Loading ...   0%

On the field, they’re high-performers. Dominating their domain under the ever-intensifying spotlight. Beyond the arena, these Australian athletes retreat to the fields of style, tech and innovation for a comfortable balance of performance and passion.

After 10 seasons at the highest level for the Port Adelaide Power, two All-Australian selections and three guernseys with the Australian international team, Robbie Gray has little left to prove with a Sherrin in his hand. Off the field, Robbie is working just as hard to achieve the same success in the world of men’s style.

“It’s more than just kicking footies around” Robbie Gray says with a wry smile when asked about his daily schedule. “We do a lot of gym work, a lot of pilates, yoga, recovery. Meetings, watching vision back, studying opposition. There’s appearances, from sponsors of the club to community work; schools, hospitals …”

The two-time All-Australian midfielder is sitting in the middle of The Fellow, a new barbershop in the inner-Adelaide suburb of Norwood. Around him, a payment system is installed, co-investors are chatting, and of course – people are stopping by for a quick lunchbreak line up. It’s a hectic scene, but it’s in this kind of environment that Robbie Gray has excelled for almost ten years.

Whether it’s in the heart of the action as a star of the Port Adelaide Power’s midfield or beyond the arena, where he now has multiple businesses, Gray is allowing the frenzied pace to fuel him. Despite the demands of his life on the field, Robbie opened The Fellow with a group of friends only weeks ago. It’s his second off-field endeavour, after opening a pub in 2015.

“My business partner already has a barbershop here in Adelaide. We’ve got similar interests, we’re good friends, and we’d always thought about doing something together. We wanted to bring something different to Adelaide.”

The story of a footy player opening a pub is nothing new, but the barbershop is more specific to Gray’s interests. Answering questions in a Nike Tech Fleece hoodie and a box fresh pair of Penny IIs, it’s clear stepping into style is close to the Power star’s heart. It began with a pair of Jordan XIIs when Robbie was juggling footy with basketball in the late 90s and has stuck with him ever since.

“I didn’t have the opportunity to buy many sneakers back in the day, but always loved them and have built the collection up a little bit now. They’re outgrowing the room they’re in. There’s always something new coming out that you wanna get your hands on.”

“It doesn’t matter if you’re drafted at pick 4 or pick 55, you work really hard and give yourself the best opportunity."

Visiting from Melbourne is King’s Domain owner Aaron Chan. Aaron has been in business for years, with two shopfronts in South Yarra and one in Melbourne's CBD. Entering the store, it’s clear to the visiting barber that an appreciation of clean aesthetics has stayed with Robbie since the days of his Taxi XIIs.

“The shop looks great,” he remarks, before linking it back to his own success in Melbourne. “To tell you the truth, the initial thing [for King’s Domain] was the look of the shop. And that’s something that you’ve done well here. No-one knew what King’s Domain was. They were just coming in because it’s a busy spot and the shop looked good. But the next thing is to nail the service and give people a good haircut, make them feel welcome and make them come back.”

Robbie hops in the chair as Aaron gives the AFL star a quick trim and line up. The conversation allows Aaron to reflect on the early days of his own endeavour.

“The first year was a big learning curve. I think you’ve gotta really enjoy that startup phase. When you’re not really sure how things are gonna pan out, how they’re gonna work, that’s the most enjoyable time. Rather than always try to strive for more and do things differently, you enjoy what’s happening at the time.”

The two proprietors connect over the demands of their busy lives, and also discuss the importance of having something to retreat to for a break. Aaron juxtaposes hot-towel shaves and pin-point barber styling with time roughing it in the wilderness, while the world of business is Robbie’s escape from the demands of professional football.

“Footy’s obviously my main focus, but it’s good to have an interest outside footy. It’s so full-on, you can get stuck thinking about it when you’re at home at night and it just takes over your life. The partners allow me to focus on footy first and foremost. They take care of a lot of the work. When I get the opportunity, it’s good to come and do something different.”

It’s at this point the 55th pick in the 2007 AFL draft elaborates on the work ethic and determination that has clearly guided Robbie Gray to the success he has achieved both on and off the field.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re drafted at pick 4 or pick 55, you work really hard and give yourself the best opportunity. I’ve been [at Port Adelaide] 10 years now and loving my time over here. But if you’d asked me when I got drafted, I wouldn’t have thought I’d play one game at AFL level. I’ve been lucky.”

