Current Issue #488

Drawn to the City:
Christopher Rain,
the minimalist

Christopher Rain is no stranger to travel. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, he has explored the world extensively, arriving in Adelaide in 2017 and now living and working in the CBD.

Rain approaches life as a constant traveller, keeping possessions to a minimum and letting this philosophy influence his work. “Having spent a good portion of time living out of suitcases you soon realise which items are superfluous. It is liberating yet daunting in some ways to have so few possessions,” says Rain.

Travel has been a necessity in Rain’s career. Starting at the University of Cape Town he branched out into finance and retail, and also model ling. Rain is represented by agencies in Adelaide, Tokyo and Bangkok and highlights of his modelling career include work for Comme des Garçons and Kolor in Tokyo.

Today, however, as we face the challenges of a global pandemic, Rain has had to rethink the way he operates. The shift to staying put and often staying at home inspired him to take the plunge into his own business.

Rain now works selling artisanal Japanese teas and craft through his brand Spill Kobosu – “spilling the tea”. While Adelaide has its share of brick and mortar teahouses and retailers, Rain’s business focuses primarily on online sales, selected wholesale and pop-ups. Through his range of curated products Rain hopes to offer tea lovers what specialty coffee connoisseurs now expect, with great quality and transparent chains of origin and production.

“COVID-19 was the catalyst,” says Rain. “I couldn’t travel for my various jobs or projects and the time at home made me rethink my plans.” Japan was one place Rain particularly missed. Modelling in Tokyo had given him a taste of the exciting city, but it was that nation’s craft that captured his imagination.

Rain was inspired by what he saw in Japan: sustainable design and time -honoured manufacturing. He saw finely crafted

objects, such as copper tea kettles and porcelain, as an antidote to the world of fast fashion and constant consumption.

“I had an entrepreneurial side from when I left university,” says Rain. “[I] always wanted to look into retail and e-commerce; I also wanted a means to share my passion for tea and Japanese design with people.

“I source tea and design objects that adhere to my principles in order to share them with people,” says Rain. “I want to normalise the concept of demanding quality tea and also the concept of minimalism and items being kept for years rather than simply [being] transient things to be thrown away.”

As we all spend more time at home in 2020, reflection seems inevitable and the ritual of a meditative cup of tea can’t hurt. “Meditation is internal minimalism,” says Rain. “It is a clearing and reset of the mind.

Our mind, like our lives, is easily filled with nonessentials. Preparing tea with deliberate attention to the process, paired with equipment that is specially selected – there is satisfaction through taking time and appreciating the process. Tea cannot be rushed.”

Minimalism, says Rain, underpins the concept of his business. “I want people to appreciate each object they possess; [if they don’t,] they should part from it. Minimalism should not be done for its own sake, but as a means to simplify one’s own life and bring joy by being surrounded by only what is wanted, beautiful and useful.”

Leo Greenfield

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Leo Greenfield is freelance illustrator. His work can be found at

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