FEW PEOPLE EMBODY the style of Melbourne’s inner north quite like Marcus Crook. Channeling big Y2K energy one day and thrifted wares the next, the co-founder and creative director of social enterprise turned streetwear brand HoMie might describe his style as ‘chaotic’, but there’s a common thread to his fits, and that’s pieces by local designers, many of whom he counts as friends. It’s a love affair that began in his teenage years, when Crook would travel from rural Victoria to Melbourne to stay with his older siblings; the scene around Fitzroy’s Brunswick Street – where HoMie’s flagship store currently sits – captured his imagination, just as it continues to do today.

While Crook always looks fresh, his desire to dress well runs deeper than surface level. HoMie, which has grown from a one-off pop-up shop to a fully fledged social enterprise and beloved fashion brand, designs and sells clothes, with all profits going towards combatting youth homelessness by creating pathways into employment for those in need of support.

Recently, Crook ran us through five of his favourite outfits while we spoke about his vision for HoMie, his personal style and why right now, Melbourne’s menswear scene is ‘pumping’. Scroll on for the fits and some top-notch fashion chat.

Fit One

Marcus wears HoMie knit, releasing end of March, and HoMie Reborn pants. Photography: Melissa Cowan
Photography: Melissa Cowan

Esquire: To begin with, tell us about HoMie – how would you describe the organisation to a stranger?

Marcus Crook: HoMie is a streetwear label that uses 100 percent of its profits to support our mission of combatting youth homelessness. We provide clothing, education and jobs for young people who need an opportunity. 

Social enterprises come in all shapes and sizes. Why did you decide to base HoMie around fashion?

It’s been a really organic process, we started out as a one-day pop-up shop where we invited our followers to donate clothing to people in the community who needed it. From the success of that day, we were inspired to make it a more permanent thing. We decided to design a small run of our own T-shirts, and that’s when the brand really started to take off. We saw an opportunity to use fashion as a force for social change, but we never could’ve imagined that it would turn into full ranges in our own store, or that we’d partner with some really awesome brands.

Fit Two

Marcus wears an Erik Yvon green crewneck and HoMie pants, releasing end of March. Photography: Melissa Cowan
Photography: Melissa Cowan

Do you remember when your interest in fashion began?

I’ve always been into fashion, art, music, and sport all at once. I grew up in a big family of six kids so there was a lot happening in our house. I distinctly remember coming down from Colac to stay at my brother’s house in Melbourne in the school holidays as a 15-year-old, he lived just off Brunswick Street and seeing what people wore [there], and the creativity and self-expression was mind-blowing. I think that period of time had a massive influence on me, and I always felt like Brunswick Street was like a second home. Funnily enough, now we have our store in the prime location on the strip. Complete full-circle moment. 

What was considered ‘stylish’ or ‘cool’ when you grew up?

Being from the country it was mainly surf and skate brands like Mambo (which is why it’s still so wild that we just created a collection with them). The annual trip to Torquay for the Rip Curl, Billabong and Quicksilver sample sales was a real highlight of my childhood. Throughout my teens, it was skate brands like Etnies, Osiris, DC, and Oakley (which I think will be making a comeback). 

Describe your personal style right now using three words? 

Casual, fun, conscious.

Fit Three

Marcus wears a shirt from the HoMie Reborn X Mambo range, thrifted pants, Noskin shoes, and a bag by Bugskin. Photography: Melissa Cowan
Photography: Melissa Cowan.

Can you tell us about the genesis of HoMie Reborn?

Reborn started out as an in-house program to help reduce our excess stock. We had the idea to up-cycle and repurpose the garments as a way to give them a second life.  We realised that we could not only create unique one-off garments but also help reduce our contribution to textile waste. Since its inception, we have up-cycled over 4,500 garments (over a tonne of textiles that were destined for landfill). We have worked with some incredible brands like Champion, Nobody Denim, and most recently, Mambo, and we’ve also had a runway showcase at both the Melbourne Fashion Festival and Melbourne Fashion Week.

Recently we’ve partnered with a local factory to scale up this operation and service and are looking to partner with more brands.  I’m really excited about the prospects of Reborn and its ability to stimulate local manufacturing and tackle fashion’s elephant in the room (waste). 

The most recent collaboration between HoMie Reborn is very cool. What was it like to collaborate with an icon like Reg Mombassa?

Wow, it has been such a trip! Growing up idolising Mambo, Reg and his artwork, this has been a real ‘pinch me’ moment. It honestly doesn’t feel real. 

