Kuwaii, Under the Microscope

Having launched their beautiful Spring / Summer collection and a brand new website this week, plenty has been in the mix for our Brunswick born and based Festival friend, Kuwaii. We were fortunate to catch up with the label’s exceptionally busy designer, Kristy Barber, who gave us a personable and exclusive insight into the upcoming collection and her inspiration.

Congratulations on an amazing AW/15 collection shown on the frankie Runway at the 2015 Festival. Tell us, what exciting things have been in the making for Kuwaii since March? 

Thank you! We just launched our beautiful new website which our team has been working very hard on, which is also launching our summer collection Microcosm!  We’re now just about to start working on AW16; we have started with the colour palette which is looking so beautiful already (can’t wait to see it on the runway next winter!). We are also continuing our Resort collection which is an extension of our summer range and a collaboration with weaver Maryanne Moodie. There’s a lot on the boil right now as per usual!

What can we expect from your recently launched Spring/Summer collection, Microcosm?

We are so proud of the collection. It was inspired by images of plant cells under the microscope which formed the basis for the entire colour palette and our two amazing prints designed by Cassie Byrnes. Actually one of the prints is a large scale view of a small section of the other print – we applied the idea of looking at the print under the microscope to our prints too! We are really proud of our unexpected but strikingly beautiful colour palette – blossom pink, sage and moss greens, berry red, plus graphic black and white!

Kuwaii 2
Microcosm // image via Kuwaii

Since winning the Student of the Year Award at the L’Oréal  Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2007, we have had the pleasure of developing a long-standing relationship with you and your brand. How has the Festival been able to contribute to the growth of your career and the Kuwaii label?

The Festival has given me an amazing opportunity to showcase Kuwaii and also to be to provide invaluable alignment with peers and like minded labels. I have had the amazing experience of travelling to China to showcase in Beijing and I really feel like the Festival supported me from the early days, giving Kuwaii the chance to grow! Plus it’s always just so much fun to be a part of the Festival! I remember one of my early goals was ticked off when I showed at the Festival for the first time!

Brunswick is quite a cultural nest for upcoming Melbourne designers and creatives. In your opinion, what is it about Brunswick that makes it a hub for innovation and inspiration? 

Totally, we moved to Brunswick six and a half years ago and have seen it change so much! I love Brunswick’s immigrant roots which are so visible still and I love the element of grit here. We are so lucky to be in such a flourishing creative community! I only hope that the rising rents don’t effect this too much in the future.

Over recent weeks we have been profiling our own favourite local eateries amongst the Festival team, do you have a personal gem that you can add to our flourishing list?

The Kuwaii team favourite is probably Estelle – it’s our go-to place for a celebration or big treat when we have deserved it!

Estelle restaurant
The Estelle, Northcote // image via Estelle

Finally, we find that music plays a fundamental and motivational role in the daily function of the Festival office. What are you listening to at the moment? 

We are absolutely in love with local band Totally Mild and their new album Downtime is on high rotation at the studio – it always makes me feel like I have a bit part in a David Lynch film, it’s dreamy, pure and absolutely delightful.

To see more of Microcosm or to check out Kuwaii’s new digital look, visit kuwaii.com.au.