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December 16, 2015

A very independent Christmas: Twenty Fifty-Two

Twenty Fifty-Two, a shop that loosely falls into the skate- and street-wear realm, does things differently. With an emphasis on quality, culture and community, owner Al Mawer has created something that runs far deeper than regular retail.

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  • Words: Farrin Foster
  • Pictures: Andrè Castellucci

In February of this year, Al Mawer moved his shop – Twenty Fifty-Two – into a Hindley Street basement.


Visit Al and Twenty Fifty-Two at 83B Hindley Street, Adelaide, or peruse the newly-launched online store.

Keep an eye out for details of the Boxing Day sale as well.

The basement was pretty far from special when he received the keys, but after months of work with power tools, paint brushes and construction gear it now presents as one of Adelaide’s best-resolved retail spaces. The nature and feel of the space is central to Twenty Fifty-Two’s purpose, Al says.

“If you’re going to have a point of difference from the online retail revolution then you have to offer something different and for us it’s a nice place to sit, some good music and some incense,” he says. “And all the guys who work for us are really knowledgeable about everything. We don’t use sale tactics apart from knowing our shit.”

The tight product list of the shop, which owes its strong connection with skate culture to Al’s personal passion and decades in the scene, adds another unique dimension to the store.


Stocking a range that covers both the high-end, with some hand-stitched limited-run pieces available, to what Al calls “working man” brands, the store caters for a range of buyers while keeping a consistency in the values it represents.

“People are coming into stores for an experience and we want to present brands that give them that experience,” says Al. “It has to be something that has a story people can relate to and buy into. Clothes represent who you are and that’s become a really important part of society now.”

“Australian brands like Passport are more a working man sort of brand… but the ethos behind that brand is amazing – they present Australiana without Southern Cross tattoos and flag capes. Its something the young guys can relate to and the older people can too. The quality for the price is really good too and they’re run out of Sydney, an independent brand, and they really like what they do.”

Also included in the curated selection is the Twenty Fifty-Two home label – a series of in-house designs that are often executed by Al himself. The most recent in this line is the “Be Polite” t-shirt, which riffs on the Polites signs seen throughout the Adelaide streetscape.


“There’s a few dimensions to this one – there’s the obvious thing of taking an Australian icon and twisting it around in a way that people can relate to. This plays on the recognition of Polites in Adelaide,” says Al.

“And then there’s we think there’s no place for negativity, so why not just be polite? This industry can be really cut-throat and negative, and I just like the concept of people being polite and keeping that negativity to themselves.”

The shirt has so far received a pretty strong response from punters, as has Twenty Fifty-Two itself. After almost ten months in the city location it has fostered a close community of regulars and an expanding network of friends and customers who understand the change Al is trying to drive.

Fostering a culture while still being welcoming is hard to achieve, but Twenty Fifty-Two’s unique ability to do everything from advise parents on what to buy their kids to provide older skaters with clothes they love, makes it one of a few places that get it right.


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