As we continue our search for postmodern styling, our attention turns further afield. Australia has long had a synergy with laidback living, wilderness adventure and an open-minded population of optimists. Not only does the energy scream freedom, the landscape and weather makes the entire process that little more enjoyable. It’s little wonder then that the world of custom motorcycles has spread to our sun-kissed, soul-surfing cousins. Back in 2006, Dare Jennings, creator of the outrageous Mambo shirts, coupled his love for clothing and surfing, with the emerging propulsion of custom bike lifestyle to open Deus ex Machina.
This initial foray, tying neatly customised bikes with surfing culture, was based heavily on the concept of “doing something is more fun than just owning something.” As such, the brand has exponentially grown to hold some seven flagship stores, in Australia, Japan, America, Bali and Italy, with hundreds of independent and international retailers further distributing the brand. What they have so cleverly done is bought into the notion that this ‘free-feeling’ is something that transcends cultures and climates, a feeling that wholeheartedly unifies millions.
Deus has not only created a brand based on the brat-style of motorcycles, but has also radically incorporated surfing culture into the mainstream motorcycle scene. With surf racks attached to the modified bikes, they symbolise everything it means to be free. To ride down to the beach early in the morning, catch some waves, and then ride around all afternoon; it’s very much the Australian version of the Dogtown Boys lifestyle.
At a fundamental level, Deus are still bike builders, with dozen of custom bikes to their name. They have recently started to produce after-market parts and entire custom kits to get people out there and building their own sweet-rides. They are, if you will, what McQueen would have represented if he had lived on Bondi Beach and surfed every day. They work on the collective notion of two-wheel living, where happiness is paramount, freedom is a necessity and a go-get-it attitude is key.
Deus ex Machina, like the Southsiders MC, has become an incubator for creative’s. They have made numerous high-production films, hosted dozens of bike-building and surfing contests and even branched into the world of consumables with cafes and bars. What this all does is evoke the emotive response many want; to break free from the mundane and ride the wave of life in all capacities. In the words of Hunter S Thompson: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”