Interview: Kuwaii

We spoke to Kristy of Kuwaii about her new collection, how to rock a minimalist look and the importance of personal grooming.

Since 2008, Kristy has been the brains behind Kuwaii, one of Melbourne’s favourite ‘it’ labels. Quickly gaining a loyal following, Kuwaii makes lovers of clean lines, classic silhouettes (and let’s not forget a rad pair of shoes) weak at the knees.

Since launching your label in 2008, how have your designs evolved?

I think when I started, I didn’t really have an understanding of my customer and who exactly that was and what she loved.Having the retail space and the opportunity to literally know our customers has definitely influenced the designs, especially with regards to how flattering they are. I guess I’ve also paired it back a little. When you start out, you try and do everything you can, but as you go along you learn you don’t have to put all the bells and whistles on.

What are your tips for rocking a minimalist look?

Having beautiful individual pieces and each element in the look being something driven with real care. I think the minimalist look means stunning fabrics, immaculate designs and the rest of it comes naturally.

What’s your advice for not looking swamped by an oversized garment?

Our oversized sweaters have been massive this season and have been selling like crazy. I think they look best paired with either a really beautifully tailored slim pant or boyfriend jean. That being said, we’ve sold a lot of them to be paired with an elegant midi skirt as well. It’s an interesting juxtaposition of something more formal with something slightly more casual, and I really love the way that looks. With the more oversized dresses, the key is an amazing shoe.

Functionality is the name of the game at Kuwaii, what’s the best way to hunt out a functional garment?

What we aim to do is produce garments that aren’t too trend-based. That means looking for styles and silhouettes that are slightly more classic and will last you from season to season. For somebody looking to invest in functional pieces for their wardrobe, that is key. You don’t always have to stick to the safe colour options either, colour can be functional and trans-seasonal as classic black as well. The biggest part of functionality is you want something that’s going to be easy to wear, easy to wash easy to handle and will last as well.

What’s your fashion pet peeve?

In terms of somebody’s personal style I think anything goes, the more original and creative the better. My biggest peeve is against is fast-produced fashion. I have ethical problems with it and I am not that keen on what it’s doing to the environment and the shopping world as well.

Your new collection, Rationale, has just debuted. What inspired the collection and what can we expect?

I’m really excited about this collection. I feel like each collection I’ve done has been a step up and forward. The inspiration was the golden ratio. To apply this formula to the garments, I was designing them to have an inbuilt proportional perfection. It came into the inspiration in terms of mathematical angles and shapes and techniques as well. The colours are coral, blue, navy and white and we’re doing a beautiful print that’s based on line drawings. And we’re introducing two new shoes, which is super exciting.

Last but not least, what are your top three style tips?

Number one is: when you buy a garment look for the inherent quality and classicism in the shape. Number two is: personal grooming. Have a little bit of decorum in the way you put yourself together, old-fashioned care about how you do your hair and nails. Not over the top, but just think about it. Number three is: confidence, happiness and charisma.


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