We’re obsessed with your tracksuits! I bought my first one during quarantine and have been living in it. We placed a big order for KZ right away that has finally arrived. Why did you start designing them?
The tracksuit was born out of the idea of putting one thing on, and everything I do in that day I can do looking and feeling great. I can go to pilates in a bodysuit and the trackpants and then I can take my daughter to school, and then I could go to the office and then go to dinner - all in the same look. Everything that defines how I live my life on a daily basis I found I could do in a tracksuit.
There’s a versatility to our pieces and I think monochromatic dressing is so flattering on everyone. It’s an effortless way to look put together in every environment - no matter where you are. It carries you throughout the day without having to think twice. We have pioneered the idea of the elevated tracksuit for today. We’re here to elevate the concept of comfort and style in one.
You have updated Juicy Couture! And I hear you have their blessing. Tell us more please.
Pamela Skaist Levy who is the co-founder of Juicy Couture placed an order and then sent a message on Instagram saying how thrilled she is to see another team continuing the legacy of the velour tracksuit and how much she loved them.
Tell us about growing up in Australia and how that has influenced your design sense?
I definitely think the laid-back nature of growing up by the beach in Australia has contributed to my design aesthetic in keeping things relaxed, fun, colorful and playful. Color is a huge part of the brand especially in the winter months when I need some Queensland sunshine in my life. The color brings joy and keeps that fun Australian spirit coming through in the clothing. The ease of the collection is important as comfort is so high on the list of what our customers need today. I think it’s so important to take care of oneself and I think these clothes somehow lend themselves to this idea that we don’t have to be so hard on ourselves.
It takes me back to the early conversations I had with friends of mine in the corporate world who all said, “Oh, I could never wear a tracksuit to work,” and I said, “never say never!” I love the challenge of converting women to the tracksuits and it’s the best when I see them feeling incredible in their first set and wearing it to work with a blazer and feeling amazing. Women were only really able to enter the corporate world in the 1980’s and fashion evolved in a way where women started to wear suits to fit in and be taken “seriously” and we’re here to help move the style narrative away from that idea. You can be an incredible powerhouse and still have your own signature style in a colorful way that you feel great in. We make suits - they’re just in velour and ponte!
Is it really true that you sailed from Australia to NYC on a sailboat for 13 months? How did that come about? What was the best and worst part about that experience?
It is 100% true. Through a series of events and a bit of a love story, I found myself sailing from Australia to New York with a bunch of Americans. It was an amazing experience to arrive in this country via sailboat. When I told my Dad I was planning to sail to the States he said, “you know you can fly?”
The best part of the experience was that I got to wear a bikini every single day for 13 months. I learned to scuba dive, and I went to some of the most incredible remote places in the world like the Island of Aldabra. There are only 8 scientists on the island and it’s only accessible by boat and the wildlife is incredible - it’s like stepping back into a prehistoric time capsule.
The book The Perfect Storm had just come out and I decided I wasn’t going to read the book until we got to the States. We made it to Cape Hatteras and we were almost there, and I decided it was safe enough to read the book. We then proceeded to hit the craziest storm at Cape Hatteras, and for three days we had 30-foot seas. Throughout the trip whenever we hit rough sea I would ask the captain (who was also my boyfriend), “are we going to be alright?!” and he would say yes of course. But I’ve read the book and I’m terrified, and after a whole trip of reassuring me he finally said, “I don’t know!” but we made it. When you’re so scared you’re a bit crazy and we were all just laughing because there was truly nothing else we could do!
What’s your inspiration? Your palette is always amazing. How do you choose your colors?
I draw inspiration from so many places - I’m just truly drawn to color. It’s born out of my colorful homeland and I find that I have to recreate an environment that feels sunny and colorful wherever I am. I take inspiration from others who love color, for example Luis Barragan who used color as a way to express their creative vision. He was an architect and engineer who created the most amazing colorful architecture in Mexico City and I was inspired by his signature color palettes for our SS21 collection.
How are you surviving Covid? What’s the mood in London?
The mood is getting better, people are starting to go out again but still being cautious. I’ve really savoured this time, dare I say - I’ve almost enjoyed it. The last year was very chaotic for me, so this calm and quiet time has been a gift. I’ve personally enjoyed the time at home and it’s given me the time to really slowdown and continue to develop creatively at a nice pace.
I loved seeing you so often in Amagansett this summer. Are you still living there?
Yes! We love Amagansett and we plan to keep the store. It was originally a pop-up but we quickly fell in love with the community and it’s been an amazing experience to be welcomed by everyone. My daughter is doing remote learning this year from our home in East Hampton and she rides horses a few days per week which she loves. I’ve even got her learning with an Australian tutor to keep her close to her roots.
Your accessory game is always so strong. Please show us some KZ favorites to go with your tracksuits.
I love to style my daily looks with fun shoes, great glasses and jewelry. So much of my jewelry is very personal and meaningful to me so I am never really without it. I love Linda Farrow and Tom Ford glasses so much. Bottega Veneta rain boots are a new obsession of mine (and a practical one with the current monsoon-like conditions here!). I also love a great coat, and I’m currently working on designing our first cashmere outerwear collection.