October 25, 2014

back in time



Images: Top row - both by Face Hunter / Bottom row - Garance Dore, Anne Bernecker

Blogs have really taken a dive in both activity and popularity in the last couple of years. So many great bloggers have disappeared, leaving in their wake farewell pages or the more startling 'buy this domain' pages that really like to stick it in that the blog you were looking for is no more. Miss Moss highlighted this decline on a recent post and linked to a really interesting article on Design Sponge that looks at this in more depth.

Even as the internet races ahead, changing and evolving at lightning pace, there are still lots of inspiring spots to be found outside of Instagram and Facebook and the endless articles that all tell us 39 things we will never believe but can't live without knowing. 

This week I felt the urge to go back to some of those websites I used to love, mainly the good old fashioned street style websites. FaceHunter, Garance, Tommy Ton, you know the gang. The ones that have turned blogging into careers in photography and fashion. The ones that documented that crazy period when everyone dressed as wacky and 'couture' as possible, and stood around outside fashion shows looking wistful, hoping they would appear on The Sartorialist.

While I still prefer to read independent blogs written by people with more diverse interests than just what they bought / an event they attended / a new product they have been sponsored to review, it was quite nice in a nostalgic, sentimental way to visit the bloggers of yesteryear and see what street style snaps they had taken, where they had been, what they were up to. I'm glad these blogs still exist, and that the bloggers are out there doing their thing, documenting the young, rich and beautiful, and that my search was met with photos of fun fashion instead of a Go Daddy website aggressively urging me to buy this domain.

And on the note of fashion, the above pics all remind me that while blogs come and go, one thing that remains is my love of stripes, duster coats, patchwork denim, white t-shirts, sneakers, black sandals and floppy farmer hats. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

October 20, 2014

eggs and coffee




Images from top left: Iko Iko Space / Kayten Schmidt on Closet Visit / Lauren Manoogian at MNZ store/ Martiniano shoes / IRL at WUT magazine / photos of dye recipe books from a Chinese factory by Henrik Drescher.
 

It's always a long time between drinks here. I've been keeping busy with Kinobi, confirming orders for next season, spending time interviewing the designers I'm stocking (you can read the current interviews here with more to come each week) and before you think it is all glitz and glamour around here I've also been doing a lot of photo editing, accounting and other boring admin. And also working at my other jobs to make the money to, you know, buy food and pay rent.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not complaining. I love that my work/life balance is non existent, that it all blurs together. There is great freedom in this. And so, here are some things I've been loving/doing/reading lately, in between all the fun small business times.


- Loving Stevie's weekend lists  which have become a go-to for interesting reads, along with Jessica Stanley's always fabulous Read. Look. Think.

- Admiring the latest range from Lauren Manoogian at MNZ store and Martiniano shoes

- Reading about Kayten Schmidt's wardrobe on Closet Visit, and nodding my head when she lists coffee as one of her 'can't live withouts' - despite trying.

- Meeting and chatting with a heap of other local 'creatives' (whatever that means), who like myself also live a mixed up life of paid jobs, side projects, small businesses, second jobs, freelancing and more all rolled into a beautiful mess.

- Looking forward to Ottolenghi's talks in Melbourne at the end of the month and planning many cook ups from his latest book Plenty More.

- Eating perfectly boiled eggs, inspired by Ashley Helvey's IRL project for the great new WUT magazine

- Becoming obsessed with natural dye. I recently took two workshops to learn more, one on botanical dyes and one on indigo. It is a fascinating process, similar to cooking or science experiments. So I was particularly excited to find these photos by artist Henrik Drescher who visited a natural dye factory in China and documented their dye recipe books. The full images are available here.


August 18, 2014

sissy sainte-marie




All images via Sissy Sainte-Marie's instagram feed

I discovered Sissy Sainte-Marie, an LA based stylist and vintage store owner, via Instagram recently. Her style is exactly how I dream of dressing this summer. Long, oversized dresses, natural, neutral fabrics, big floppy hats, all worn with simple white sneakers, a metallic barrette and a few pieces of jewellery. Basically anything super comfy and practical, that your granny or mum may have worn back in the day, is what I'm feeling right now.

August 15, 2014

this old thing



Images via @shopkinobi on instagram

I started this blog way back in 2009 as an outlet, or escape really, from my university studies. It was a way to keep a record of my interests outside of what I was learning at school, to take stock of all the amazing things I discovered online and that no one I knew in real life was interested in. Over time, like a lot of other bloggers will have also discovered, it turned into a great way of connecting with other people from all around the world, with similar interests and curiosities and aesthetics.