We are so thankful to the Mambo team for their support of HoMie. They donated all the stock to us to rework, and 100 percent of the sale of the garments supports our mission to combat homelessness. Truly iconic.

Mambo was the height of cool in the 90s. Do you have any nostalgic memories of the brand?

Absolutely. I remember my older brothers and sisters wearing Mambo and just being infatuated with how cool it was. It was something so different from anything else on the market. Truly, these are pieces of art that have stood the test of time. It was awesome that we could reinvigorate the donated garments to give them a second life.

Fit Four

Marcus HoMie knit and pants, both releasing end of March. Photography: Melissa Cowan.

Who are your personal style icons? What do you like about their style?

I don’t have any major icons I follow closely, as my style is pretty chaotic and mostly I’m wearing HoMie or Reborn products. But you can’t go past someone like David Bowie for creativity, or Pharrell Williams for how effortlessly cool he’s been for 30 years. Tyler the Creator and Kid Super are other favourite designers of mine who are always doing cool stuff.

How would you describe the menswear scene in Melbourne right now?

It’s pumping! The digital age has allowed anyone who’s willing to have a crack to connect with suppliers and create a community, which is really cool. I may be biased, but I think the Melbourne scene is so cool, brimming with amazing creatives across multiple disciplines who are smashing it. It’s an inspiring community to be a part of.

What is the most sentimental piece of clothing you own?

It’s probably one of the first Reborn pieces ever made. I remember printing it on the carousel and just being obsessed. I also have a lot of old vintage HoMie stuff from when we started, and they always bring back nice memories when I pull them out of the cupboard. 

Where do you look for personal style inspiration?

My colleagues! I work with the coolest, most beautiful humans. It’s honestly such a blessing to come to work everyday and work in this organisation. 

What’s your go-to pair of everyday shoes?

I really mix things up here, I have Adidas superstars, Nike dunks and TNs but sometimes I can’t go past my chunky black Crocs for the ultimate comfort. Noskin boots and loafers for anything fancy.

What’s the hardest working accessory you own?

I have a lot of hats, like a lot of hats, and I love mixing them up, it’s just way easier than having hair in your face all day. Other than that probably my Apple watch tracking my stressed heart rate (jokes).

In your opinion, what’s one item every man should have in his wardrobe?

A HoMie hoodie obviously! We’ve made them super heavy this year and they are comfy as. Other than that, probably some nice black suit pants. The best ones are usually found at the op shop and can be styled for literally any occasion. 

Fit Five

Marcus wears Candice top with Noskin jeans and shoes. Photography: Melissa Cowan.
Photography: Melissa Cowan.

Any brands (other than HoMie, of course) you’re particularly loving right now?

Yes, Candice is another local streetwear brand, P.A.M. always, Erik Yvon is a star, I’m so inspired by his work, Rsport is doing really cool stuff in the sportswear scene, Jungles Jungles, Clothing the Gaps, The Social Studio, Noskin and Sucker. There are so many cool and talented people in Melbourne alone. Outside Australia, BAPE, Palace, Braindead, OnlyNY, KidSuper.

If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Something comfortable, like a hoodie and shorts, is always a good go-to for the best of both worlds when it comes to the daily seasons of Melbourne. 

How do you keep your beard in such luscious shape?

I actually don’t do much. Recently, I went to the hairdresser for the first time in ages, and it was awesome to get a nice shaping and touch-up. I should definitely do that more often.

Which of your HoMie graphics is your favourite and why?

That’s really difficult to choose, I have so many favourites! A few years back we had this space graphic which was created by artist Thomas Sweetman. It had ‘finding space for those out of place’ printed on it. I think the best part about our graphics is the subtle messaging, something that might spark a conversation. Which is what we aim to do. 

Photography: Melissa Cowan.
Photography: Melissa Cowan.

What does 2024 have in store for HoMie? Any new collections or initiatives you can tell us about?

Yes. We are about to release our AW24 which is definitely our best collection yet. I’m super excited, the quality is next level! We also have some things brewing for Reborn with a few more brands and one being a major Australian retailer, but I’ll save that one for later… 

Our Pathway Alliance Program has just kicked off. We have 14 young people about to journey into Retail via HoMie, Champion, Nike, and Sportsgirl stores. We are super excited to have them on as partners and to see the crew prosper this year. We’ll have over 350 young people come through our doors this year for free shopping days, which are always great to be a part of. We’re also looking forward to opening a new HoMie store in a new location in Naarm, which will help us offer more opportunities to young people through the Pathway Alliance program. So stay tuned.

See more from Esquire’s ‘Five Fits With’ series here.