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Hobes Girls

Kristy Barber, Kuwaii

Describe a typical day in the life of Kristy Barber. 
My typical day is so varied, as a designer-owner of a small fashion business: my role requires many many hats and the ability to switch between all of them at a moment’s notice. So as to a typical day - it could be anything! We have a civilised start time of 9.30 in the studio… although I try to get in to the office a little earlier for a quiet bit of work before the team gets in. Usually I spend the morning in meetings, writing emails, chatting to my team about the week/month/seasons’ happenings. I then pop aside the afternoons for my creative time…which could be spent at the pattern-making table, working on cardboard patterns for the next season, cutting, some sewing (because I love it!) and putting together our new ranges and exploring fabric swatches. But it could also be working on PR planning, social media, setting goals or analysing reports. 

When did you first start designing? 
I actually starting designing in a very humble way in the early 2000's - mostly because I wanted to wear clothes that I couldn’t find in the stores. I taught myself to sew on my grandmother’s old singer machine, and from there came my love for garment construction, pattern making and sewing, which is still my driving force now. 

Since launching your label in 2008, what has been your favourite Kuwaii collection? 
Every new one is my favourite! But I have had a few special ones over the seasons: Landscape from Summer 2012 was a really defining collection for me and Kuwaii. It was the season we introduced our two of our most classic and coveted pieces: the slip dresses AND our Cicadas Platform Sandals - I guess it was the moment we really honed our signature style and worked out what is our clear design aesthetic and were able to really focus on that. I also loved our Winter collection of 2015 called Re/Mix - I love looking back on that collection: the colours are so beautiful and I think that was a really defining moment for our use of colour, and how important that is to us as a brand. 

What inspired the Entropia collection? 
During the designing of Entropia, I was thinking a lot about the idea of balance between us and Nature. I was inspired by the colours of distressed concrete, as well as old and peeling paint. And as always I was looking to nature for inspiration. Entropia then became an exploration of balance and harmony. 

How would you describe your personal style? 
I am a clothes collector, and am really sentimental about clothing. I love to buy things and keep them forever. I think I have quite an eclectic style made up of lots of special and vintage finds, combined with some new things, and of course quite a lot of Kuwaii pieces. I think it’s important to really plan out your wardrobe, to experiment and not to be afraid to try different shapes, styles and colours, but at the same time, to only buy pieces you adore, and really love - like Marie Kondo says - that inspire a spark in you. 

What was your last travel destination? Would you recommend it and why/not?
This was Piha in New Zealand and YES I would recommend it. I love NZ very much for a bite sized break. This time we stayed in a beautiful house overlooking the majestic, rugged beaches and it was restful, inspiring and invigorating.

kuwaii.com.au | @kuwaii

Kristy wears the The Boat Hobe in Lilac

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