff, and I mean STIFF, competition and I really wasn’t thinking too hard about winning it all because of the amazing talent I saw throughout the U.S. But, this is definitely an honor. I know that I put my heart and soul into creating that collection last year, so it was a lot of emotions seeing it judged on such a grand scale and I am very fortunate that it receiving a huge recognition on a national level."

This Haitian-American designer grew up in Brooklyn, NY and attended the Fashion Institute of Technology of New York. The collections he releases wow us every time we check in with him. It's no wonder that this designer has won over the admiration and attention of the local and national judges. Etienne attributes much of his success thus far to his work ethic, drive, and the other creatives and visionaries he's met along the way.

"Throughout the years, I've told myself, keep God first, be nice to people, show them your best work, and never let them see your worst. That is exactly what I did in the fashion industry. I [am] grateful to be connected to some awesome people in the industry who were able to guide me such as: D’Marsh in New York and Willie Johnson here in Dallas, TX. They were the initial ones who taught me the ropes of this industry. And then I met Shingo Sato, based out of Milan, and he completely changed my whole perspective of how to create garments. With the work I created, I was able to build a team that believes in my vision and I am so ever grateful for my backbone and voice Ashtin, my design assistant Lemark, and my partner-in-crime Xavier. Now, it is just us taking each task at a time and seeing where each opportunity takes us."

LeVenity's style is sharp, bold, and precise. When we envision the ultimate elegant—but fierce—"power suit," this line of garments is exactly what we see. The modern shapes he uses are flattering, enhancing the female form. 

"All of my creative energy and style is injected in the garments that I create for my brand. My brand is completely opposite of my personal style; it is very edgy, and strong—all created with luxury, fine fabrics. I am inspired by a confident, sophisticated woman, that also has a soft edge."

What's next for Etienne? 

"Wow. A lot is happening right now after the win, and I am super excited. But first and foremost, I want to finish school. I am anticipating showcasing my Spring ’16 collection at LA Style Fashion Week in Oct, which was generously gifted as part of my RAWards prize package. After showing the line in LA, we will be diligently seeking investors to create a small production run of the collection and, God-willing, seek a strong PR firm that will take the collection to buyers and to other people in major cities such as NY, Dallas, LA, ATL, Miami, and Chicago."

Keep up with this fine fashion visionary; he's going places. We'd bet on it.

Learn more about this designer, peruse more of his collection, and follow his latest and greatest on his site.
RAW:Brooklyn accessories designer Samantha Nania takes home the award for the 6th Annual RAWards Accessories Designer of the Year; and, frankly, it's no surprise to us — her work is truly incredible. 

"I feel extremely honored to have won RAW Accessories Designer of the Year," exclaims Nania. "It came as a total shock to me. Even when I was first showcased with RAW, I was surprised that they had simply stumbled upon my jewelry on BeHance. I feel truly lucky and I'm so excited for the future!"

  

Her accessories pieces seem effortlessly elegant. Utilizing a minimal and very intentional, precise aesthetic, Nania transforms natural materials into chic, abstract designs, and elevates jewelry to wearable works of art.

"I view my work as minimal, sleek, and geometric and organic at the same time. I have always found that my work is almost opposite to the things that I buy," says Nania. "I tend to go for highly-patterned things. One of my favorite artists is Gustav Klimt, but I always organize my spaces in a minimal way and I guess that’s how it relates back to my art. Everything has a place, and that place is specific and important. Any arc, point, angle, corner, they all have a proper place where their innate form can be respected in its simplest way."

What's next for this award-winning accessories designer? 

"Next on the horizon (thanks to RAW!), I will have my work at Accessories The Show in a section called The Nest. The Nest is an area for up-and-coming designers. I am hoping that through this show, I will make some new clients and really get my business off its feet!"

View more of her work and follow her journey on her web site.
RAW:Adelaide hair artist Nadia Semanic has been awarded the accolade for Australia 3rd Annual RAW:Hairstylist of the Year. 

"It is extremely rewarding for me," says Semanic. "I truly feel so humbled and honoured to be chosen out of a talented bunch of people. I am just so thrilled that the judges liked my work enough to give me the title."

Her many achievements have not come effortlessly. By dedicating years to her craft, and creating marvelous, award-worthy sculptures out of locks, Semanic elevates hairstyling to a form of art through her visionary work. 

"The journey began for me at Chi Hair Skin Body in South Australia. I started in 2008, when I was seventeen with one goal in mind — that was to be the best that I could be and eventually express my love for all things artistic through hair," says Semanic. "I worked hard through my apprenticeship, did a lot of training to give myself a good grounding, and entered the more competitive arena. I started first with state competitions, and once I was achieving really well, I began doing competitions on a national level."  



Semanic's creative editorial work is captivating, leaving a viewer in awe of the art that can be accomplished with hair. 

"I love the whole process of working with other creative people (e.g. photographers, makeup artists, and stylists) to create work that is amazing and reflect certain theme. I have been fortunate that I have been recognised both nationally and internationally for my photographic work."

So, how does Semanic drum up such fantastic ideas for hair? 

"Hair is the last thing I look to for inspiration when I am doing any creative work," she says. "For me, I find I get most of my inspiration from nature, for its natural formations, and art for the way it makes someone feel when they are looking at it. With any work I do, I am doing it because I am truly inspired by the idea. I want people to feel an emotional connection with it; I want them to feel what inspired me."

Follow her work and progress on her instagram.
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