A trip to Tokyo and London was all that it took to convince design enthusiasts Conor Youngs and Romina Gilde Matos to forgo careers in law and psychology to follow their real passion.
Returning to Perth with a desire to match their experiences, the pair launched themselves into an ambitious retail project in 2006 – Test Tube – showcasing an innovative selection of internationally sourced goods, previously unseen in Perth.
Its quirky, bright-striped timber décor, envisaged by Matthews Architecture, quickly gained a reputation among the designer set, attracting a steady number of Design Hunters™.
“The opening of Test Tube was a real gamble for us and we were not sure whether the clientele [for our products] existed in Perth,” Romina says.
But buoyed by its firm success, the pair took another leap forward early in 2008, establishing Zekka as the latest place for cutting-edge fashion.
Focusing on a small but dedicated client base, who were regularly travelling interstate and overseas to buy high-end fashion, they again called on the expertise of Matthews Architecture to create a unique space and experience.
Taking the concept of a “cabinet of curiosities” into their chosen turn-of-the-century CBD site, Romina says they strove to include as much of the original architectural features and history as possible.
Adding another dimension to the retail space, a café was set up at the rear, with its specially-blended Crema bean mix drawing in people who are as discerning about their coffee, as they are about their clothes.
Their select but evolutionary collection of designs currently includes Julius, m.a+, Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Guidi for men, and Haider Ackermann, Rick Owens, m.a+, Marc Le Bihan,
Ohne Titel for women, and is constantly in evolution.
“Our client is interested in art, design and fashion,” Romina says. “They like to discover and experiment with new collections.”
And after being awarded the best-dressed boutique award at the WA Fashion Awards last year, Zekka is an absolute must-stop for the design conscious.