kali: Designer profile

Posted on 17 September 2016 by admin

kali in SO:ME Space at South Melbourne Market

We talked with Kristina Kelly from accessories label kali about her love for bags and motorbikes, and her desire to live an unshackled life filled with adventure.

Tell us a bit about kali. What makes your label unique?
I am not a girl that loves a branded bag with all the bells and whistles and was looking for something that suited my lifestyle which includes riding a motorbike and if I’m lucky, lots of travel. The result; cross body bags with edge and polish, finished with interchangeable straps. I design the bags and had some part in the making of them, however I have now reduced the range and am taking over a lot of the construction as this is the part I have come to love.

Why did you start kali?
I met a fabulous Danish girl who at that time was a buyer for the largest of the department stores in Copenhagen and we became great friends. I was looking for a creative outlet that would allow me to move around at will having been shackled to my previous much loved business with weekly commitments. Another big factor was that I could not see me in any of the available, affordable travel and motorbike bag options.

What was the inspiration for your current collection?
My inspirations are always a 70’s earthy, gutsy yet glamorous woman and Japan’s effortless, achingly beautiful aesthetic in art, landscapes and design, with a rock chick edge. I am aiming for something timeless, sexy with clean lines and solid presence. It matters very much to me that I am hands-on. I’m not so much influenced by what the new seasons colours will be but with the leathers and materials I find.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is your background?
I have done many things in my life. It seems that when an opportunity presents itself I am able to cross my fingers and jump. Life is for experiencing as much a possible.
I grew up in St Kilda and at 24 years of age I moved to London with my English partner where we stayed for 10 years. Taking full advantage of everything it had to offer. Upon our return to Melbourne I opened an art gallery in Elwood, which morphed quickly into a floral design business. I love what I do. Life’s purpose, it seems to me, is creation. It should be joyful, fun and lived in the moment. I have focused in on what I love and who I love to work with which has resulted in the beautiful products I make now. Small numbers, with great care and detail. We are small but awesome : )

What other designers are you into at the moment?
Majolab and Campomaggio. Their bags are works of art. Isabel Marant, Delphine Ninous of Belstaff are super cool and inspirational. I’m loving Rolla’s Jeans and Mother Denim at the moment and of course my friends label Rabens Saloner which makes up a huge percentage of my wardrobe. My colours, shapes and sensibility are all married perfectly by that label.

What else are you inspired by right now?
I am completely obsessed with Japanese and Chinese art, especially anything depicting my beloved pine trees. My son Cosmo’s work inspires me @sans_purpose. I’m listening to a lot of his friends music at home which is super new and very inspirational. I also am very inspired by people such as Alan Watts, Eckhart Tolle and Sadhguru. Their collective voices have brought a calm and joy into my life.

Why do you want to come into SO:ME Space, and what are you hoping to get out of your time in the space?
SO:ME space is great on a few levels. The first is obviously contact with the public. The feedback is crucial to assess if you are in tune with what people want. Its a fun space, with lots of people in the same position as yourself which makes for great friends and contacts in the design world which perhaps you may not have had access to before alone in your own space. It is also a great way to promote your social media and have people know how to find you after time in the pop-up has finished.

What was the professional highlight of your past year?
My bags were being sold in Denmark and it was fabulous to know that they were winging their way around the world.

What advice do you have for people wanting to start their own store or label?
Seek out proper advice!! I have always pretty much taught myself everything however I see now that the social media side of things has to be seamlessly linked. Also I changed the business name a few months in having already taken possession of thousands of cards, so best to be certain of the details first.

What does the future hold for kali? Where are you headed next?
I really love the handmade component of my business and intend to pursue that side of it, whilst further developing and consolidating the range of zippered bags for my motorbiking and intrepid travelling friends.

kali is in SO:ME Space from 24 August to 18 September 2016



kali in SO:ME Space at South Melbourne Market

kali in SO:ME Space at South Melbourne Market

kali in SO:ME Space at South Melbourne Market

kali in SO:ME Space at South Melbourne Market

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