This blog has always been a humble little thing, and something that I've never really given the proper attention or credit it deserves. When I started, blogging was still emerging and while it had come a long way from the early days of Style Diary (anyone else remember that?! That was where Susie Bubble started, I found her blog through that site. There is still an archive you can see here), it wasn't quite mainstream enough for me to admit to anyone I actually knew. I remember once, a few years ago, sitting with a couple friends who began talking about how weird and self-indulgent blogging was and why would anyone do it? I just sat there trying to stop my cheeks turning red and shuffling in my seat...

On one level, blogging allowed me to balance all my academic work throughout my uni years, giving me space to write and post about incredible avant-garde and independent designers, art and anything else that caught my eye. Giving my internet browsing structure and purpose, stopping me from just spiralling down into a black vortex of never-ending links and tabs and windows (we've all been there) and forcing me to really look, and think, and consider some of the things I was seeing.

Then as I transitioned from student to graduate to full-time working woman living overseas, it was a nice way to journal my experiences as I was finding my feet through those first few tumultuous years in the workforce.

Now, I feel a little like I've come full circle. I feel like my love for the cruel mistress that is 'fashion', which to be honest had started to dim a little, has come back full force. I feel in a good place with what I am doing work-wise despite having no idea where it is all going to go and what it is going to be. I'm open to the inevitable changes that will come with working as a freelancer while being my own boss and running a small business. And while trying to take an approach of non-attachment and non-judgement  I'm also happy this blog is still here for me, and that it can still be here as a reminder and a record.

I'm not going to pretend I'll ever be a regular blogger, but I'm also not too worried about the sporadic nature of my posts. I doubt there is anyone out there hanging on my every post, so I won't apologise or pretend I'm going to get any better at this anytime soon. But I'm going to keep at it. Everytime I look at when I last posted I'm reminded of how fast time moves and how quickly things change. The beauty of a blog is it is always there for you even if you forget to feed and water it for months on end.

And with all that said, here comes the shameless self-promotion part. After many years of dreaming and thinking about it, and then quite a few months actually doing and starting it, I'm opening an online multi-brand boutique called Kinobi, launching September 1st. I'll be stocking products from designers and makers who are doing really beautiful, exciting things. There will be clothing, accessories and some homewares - plus other bits and bobs that will pop up over time. There is an emphasis on products that are hand-made, or sustainable, or ethical, or small-scale, or all of the above. But first and foremost there is an emphasis on beauty and function. Objects for using and loving and keeping.

For now, you can follow me on instagram @shopkinobi, or sign up to the mailing list through the website. We (I say 'we', but this is truly in the royal sense, as I am a one-woman show right now. Sole traders unite!) will be shipping worldwide and I can't wait to show you and see what you think. It will always be a work in progress, open to feedback and forever evolving. Just like this old blog (but with better website design, and more regular updates!).

July 8, 2014

on the road




Above: moodboard I put together as a reference for a shoot for Kinobi. 
Images from Pinterest


It's been seven months since I returned to my hometown and never has time flown more for me than it has this year. The whirlwind of living overseas, travelling and then making the transition back has been pretty intense and somewhat chaotic. There have been a lot of false starts and ups and downs. A lot of saying yes when I should have said no. A lot of staring into the dark contemplating what I want and need and figuring out how to go about doing that, and then letting go of too much planning because by now I know there is only so much I can control. A lot of reading fairly cringe-worthy inspirational articles, blog posts, mantras, quotes and youtube videos about creativity, work, business (and something about core desires and fire starting and big hearts) - because while it's embarassing to admit, they are helpful and motivating when the self-doubt creeps in. And as far as I can tell self-help and soul searching is pretty trendy these days, so maybe this is actually all just a little bit cool, and not so embarassing after all?

Since my last post I've gotten married (which was a blast), seriously thought about buying a house, then after much indecision decided not to buy a house and rent instead (because while we are decided on each other, we still have itchy feet when it comes to where to live. and on a side to this side note I promise the 'we' is not a newlywed-ism I intend to use often), started and completed a small business course (which was a ballbreaker, but essential nuts-and-bolts knowledge), been on a roadtrip/belated honeymoon to the Blue Mountains (which was beautiful, restful and just what I needed) and begun working on my own little project called Kinobi (which is launching next month - more on this in the weeks to come). 