“Footy doesn’t last forever. It’s a pretty short career. If I can have a couple of businesses that I’m passionate about, then when I finish up playing footy, there’s something I can be involved in.”

_Engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes, the latest Nike Tech Fleece collection is available at

She’s a two-time national champion and Australian representative, but netballer Kim Ravaillion isn’t resting on her laurels. In fact she’s rarely resting at all. When she’s not in the gym or on the court, she’s helping the next generation of Australian netballers reach their goals. We sat down with Kim and Stylerunner CEO Julie Stevanja to talk about motivation and innovation.

At only 23 years old, Queensland Firebirds center Kim Ravaillion has already enjoyed what appears on paper to be a hall of fame career; Commonwealth gold, Netball World Championship gold, and two consecutive national championships. Rather than look back with satisfaction however, Kim’s eyes are firmly focused on the future.

Not unlike a famous anecdote we’ve all heard about Michael Jordan, Ravaillion’s intense desire to succeed stems from a reality check in her teen years.

“When I was younger, I missed out on a state team,” Kim says. “I didn't realise how much it meant to me until I was crying the whole day, and I'm like, 'what have I gotta do to be the best mid-quarter in netball?’"

“[From that point,] I made sure I was doing extras behind the scenes. I was making sure I was the fittest I could be, I was doing straight sessions, I was doing core workouts. I was doing everything to make sure that the next year, I was on that list, because I didn't want to have that feeling again. It was the worst feeling in the world.”

“That flicked the switch in me and gave me all the motivation I needed. I was sick of hearing people telling me 'you should have been in that team.' If I should have, I would have been there.”

A missed selection in her teen years may sound like a small hurdle in an otherwise sparkling career, but Kim continues to use it as a reminder that nothing is guaranteed. “It made me so much stronger as a person today, in my training.” Kim says, before expressing the importance of sharing her story with aspiring athletes. “I want to let little girls know that if you miss out, it's not a bad thing.”

A sense of responsibility as a role model isn't lost on Ravaillion, who launched her own website, Rav’s Fitness, to assist aspiring athletes. The site features training and nutrition plans and advice for anyone looking to improve their performance.

“I started Rav's fitness because I wanted to get in touch with the younger girls that play my sport, says Kim. “Obviously Instagram is very popular with those girls. They're always inboxing me saying 'Kim, what can I do to get fitter, what can I do to get a stronger core, body strength.’ So I decided to make a 6-week program that basically allows them to train like an elite netballer.”

The website has attracted the attention of not only her fans in the world of netball, but others drawn to Kim’s story, and inspired by her motivation and focus. One such person is Julie Stevanja, CEO of sportswear website Stylerunner.

“I loved hearing that story of overcoming adversity,” Julie tells Kim. “Sharing those struggles connects people – everyone has faced, is facing or will face something; a challenge, a hurdle that they need to overcome – so in that sense, you're such a great role model, having come up against that but not given up, and having fought for it.”

“I think that tale you really have to share, especially with that next generation, who are afraid of failure,” Julie continues. “That’s something you have to teach; it's okay to fail, and if you're not failing you're not pushing yourself hard enough. You're not testing where your limits are and where your boundaries are, you need be okay that you might fail. This word ‘fail’ has got such a bad reputation but all of the greats have come up against it. We all have limits, and it only takes practice to get beyond them.”

“There's just so much more to work on. I'm only 23 years old and I feel like I can be playing for another 10 years.”

The spirit of pushing through obstacles and overcoming adversity is familiar to Julie, who has taken Stylerunner to unbelievable heights in only 4 years. Her hard work and innovation was recognised in April, when the website CEO was named Young Retail Entrepreneur of the Year at the World Retail Awards.

“Opening [a bricks and mortar] store is a way of pushing beyond what is working for us,” says Julie, commenting on embracing the importance of innovating and breaking out of the comfort zone. “This store might have failed. It might have been a complete disaster and no-one would walk through the doors, that was a genuine risk. But decided to take that risk, and it's been really amazing.”

“I know if we continue to seek the world's best products, innovative products which are exciting, like the Dynamic Reveal on the new Tech Fleece, that makes any message engaging,” Julie says of Stylerunner’s relentless pursuit of improvement. “It finds an audience and helps grow the audience. Our channel has grown organically because people have tagged their friends in it going 'you have to check this out.’”

