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Around My Town: Brunswick With Kristy From Kuwaii

by: Rosie Dalton | 2 years ago | Features

Image: Kuwaii designer Kristy Barber, photographed by Nick Wilkins.

Kristy Barber started Kuwaii almost a decade ago, which means that she has been in the business of ethical fashion for quite some time now. Since launching the brand in 2009, Kristy has learned a lot about what it takes to build – and maintain – a responsible brand in today’s fast-paced fashion landscape. And we happen to think she does a stellar job.

Crafting beautiful, wearable pieces season after season, Kristy’s brand has become renowned for thoughtful construction and great prints – which help to liven up the neutral tones of a minimal capsule wardrobe. So, following the recent drop of brand new Kuwaii separates Well Made Clothes, we decided to get to know Kristy a little better and asked her to show us around her town of Brunswick, Melbourne.

Rosie Dalton:  Can you tell us a little bit about your town?
Kristy Barber
: I have lived in Brunswick for 10 years now. I moved here when I found the Kuwaii store space – so now I consider Brunswick both my and Kuwaii’s spiritual home. It was once a gritty area, which used to be known for its gangland ties, but now it is known more for its delicious cafes and food. I love it because I really feel like Brunswick is a village and it has everything I need.

Rosie: What is your average day like in and around your town?
Kristy: My workdays are busy! They start with a coffee, meetings, then the rest of my day is usually spent on either designing the new collection or running the business side of things. My parent days, in contrast, are slow – with languid afternoons spent in the park, long walks, or picnics in our backyard. 

Image: a peek inside Handsome Her cafe. Image source

Rosie: Can you run us through some of your favourite places to eat?
Kristy: Handsome Her is a very amazing female-powered, all vegan café. A1 is a Brunswick institution of delicious – DELICIOUS – Lebanese savoury treats. Wide Open Road has awesome coffee and an excellent menu. Meanwhile, Moroccan Deli-cacy is the best lunch place. I recommend their “mixed plate” of vegan or vegetarian delights. 

Rosie: Where is your favourite spot to enjoy a mid-morning coffee?
Kristy: I really love the new cafe that opened right next to our Brunswick store – Neon Beatniks. Kirk there makes the best coffee. 

Rosie: What about your go-to for a late-night drink?
Kristy: Now I am a parent, my drinks are more mid-afternoon to early evening than late night, but my favourite places in Brunswick are Mr Wilkinson, Noisy Ritual and The Alderman.

Image: the market at Ceres. Image source.

Rosie: If we only had one day in town, which cultural activities would you say are a must?
Kristy: A visit to Ceres, the not-for-profit, sustainability centre and urban farm located on the Merri Creek. Ceres is created on a reclaimed industrial tip site, and is an absolute wonderland of amazingness, including a market, grocery, café, community kitchen, organic online supermarket and a permaculture and bushfood nursery. It is the absolute best!

Rosie: What are some of your favourite local spots to shop for vintage, homewares or other rare gems?
Kristy: Ther are so many in Brunswick! I particularly recommend: Mr Kitly, Monkhouse, Recycle Boutique, Treetop Toyshop, Brunswick Bound, The Brunswick Wine Store, The Buroughs.

Rosie: What do you love most about where you live?
Kristy: I love the village aspect to Brunswick, it’s a little friendly neighbourhood with all that I need in a bite size chunk! 

Image: Kuwaii designer Kristy Barber, photographed by Nick Wilkins.


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