Kirsty Barros is a Melbourne based stylist who works under the moniker of Makers of Belief and like many of us in the industry is completely multidisciplinary in her approach.. you can add consultant, costume designer and designer to her repertoire. She’s also got lots of “spunk”, a word we use in Australia to describe the gorgeous creatures and highly talented and or energized of the species. Kirsty’s ampidextrous approach to style includes her highly celebrated “Ta Ta Tees”, a sequined fingers up to censorship that raise awareness on equality, empowerment and the freedom of all human beings. Free the nipple indeed! Her design and styling work for jeweller extraordinaire, Lucy Folk including the latest and tres chic campaign shot in Paris, see below, is casual elegance at its very best! Kirsty’s ongoing costume design for Australia’s super dandies – Client Liason has set the bar high for highly decorated and coordinated suiting that can move and shake on a stage and has Elvis shaking his hips from a palm fringed island in the sky. Is tropical. X
Kirsty answered some questions for us.. With thanks. X
What matters most?
Following your heart, challenging yourself, change and saying yes.
What do you do and why do you do it?
I always find it hard to define what I do because it blurs into a bunch of different disciplines. First and foremost I’d say I’m a designer. My roots stem from a background in fashion design and I worked for a bunch of brands for years until I figured out that being an employee wasn’t my strong point. I presently divide my energy between styling, costume and commercial design.
Talk to us about your Ta-Ta Tee’s.
I recently launched a series of T-shirts with hand sequined boobs available in 6 different shades of flesh. I started upcycling vintage Tshirts a few years ago with sequin motifs that drew attention to your boobs. The first was with Egg’s and then I did a sports version with a soccer ball and basketball. The Ta-Ta Tee’s are more in your face but are intended to celebrate your skin and also to remind us to have fun with fashion without being to overt. Well they give you the opportunity to be overt without flashing your real deal flesh. Available to SHOP HERE.
Who gave you your first break?/ How did you start out?
My first design job with a women’s wear label called T.L Wood. I didn’t have a computer and I was allowed to chain smoke at work…. that’s how long ago it was!! Everything was designed, pattern made and made locally constructed so I got to see how everything was done from the ground up. From there I had a series of design jobs with Mimco, Alice McCall, Insight and a few others before deciding to go it alone. I went travelling indefinitely and on the way discovered that I could make money from my love for vintage. Or at least sustain my gypsy lifestyle. I started curating vintage ranges for Sportsgirl, Arabella Ramsay and Belinda and selling my own vintage ranges online. I moved to Chile and skipped to LA frequently for buying trips. I styled all my campaign imagery between Chile and LA and I guess that’s how the styling side of things took off.
You live in Melbourne currently after lots of travelling and living in South America and LA? for a while. What are your five favourite places to see, eat, retreat, meet or just be in Melbs?
SEE– The NGV have really stepped it up lately. Absolutely loved the Triennial exhibition… it’s super immersive and progressive. Am itching to go see it again. They also do great night exhibitions with live music throughout summer.
EAT– http://www.minanoie.com/ LOVE this Japanese style café which sits alongside a nursery!! Japan meets the jungle!
RETREAT– Love a good roadie and I could live at the beach!! Torquay is only an hour and a bit away. If you have a little more time up your sleeve Wye River and Separation Creek are beautiful and much more quiet. As a child my family had a beach house at Separation Creek and all my happy memories live there!
MEET– On the hottest days in Summer there is nothing better than taking your best blow up li-lo to Warrandyte and floating down the river with friends.
It’s an exciting time to be a creative. There is a global push, a transformation.. Make comment.
The world is a vastly changing environment with an even faster pace. With mass populations comes mass destruction and consumers have a new-found conscience forcing retailers to think and act responsibly. It’s exciting to see technology being harnessed for good and not evil. Today the process and message are just as important as the aesthetic. I have been working toward expanding my brand but am still fine tuning a new formula. I would love to release limited edition, made to order item’s rather than ranges in a bid to reduce waste and excess. Timeless, durable, must-have pieces that last a lifetime and challenge the current disposable nature of fashion.
You’ve worked collaboratively throughout your career. What makes a successful collaboration in your mind?
I love working within different disciplines. Collaborating with people with a different set of skills opens your mind to new processes and pushes you beyond your limitations.
Real life hero? Who inspired you on this creative path?
Geez that’s a tough one??!
Styling: Currently I’m obsessed with Ib Kamara. He’s all kinds of wonderful. A perfect balance of fun, considered, improvised, colourful and experimental. One of my original fave’s was Bianca Jagger! Most stylish woman of all time!!! I also have a penchant for Sci- Fi and Brigette Bardot in Barbarella was next level!! Paco Rabanne is a god!
Design: Martin Margiela/ Maison Margiela the original and I love MM6.
Costume: Leigh Bowery. The original weird and wonderful! Walter Van Beirendonck was also one of my first inspirations back in the millennium. Verushka model/ performance artist.
How do you work through anxiety or blockages in your creative practice?
Good question! I’m sure all creatives come up against the same challenges. Imagination can be scary as you set yourself up for judgement and failure. Unfortunately it’s part of the process. In my mind it’s natures way of saying you need a break. I often go deep into work frenzies and forget to interact with the world. Dance or nature or both are the best cures for me! Sometimes you need to shake it loose to get the creative juices flowing and to bring you back to earth. Music is the perfect inspiration.
Like most stylists with a tonne of tools in their belts – you style, design your own label and consult for brands. How do you manage being so multidisciplinary?
I’ve always struggled with focus. I get bored easily so I have to mix it up to stay inspired. Everything I do feeds off the other. Styling feeds design and vice versa. Costume feeds design which feeds styling and so on. Fashion is a weird world and I couldn’t solely work within it. The world of music and costume is a great escape.
What advice would you give to stylists starting out?
Don’t play it safe.
What has your practice taught you?
Enthusiasm and persistence goes a long way!
Yoga and green tea.
Food from the gods?
All of the sugars.. dammit! Cake, cookies, chocolate and ice cream!
Early bird or Night owls?
both. I’ll sleep when I’m dead
Small-town Boy- Bronski Beat
Devendra Banhart- Fur Hildegard von Bingeew album is amazing!
Client Liaison- End of the Earth
George Michael….Freedom (I miss you!)
No Real Sekele Fo’Ya by Pasteur Lappe
Total Giovanni- Paradise
Harry Belafonte- Jump in the line
Tina Turner- Private Dancer (fave line ‘I wanna make a million dollars’)
Jai Paul- Jasmine
No Zu- xxx (outback latex)
Let me show you love- Romanthony
Float on- Iron Horse
Jolene- Dolly Parton
Kate Bush- Running up that Hill
Mr. Flagio- Take a chance
Simon & Garfunkel- Cecilia
Paul Simon- Obvious Child
Yello- Oh yeah
Saint Etienne- Only love can break your heart