Both Kim and Julie share a never-ending quest to better themselves, rarely taking time away from the office or the gym. Having accomplished so much already, and with so many obstacles behind her, Kim is still not about to take a day off.

“A lot of people say that I'm the best center in the world, but I choose not to believe that. I always strive to be the underdog, always wanting to improve and getting better and better,” says Kim. “Right now there's so much more improvement, that's what's keeping me going. Trying new things, doing things out of the ordinary and bettering myself in every way that I can”

“There's just so much more to work on. I'm only 23 years old and I feel like I can be playing for another 10 years.”

Engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes, the latest Nike Tech Fleece collection is available at

Known worldwide for his skills on a skate deck, Casey Foley is also building an identity around his life documenting the culture he loves. Rather than retreat from skating, Foley uses his downtime to explore the tech world of photography. He links with fellow photographer Jason Morey to talk about life behind the lens.

While some athletes pursue passions outside of their sport to balance their lives, Casey Foley is an example of somebody doing it purely for the love of the game. His interests outside of skating are documenting skaters with his original photography, balanced with working in a skate shop. True to the skate aesthetic, his slight frame is draped in an oversized Nike Tech Fleece hoodie. There’s no question about his passion. When asked if he does anything outside of the world of skating, he’s silent for a moment before offering up an answer with a smile: “yeah, when I’m eating a donut or ramen?”

A passion for skating has taken Foley around the world and connected him with like-minded people from all over. One such person is Melbourne photographer Jason Morey. It’s hard to tell if Casey and Jason are polar opposites or almost the same person; Casey is a pro skater who spends his downtime behind the lens, documenting his friends and peers. Jason is a pro photographer who, in rare moments of recreation, is generally seen skating.

The pair insist their intersecting interests are rooted in the same love of skateboarding, which coincidentally began for both at the same time. Jason took up skating as a 10 year-old in Tasmania. At the same age, Casey began boarding in a small New Zealand town.

“It's an addiction. You can't stop,” says Jason. “We all know guys that have stopped skating, but still lurk the internet, and buy the magazines, and look at curbs and go ‘oh that'd be a dope slappy, I'd love to wax that up,’ or send a photo of a handrail to a mate that still skates, and be like ‘you guys should hit this up!’ It's always in the back of your mind.”

When the two are in the same room, the conversation races around topics from technique to travel, comparing their equipment to paying mutual respect for each other’s craft. While Jason is renowned for his photography, which has appeared in magazines and exhibitions across the world, he is full of praise for the aesthetic Casey has developed over time.

“A lot of the stuff that [Casey] shoots happens when a skateboard photographer will be cheek-down on the ground on the bottom of a set of stairs, taking a photo of someone doing a trick. And usually when someone's trying a trick, there's a whole posse in the background just hanging out. And Casey's the one taking photos of them. It’s two parts of the culture getting documented, which is good. No moment missed.”

“Well, I'm not as good at skate photography as these guys,” replies Casey. “So I try to create another aesthetic, which people don't often see, which is like the portraiture side, the lifestyle side. Everyone sees that, but don't have time to shoot it. They've got a huge backpack on, it's a lot of work to get it out. A lot of the time I'll have a 40mm pancake lens, and the auto focus is really good, so I can just swing the camera around, if something I like is there, boom. And a lot of photographers can't do that.”

"To put into skating is the best feeling ever. And that's why I do it.”

Foley’s love of photography has gained him an additional notoriety among his peers, and initiated his foray into print; he is now five issues into his own zine Ducktales. Like everything else in his life, the zine is all for the love of skating.

“It’s funny with skating,” he says, reflecting on his various endeavours within the culture. “You do so many things that people wouldn't really do. You kind of ask yourself, ‘why am I going on these skate trips spending all this money.’ But it's never a money thing. You just do it.”

“A lot of the young dudes don't have jobs, but they love life, because they skate every day,” says Casey. “For the average person who sits around doing nothing at home, watching infomercials, it's terrible. But these kids go out, skate, film, get photos. It's just for the love. To put into skating is the best feeling ever. And that's why I do it.”

Engineered to the exact specifications of championship athletes, the latest Nike Tech Fleece collection is available at