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What Slow Fashion Means To Kuwaii Designer Kristy Barber

by: Rosie Dalton | 9 months ago | Features

Image: Kuwaii founder and designer Kristy Barber.

Kuwaii is one of our favourite local brands, because of its focus on form-flattering construction, high-quality fabrication and a fun-spirited use of print and colour. Founded in 2008 by designer Kristy Barber, this transparent label consistently produces pieces that form the backbone of a responsible wardrobe. Here, Barber opens up about what slow fashion means to her.

Rosie Dalton: Can you tell us how Kuwaii first came to be?
Kristy Barber
: I started Kuwaii straight after I finished fashion school. Kuwaii started extremely small and every little bit of money I made from each season, I invested back into the business, so slowly and organically it grew. I now look back and think I started Kuwaii like a punk rock band. I had no idea what I was doing, had never worked in the industry. I just decided to give it a crack and I learnt as I went.

Rosie: Why do you believe it’s so important to push back against trend culture?
: My main drive with Kuwaii is to offer an alternative to mass produced fashion. The reasons why are many! Environmental, ethical and social factors encompass all the many underlying reasons. I strongly believe fashion should be a good thing, not the horrible machine that it has become. I think clothing should be empowering, fun, expressive and enjoyable. I don’t think it should be an evil empire that thrives on exploitation. Not to mention the fact that fashion is an incredibly polluting industry. There can’t be any better reason to push back than this and it’s an area where everyone can make a difference through the choices they make.

Rosie: How would you personally define the principle of ‘slow fashion’?
: For me slow fashion is about being conscious of your choices, being educated and thoughtful about how you spend your dollars, the decisions you make and what you stand for. This is both for customers and, of course, us on a business level. For Kuwaii it means that money does not drive every decision we make. We consider all “costs” – human, environmental AND financial. Which means that everything we do becomes slower, more deliberate, and more considered.

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