4.5 Billion

February 13th, 2012 by  |  Published in Features, Headline  |  2 Comments

On The Streets of Sydney caught up with exciting new jewellery designer Ray Cook of How Typical Of Metal in his new Sydney boutique, 4.5 Billion in Sydney’s newest up and coming precinct, Darlington.


How did the name for your jewellery label How Typical Of Metal come about?

How Typical Of Metal came about as I had been wearing bow ties for awhile and when I first created myself a set of leather bow ties my friends would mutter “how typical of metal” to make bow ties. My nickname is Metal but I am not a metal-head.

4.5 Billion is an interesting name for a shop, please explain its meaning?

4.5 Billion (years) is the age of the earth and since I am a stonemason by trade and I work a lot with natural stones creating carved stone rings for my label, the name has a nice ring to it. When people walk in I sometimes do this futuristic voice “welcome to 4.5 Billion” Maybe it needs to be more spaceship like to continue this though haha.

Your new collection explores themes of death and mortality, can you please expand upon that?

I lost one of my friends a few weeks ago. She was in India and her friend found her in her room gone. It was a spontaneous brain hemorrhage and like that she was gone, 22 years old.I have never known anyone to pass away and it had a really big effect on me. Since then I have been having this attitude like this could happen to anyone at any time.

These pieces are a reminder to society that you do live once and it can be taken in an instant, so instead of feeling sorry for yourself, live your life. Sure I admit they’re in your face but death should be to push you to strive in what you so if at any point you are to die you have died in a time of doing something you love in life instead of living a generic day to day life.

People seem so scared of their dreams and attempting to create them into reality, this is a series that says “hey if you don’t do it now, you may never get to do it” it fast tracks your thoughts with “I could totally be gone tomorrow and I have all these ideas I am wanting to do”

I have had alot of near death experiences, motocross accidents, electrocution both numerous times and hell I am scared as fuck to die. This is even a reminder to myself to stop feeling sorry for myself and see the great things I have in my life instead of dwelling on such pathetically small “problems” I have.

What compelled you to make the move to Sydney and open a shop here?

I had a massive breakdown living on the Gold Coast because I wasn’t being taken seriously by potential stockists being from a coast town that doesn’t have much culture or fashion sense. This is how I came to realize I had to be in either Sydney or Melbourne. I came here with $500, a bag of clothes and a bike.

You took a risk and opened up a boutique in an area known only for cafe’s, crime and commission flats, explain why you chose the Darlington/Redfern location?

This is a crazy story. I had nowhere to live so I went on gumtree and saw an ad for bedroom in Darlington $110 pw so I went and saw the guy, he was an Englishman, mid 30s with dreadlocks. It was to share a room with him. I did it hatefully, this house had a shopfront that taught Spanish lessons and was the whipping dread funhouse office or something (look up whippingdread funhouse) so funny. The landlord hated him and he owed $3000 in rent and the only way to get him out was for me to sign a lease so I did and then gave him 2 weeks notice. Then I locked my door to the shop so it had no bathroom ect. The people moved on and the shop was mine. The plus side is great coffee close, cheap rent, 20000 people a day in walking traffic that attend UTS and Darlington will be all about this in a year or so, why follow when you can lead?

What brands do you stock at 4.5 Billion? What brands will you stock soon?

At the moment I am stocking my own label, How Typical Of Metal as well as local Sydney labels Serpent and the swan, House of Humility, Alice Nightingale, Orphn and Walarts paper wallets. Everything in the store is made in Sydney and I do gallery commissions of 33% on the labels I stock. I don’t do the whole 100% markup, I support labels that work within the same scheme as my label and they are more supportive seeing that I don’t see their garments as money signs. Who am I to make the same amount of money as the designers creating these garments just for the fact of hanging them in a room. So criminal.

Whats next for 4.5 Billion/How Typical Of Metal?

4.5 Billion has turned dark early for Winter before everyone else does. I will be churning out some bad-ass antique bikes with spikes and barbed wire tassels for the girls. I have a couple finished, some 1940s- 1960s rare track bikes and I have quite the collection of the older girls frames which I will have displayed and for sale in a couple of weeks. How Typical Of Metal is finally launching into clothing this Winter so I will have everything I have ever created within my label and all of the new series in store.

As someone new to the city we have to ask you, what are your thoughts on Sydney so far?

Majority of the time I don’t even realize I am in Sydney. I am so busy all the time. I always wake up in the morning and go “what the hell, I live in Sydney, WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?” I like it here, I’m pretty isolated due to running the store, running my label, running around. I do alot of running it seems. I like Shortlist cafe and that Outpost thing on Cockatoo island was cool. The Art scene is pretty wanky cough runway crew cough. I havn’t really found any great boutiques. I like that people here don’t talk about doing stuff, they do it and then say “I have done this”. But then I dislike it because it is hard to muse off people that reserve their projects and ideas.

Can you describe your personal style?

Snapbacks, tight black jeans, button ups with bow ties, collector worthy nike hightops, coffee in hand.

Where is How Typical Of Metal stocked in Sydney and online?

I stock at my own store 4.5 Billion and in Estate of Mind on Crown Street, Surry Hills. Online I stock on FINAL EPISODE. She does the same with the gallery style commissions for every label and gives 10% of your profit to a charity of your choice. Mine is the Black Cockatoo trust because I love cockatoos.


Location 4.5 Billion is at 116 Lawson St, Darlington, Sydney
Open Tuesday -Friday 9am - 9pm & Saturdays 9am-6pm. Closed Sunday and Monday
4.5 Billion

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  1. Lucinda says:

    February 13th, 2012at 5:02 PM(#)

    This place is just round the corner from me! I can’t wait to check it out.

  2. Heather says:

    February 14th, 2012at 2:39 PM(#)

    Come On People - Get behind this one.
    Give Metal your support & help enable him to rach his full potential

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