In between the above, I've met some great new people, including making connections with a few internet friends who are now real-life chums. Meeting new people and catching up with old friends, sharing both the deep and meaningful and the cheap and cheerful, has smoothed the rocky road that has paved 2014 so far. Where this road is going is anyone's guess and I've given up trying to see the destination. It's time to enjoy the ride. And to follow the advice of the great Jim Carey, and to realise "you can fail at what you don't want, so you may as well take a chance at doing what you love". Told you, I'm all over the motivational quotes. If you need a spirit guide, you know where to find me. 


February 27, 2014

the light




I haven't been following fashion week very closely, but Christophe Lemaire's AW 2014 collection caught my attention on Maryam Nassir Zadeh's instagram last night and made me sit up and take notice. The shapes, the shades, the movement - it was all sublime and exactly what I would love to be wearing right now as the weather starts to get colder in Melbourne.

This morning I went onto Style.com to take a closer look. It is a collection of structured, oversized outerwear, soft cosy knits wrapped and tucked and tied around the neck, long skirts and dresses cinched at the waist. Camel, ivory, taupe, the palest of pinks, the deepest of greens and navy, charcoal - all finished off with heavy black boots. There are nods to the power dressing of the 80s and the tailored minimalism of the 90s, these are clothes that are strong, functional, elegant, but above all they are for now. These clothes are for women who get things done and look good doing it.

Lemaire manages to create collections that are aspirational, polished and effortless all at once. The kind of clothes you hope to wear when you grow up, and live in Paris. They have a lightness about them, without being flimsy or frivolous. They are beautiful and considered, without being fussy.

It's all about that slightly oversized silhouette, the combination of tailored and slouchy, the beautiful fabrics, the muted tones. I'll be keeping these outfits in mind when I get dressed in winter, pulling out some wide-leg cropped trousers, Cos cashmere knits, my mum's old oversized tan trench, searching for a secondhand washed out silk shirt or two and maybe swapping the boots for some New Balance because, let's be honest, I'm not quite grown up enough for those yet.

February 12, 2014

the hunt




Some interiors inspiration: Marble and plywood kitchen - a mysterious tumblr image found on pinterest, lovely kitchen via Las Cositas de Beach & Eau, loft bed via Sulia, it is all about white and green - another great kitchen via this blog, House Komazawa Park by studio Mico via This is Paper (deserves a post of its own, it is so incredible - check it out in full!), couch from Truck, a plant filled loft in Brooklyn via Design Sponge, beautiful kitchen shelving in the home of Simone and Rhys Haag via The Design Files (also worth checking out the feature in full).


As I mentioned in my last post, I'm house hunting at the moment. It is fun so far because it is still all play. We are yet to get into the nitty gritty of making offers or bidding at auctions, that is, making an actual decision. For now we are really just researching, 'getting a feel for the market' as they say, and playing grown-ups by going to viewings, meeting with mortgage brokers and looking at contracts of sale very intently as if we understand them.

We are currently dreamers and it is a nice phase to be in. It's like that period at the start of any project or new idea, when anything and everything is possible. It's that initial, vital, brainstorming phase fuelled by enthusiasm and energy. It's the part where you silence practicalities and potential issues for a moment and imagine the ideal, imagine the best thing ever.

We are still very much in that stage and I'm trying to relish the novelty of it all as I sense reality is looming. There will be a shift soon I'm sure, a time when we must face the facts, make up our minds, cross our hearts and then go for a potential new home knowing fully well we will probably not get it, or the one after that, or the one after that either. We will fall in love and realise she was out of our league from the start, and then rebound, and then have a fling, and then fall in love again and hope that the one we end up with is the real deal.

After renting many, many different houses in London (I think we moved four times in three years..) I know this cycle all too well, but this time it is different because it is just so much more permanent. But with all that said, being able to even think about buying a place is a huge privilege and I'm eternally grateful that I come from a city that has a high standard of living, where it is possible to even consider owning a home, even if it ends up being the size of a car parking space and even if it doesn't work out.

Because once it is all said and done, once we step through that front door it is all ours. Regardless of if it has high ceilings, polished floors and huge windows, even if it is a small box with ugly carpet and loud neighbours. Whatever it comes with or without, it will be ours.