Monday, September 26, 2011

Kissin Cussin

A few months ago I had the lovely opportunity to write about Sydney based label Kissin Cussin for Ecouterre. With a new collection full of fresh prints and colour I thought it would be nice for you to hear a bit more about all the good things they do..

What are you up to today?
We're in Bondi at our little studio. We try to keep Friday's a creative day so we're working on creative marketing for on our blogger as well as finalising fabrics and designs for the next collection ...

Can you tell us about the women that make Kissin Cussin clothing?
The women who sew for us in Talalla Bay are absolutely divine and we've built up a very loving and caring relationship with them over the last 3 years. The ladies, were previously unemployed skilled seamstresses and we've offered them an opportunity to work close to their families, which they are very grateful for.

What was the first conversation like between you and the ladies of Talalla bay?
We were very lucky that the lady we chose to head the whole operation seemed to get what we were about instantly, although she / they had never been approached with anything like this before and there was definitely a sense of feeling that 'this is too good to be true' or 'we'll believe it when we see it'this is because their alternatives are pretty dismal. A common option is to work in the capital or overseas for long, long hours, a low wage and to be away from their families ... so 3 years on and we are continuing to employ and grow the employment in the village you can feel their happiness to be able to work from their own village and earn a decent income ... and for this reason they put so much love and care into each garment that they make for us.

What got you into fashion?
It was sort of by accident ... we both had a love of fashion and experimenting with fashion. After we went to Sri Lanka, and spent 8 months there, we were very much inspired by the colourful nature of tropical life and bought a little bit of this back to Australia .. our friends LOVED the clothing, so we decided to make more and that's how Kissin Cussin was born.

What's it like being based in Sydney? Do you spread your time out working in Sri Lanka and Aus?
Yes we are very lucky. We both love being based in Bondi, there's a hub of artistic inspiration from the people and daily environment .... and then just when we're feeling ready to leave it's time to go to Sri Lanka, which gives us a different insight. I think working in Sri Lanka so much (we spend about 4 months intermittently there each year) is very grounding, we get to experience first hand the humble way of living that most of the villagers do, and makes us very grateful for everything that we have.

We also get to spend time in India, which is a huge melting pot of continual inspiration, Jess just got back from there a week ago as she was checking our current fabric production for SS 2011.

When you are not working you are...
Enjoying the outdoor lifestyle that we are lucky enough to have in both countries .... swimming, yoga, whale watching ... and being with our friends.

What's next?
To carry on as we are ... the label has been growing quickly with each year. We are just about to head into production in Sri Lanka and to develop our next collection ... as well as this we are developing elements of label all the time with creative marketing and sourcing new ideas and fabrics .
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