Timeless, uncomplicated womenswear from Australian Fashion Designer Kristie Barber.
View recent Kuwaii collections on Australian Fashion Review Blog.
Founded in 2009 by Australian designer Kristy Barber, Kuwaii is rapidly becoming one of Australia’s renowned womenswear labels, known for their simple, uncomplicated, yet beautiful garments. The brand’s pieces are never overworked, instead they are chic and refined, suitable for that special night out and for a picnic in the park. The brand believes that a garment should be treasured – worn a thousand times, occupying a special place in it’s wearer’s heart. This philosophy couldn’t be more relevant for these times, where disposable fashion is the norm and landfills are filled with a shocking amount of discarded clothing.
In August of 2012 we were lucky enough to chat to Kuwaii founder and designer Kristy Barber to find out all there is to know about her womenswear label.
Where did it all begin for Kuwaii? How did the Kuwaii label come about?
Kuwaii began when designer Kristy Barber finished fashion school in Melbourne. Kristy then interned with Phillip Lim, Lover and Arnsdorf and decided in 2009 to begin the label with the view to produce very special yet wearable pieces that are carefully considered; simple and refined. Garments that are built to last and be loved, made with no fuss, whilst being beautifully detailed, with an emphasis on the interesting and meaningful.
We love how the Kuwaii brand produces key wardrobe staples that are set to last, instead of being a slave to trends and fads. What do you think of the increase in disposable fashion within the Australian Fashion industry?
Lovely! We love you love that – it’s exactly what Kuwaii aims to do! We really love the old fashioned idea of dressing: that is purchasing special pieces made to love and to last rather than one-wear items. The increase of disposable fashion really saddens us. When you read about the amount of landfill per year that is clothing or garments it’s just devastating. Now is really the time we all need to stand against this mindless production of garments – we do not have limitless resources on this planet and we really need to be aware of what we are buying, eating, wearing and wasting.
What are the future hopes for Kuwaii? What is the ultimate dream!?
Ultimate dream!? We hope to become a lifestyle brand, known throughout the world with flagship stores in key cities. We will only ever expand within our business philosophy, which is very important to us, so our dream is that we are able to maintain our local production and the level of care we currently invest in every Kuwaii piece, whilst growing to this level. Our short term dream is to open our first flagship store in Melbourne.
Who are your favourite designers and what about them inspires you? What else inspires you?
I always come back to Claire McCardell, I love that she revolutionised womenswear and made it about comfort, ease of wear, whilst never sacrificing beauty or form. That was a very interesting time – the first time there was a “youth” market in the USA, a great time of change in women’s roles and Claire McCardell really pushed the boundaries of dressing for this new modern woman!
Inspiration hits anywhere; I love looking at vintage trends and garments, old books, photography, film, objects etc. Additionally, travel is a great way to see the world in a different way and be inspired.
If you could pick a person/object or concept that best represents the Kuwaii style, who or what would it be?When you think of Australian fashion, what comes to mind?
Concept – the Bauhaus movement in the 1920-1930s. Like Bauhaus, we try to simplify our forms, think very closely about rationality and functionality of each piece and exactly who, how and why an item may be used, as well as questioning mass production over craftsmanship. We share other common ground with the Bauhaus Movement – the relationship of usefulness and beauty, the purpose of beauty in an everyday object.
As far as a person, the beautiful Maggie Gyllenhaal sums up the Kuwaii lady. She is uniquely beautiful, has a one of a kind style and she is intelligent, with a BA in English, as well her degree in the Dramatic Art. Her poise, grace, charm, intelligence, humour, style, as well as her humility is evident in her acting performances as well as her media appearances. She is glamorous and enjoys luxurious things, yet has an air of a natural woman about her
Complete the following sentence: Kuwaii is unique because…
…We care so much!