What was the inspiration behind starting your brand Bird & Kite?
I guess it was a natural evolution for me. To be honest, I wasn’t ambitious to start a brand. It wasn’t planned. Making clothes is part of my DNA. From as early as I can remember I helped my Mum make all our clothes. We lived a sustainable life out in the middle of the bush and we had to create what we needed for ourselves. So, Ive been sewing and making clothes from a young girl. Later this evolved into a passion. As a teenager I spent hours in second hand opportunity stores buying clothes and cutting them up to make my own creation. I also developed a huge vintage collection which is still a constant source of inspiration. Friends would always ask me if I could make them one of my creations. Eventually and organically, it turned into Bird & Kite! I’m still stunned that I get to do what is essentially my passion and obsession everyday and also bring a lot joy to the people wearing Bird & Kite. I feel blessed.
And how did you come up with the name Bird & Kite?
I've always been influenced by the natural world. I love raw textiles and earthy tones that connect you to their origin. At the same time, what I am creating is for woman kind. Clothes are a human invention. In this sense, ‘bird’ is from nature & ‘kite’, is a representation of humanity harnessing nature to create beauty. They are the harmony between humanity and nature. They both embody playfulness, freedom and whimsy. They are both creatures of the sky.
Where do you draw your inspiration from for new collections?
Each collection has it’s own story. Honestly, I’m never quite sure of what that story is until it magically reveals itself to me halfway through the creative process. The inspiration comes to me so intuitively that its not something initially purposeful until it starts to form shape. I might see a yellow, floral, vintage dress and then I notice someone on the street wearing a yellow gingham top…and then suddenly Im seeing yellow everywhere despite never noticing yellow before. I’ll suddenly notice it in art, or in a magazine, or a dress in an op shop. Without realising it I’ve designed shapes and half a collection in my head that will showcase yellow. It’s the way my brain works. Like putting a puzzle together of colours and shapes.
Do you think there is a classic ‘Bird & Kite’ style?
Yes I do. Haha! It’s funny because even if I sometimes I want to branch out and try to create something with a different feel, it always ends up looking quintessentially Bird & Kite. I guess Bird & Kite has it’s own soul that just keeps shining through. Bird & Kite is essentially feminine and whimsical, but at the same time rooted in classic, simplicity. There is a womanly strength in the femininity of my designs. At it's heart there is the nostalgia of vintage bohemia yet it still remains minimal, fresh, and relevant to the day. I like to call it ‘Clean Boheme’.
How has the Bird & Kite brand evolved over the past 8 years that you have been growing the brand & business?
So much has evolved from those first exciting days of me, a one woman show, operating out of the tiny sunroom of my Bondi Beach apartment. I had to wear every hat. It took hard work and a lot of self belief to build the team that we have today. Now I look around me and I can’t believe what has been created. I’ve learnt so much. I can see that Bird & Kite has become something way more than what it means to just me. It’s a brand with a foot print, that keeps people employed, gives back to the community, inspires conscious thought and builds relationships (as well as making pretty things ;) I look forward to being asked this question in another 8 years from now!
Do you have a particular woman in mind when you are designing new collections?
I think of every woman when I’m designing. I want a brand that speaks to all of us. I put a lot of thought into my collections to ensure there is something in there for every body type, every mumma and every daughter. I have 2 sisters…so, Including my Mum that’s four of us. We are all so different in age, body shape and tastes….and yet I’m thinking about each of them when I’m designing. Empowering women is a big part of our brand values so this is interwoven into my design process.
What's your biggest styling tips and tricks for the modern bohemian woman?
- You can turn any outfit modern bohemian by accessorising it with simple neutrals of tan leather shoes, boots, bags, and hats….or baskets! Adding those natural hues will bring that touch of relaxed authenticity.
- Accessorise with Vintage! This is not essential…however, things that have been worn in and pre-loved add that sense of soul quintessential to Modern bohemian style. Plus, you’re recycling and participating in the sustainable fashion movement.
- Wear things oversize. Volume of fabric in outfits is very bohemian. You can give shape to over size garments by accessorising with belts and waist ties. Wrap dresses are the perfect solution for all body types that give shape whilst still providing volume and romance.
- A wrap dress or an over size smock dress and a pair of ankle boots is a no brainer! Always works.
Biggest challenge and success so far for Bird & Kite?
Biggest challenge: Keeping my sanity intact.
Biggest success: Keeping my sanity intact. Haha!
Running your own business is not for the faint hearted…especially in fashion! Riding the ups and downs, the highs and lows, and overcoming daily obstacles is the biggest challenge. The fact that we are still standing and going strong despite the challenges feels like my biggest success.
Who is your favourite style muse?
Oh god. How can I choose just one? There are so many. Here are my top 4 in no particular order. All of them are equally Iconic in their own way.
Let’s start with Talitha Getty. I mean…seriously. An Icon of Icons. 1960’s Vintage Bohemian perfection.
Jane Birkin. Of course. Her influence as a style Icon has had an ongoing ripple effect across so many genres of fashion that spans half a century until today. Her legacy is unrivalled.
Im forever inspired by Katherine Hepburn. She was the 1940’s style, trail blazer who was the first woman to start wearing men’s pants and tailored suits. Her Iconic and daring style paved the way for freedom in women’s fashion today.
This list would not be complete with Frida Kahlo. She was an Icon in more ways than just style. A true artist in thought, passion, art and lifestyle.
Did the Bird & Kite style and ethos change once you had your baby?
Becoming a mother definitely had a an impact on me in many ways. In terms of my style and ethos, I guess I started to think a lot more about the changing beauty of a woman’s body through pregnancy and motherhood. I started to design with all my own needs as a mother in mind, both physical & emotional. Clothing became more than just something beautiful to wear. For me, my style needed to encompass my lifestyle. I guess it made me a better designer in many ways. I now really need to strike that balance between function and form. I also find that, as a busy mother, I have less time to consider my outfits or to accessorise. I gravitated to one classic piece that I can just throw on and look amazing without too much effort. That’s the beauty of classic staple pieces. They do the job for you.
You’re now based in beautiful Bali, what do you love the most about living in Bali?
Too many things to mention. I Love the fact that this Island is comprised of chaos and peace in equal measure. There are few places in the world like that. I love the colour, the food, the incredible generosity of spirit the Balinese have, The eclectic and vibrant community of entrepreneurs and creatives I live amongst. The Artisan culture and the magic of this Island is found on every corner. It’s easy to love.
Describe Bird & Kite in 5 words: