Hakea Woman: Kate Fenton, the woman behind Newcastle space Jack Jack



In this special conversation we chat with Kate Fenton, the multi-hyphenate creative behind Newcastle retail and art gallery space Jack Jack. We discuss her journey from the retail world to launching Jack Jack Store, the concept behind the space, and the process of curating an eclectic collection of fashion and art.

Explore her insights on the connection between art and surfing, the importance of human connection in a digital age, and her personal style philosophy. Plus, get an exclusive glimpse into her favourite Hakea piece and what she looks for when purchasing surfwear.

Read on for an inspiring conversation that celebrates creativity, community, and the beauty of self-expression.


A multi-hyphenate creative, what were you doing prior to your current venture?

I've always been in retail, whether that's casually for some extra bucks or just to be in the industry, around clothing. My list of jobs and roles is extensive. In 2022 I was working for a boutique in Bondi, Bassike in Paddington, freelance website design & videography plus contracting for a business consultant doing corporate event organising and facilitating... so a mixed bag of lollies that have all meshed into one giant candy bar that enables me to run Jack Jack Store. 


Tell us about the concept behind Jack Jack Store and the brands you carry, 90% of those brands being female owned? 

The concept behind JJS is to step into the world with the fullest expression of self and hold confidence at the heart of that experience. You can buy fashion but you can't buy style, so the concept is about creating an eclectic curation in your wardrobe that can be styled in the various ways you express yourself daily. It's come from having multiple wardrobe meltdowns over the years because I've narrowed my style into one boring trend and gotten over it. I've learnt over the years that once you start dressing for yourself, you will never feel crappy or off in an outfit. It's a wonderfully daunting process to go through and one that is forever evolving.


You also use Jack Jack to showcase artists and hold events. How do you choose artists to exhibit?

Honestly, a lot of stalking on social media, other galleries, seeing what's up in the arts community locally and around the world. I'm truly inspired by how people see the world and decide to share their POV with us through art (or their outfit choices). 


It seems to go hand-in-hand, art and surfing, when did your surfing journey begin?

I started surfing properly when living in Bondi in 2021 but had dabbled since I was 21. I never really felt that confident in the surf until friends and my boyfriend Brenty were hassling me to get in the water. Any morning when the sun is just kissing the horizon is my favourite or a night surf is always yum.





What do you think it is that connects art and surfing? 

It's an embodiment practice. You're learning to trust yourself, whether your physical ability or intuition. You're deepening the relationship with yourself in a very intimate way, you're pushing your boundaries, trying new techniques or moves or just simply learning to love being in the moment. 


You’ve described Jack Jack Store as ‘a space that is inviting as possible, it's a space for collaboration, thought-provoking conversation and deep connection’. I love this idea now everything has become so digital. To provide a physical space for community was something I really resonated with and the reason I created Sunup Space in Byron Bay. What’s your favourite part of having a physical space?

Meeting so many new characters that I may not have the chance to usually interact with and being a part of a thriving community run by creatives and small businesses. Islington is notorious for its charismatic and derelict feel, every day here is completely different and sometimes it leaves you thinking.. 'wow, I am so grateful for the life I am living and this place is fucking wild, what the fuck just happened.' On a customer basis, it's experiencing the unique ways people style the same piece of clothing and watching their personalities really shine through. I love it!!! Bring back no pressure policies & retail stores that just wanna play dress ups :) 


You have an amazing personal style and brand curation at Jack Jack Store. I think fashion plays a bit part in seeking our community. How would you describe your style? 

Biggest compliment ever. Thank you! Brand curation / buying is my favourite and most daunting task!!!! My style - ever evolving, never trending. I'm a bit daggy to be honest and I'm very particular about some things and fine with others so I'm a terrible customer.... BUT I think that's why my curation isn't a 'cohesive' style, because I don't ever feel like wearing one style so why would I ever buy the same things for customers to browse. It's so boring and funnels you into a tiny market which goes against everything I stand for. Jack Jack Store is quite literally for everyone. Some of my best customers are 18 & 80, and it's fucking amazing!


How do you find a balance between social media and the physical realm? 

Oh I struggle with this big time, but this is why I surf. I meet heaps of legends and a handful of assholes in the surf and that's still human connection. I've started putting boundaries in place to prevent burnout, like no screens after 8pm which sometimes just doesn't work when you're working close to 100hrs a week but you've got to give it a crack. I try to stay off my phone until lunch on my day off, just to let myself be alone and be in nature which helps a lot, but it's not enough. Maybe our generation will be like 'woke boomers'? Maybe I'll start a revolution, that was in my birth chart.


Okay final question, what do you look for when purchasing surfwear? And, what’s your favourite Hakea piece? 

Comfort, sustainable, stylish, no camel toe and boob support. I'm fussy! I love love love & have ditched all other swim for the Hakea Voyage Tri Top & Vapour Bottom in black. Holy hell blows my mind.


You can find a carefully considered collection of Hakea pieces both online and in-store at Jack Jack in Newcastle. 


Shop Kate's favourite pieces the Voyage Tri Top and Vapour Bottom 

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