Chatting to design duo Georgie and Lizzie Renkert.
Masters of floaty silhouettes, floral prints and embellishment, sisters Lizzie and Georgie Renkert established We Are Kindred in 2013. With Lizzie a former fashion magazine editor and Georgie previously in product development at Sportsgirl, the two combined their sartorial strengths to form the brand to great success. This year marks five years since they first debuted at Australian Fashion Week and it looks as if their bohemian meets sexy meets modern aesthetic continues to go from strength to strength. I caught up with Lizzie and Georgie ahead of their show to chat about the Kindred woman, how their designs have evolved and what we can expect from their new collection.
So it’s been a big couple of weeks for you guys.
Lizzie: It has. It’s been pretty hectic.
How have you been in the lead up to Fashion Week?
Lizzie: Well it’s stressful and everything but we kind of love it. It’s organised. It’s our favourite time of year.
Georgie: Yeah. To do this it’s constant.
Lizzie: But we start planning for Fashion Week before Christmas
Georgie: …before Christmas. So we actually design before Christmas.
Lizzie: I start to talk to sponsors and all those sorts of things before Christmas. So even though it’s really stressful…
Georgie: …It’s manageable.
Lizzie: I hate to think how it would be if you weren’t organised. That would just fill me with anxiety.
What do you love most about showing at Fashion Week?
Lizzie: I think it’s a really great way for us to showcase the brand in its entirety. Because where we tend to have more of an online presence, this a way for people to actually see it up close and personal. It’s a way for us to bring the vision of Kindred to life. So that’s why we love it so much, I think.
What can we expect to see on the runway this season?
Georgie: It’s extra pretty.
Lizzie: It’s so calming. The Kindred girl comes to us for beautiful prints.
Georgie: It’s actually sexy-pretty.
Lizzie: And yeah it’s actually a pretty aesthetic. [We know] they’re coming to us for florals and lace. We have some darker colours. We’ve got black [in the collection] which is still in a floral. We’ve got black in there these days.
Georgie: And the trimmings also.
Lizzie: Yeah. Beautiful intricate details. We’re primarily a dress brand, but we’re trying to train our customer to realise that yes, you can wear a really gorgeous dress that you might wear to a wedding or engagement party to the office with trainers if you want. You don’t have to compartmentalise your wardrobe so much. That’s certainly how we get dressed up. I look like I’m going to a wedding most days when I do the school drop off.
How has the Kindred Girl evolved over the years?
Lizzie: She’s kind of growing with us.
Georgie: Cooler, I think.
Lizzie: I feel like the Kindred girl is not really a particular age. It’s more of a mindset. We appeal to teenagers going to their formals, to mothers in their forties.
It’s an amazing market to have.
Lizzie: Yeah. So we do feel like mums and daughters go shopping at Kindred together and they can both find something.
How do you balance that?
Lizzie: Essentially, we’re always designing for us.
Georgie: For us. Pretty much.
Lizzie: I’m in my early forties, Georgie is in her thirties. The teams are in their twenties and thirties. So twenties, thirties, forties. So we don’t sit down and go oh what would mother of the bride want? What would a girl going to a school formal want? But it does seem to translate. Which is good. So it is quite a broad demographic. Which is what we want.
How did your fashion journey begin?
Georgie: Well, as kids we used to talk about it. We didn’t ever think it would actually.
Lizzie: And Georgie studied fashion design, and I worked in women’s magazines for ages. We both had very happy careers in the corporate world. Circumstances changed and we thought oh well let’s just [start a brand. It’s surprised me. I didn’t think that I would like working for myself this much, but Georgie’s got an 8-month old and I’ve got a six and a four-year-old.
Georgie: Flexibility is amazing.
Lizzie: As well as how amazing it is to be building a brand from scratch and to have an amazing team around us and all of those things. It’s just amazing to not have that mother guilt. Because we’re still doing both.
Georgie: Yeah. Pick up the kids at 3:00 if we have to. So that’s amazing
Lizzie: So that’s definitely important. But the journey, you know, we combined our skill sets.
Georgie: [It] happened organically.
Lizzie: We combined our skill sets, and thank god-
Georgie: There’s no way. I couldn’t have done it without her.
Lizzie: And I couldn’t have done it without you.
What’s it like working as sisters?
Georgie: Oh. It’s amazing.
Is it hard?
Lizzie: It’s great. We annoy each other a little bit sometimes. But not-
Georgie: You can kind of go …. So far.
Lizzie: And the big issues we always agree. Which is on the important things. We always agree. And because we’re sisters and we’re best friends. We just –
Georgie: In sync. We communicate very well.
Lizzie: She’s the only person I could do this with. (laughs)
Georgie: I know I’m the only person you could do this with. (laughs)
You teamed up with Vittoria Coffee again on their Fashion Series this year, which is exciting.
Lizzie: Yeah. Vittoria have been incredible to us. They started supporting us before we even launched actually.
Lizzie: They helped us with our launch party. They have a really great grasp on how the two industries can merge. They’ve been so supportive, and it’s really great to see something like we used to create in garments [on coffee cups] because we’re all print brand. We start every collection with our prints. That’s how we actually start designing. It kind of makes perfect sense for us that we’ve teamed up with a brand where the print is key.
What was the inspiration behind these prints on the cups?
Lizzie: The Kindred girl comes to us to feel pretty – when we got a pretty dress on when feeling good then-
Georgie: Then you feel better.
Lizzie: -much nicer people. And I think [our inspiration was] things like walking through the Parisian gardens. And it’s just really beautiful and pretty. And like yes you have your coffee and you can pick them up at your local coffee store. But then you bring them back-
Georgie: And put pens in them.
Lizzie: You can put pens in them on your desk or you can put flowers in them. They’re really beautiful.
As part of the Vittoria Coffee fashion series you also did the behind the scenes photo shoot with fashion photographer Sonny Vandevelde. What was that like?
Lizzie: I’ve known Sonny for years. Shooting backstage and everything. So when they were like oh yeah Sonny’s going to shoot. [I thought] Oh that’ll be fun. And he takes such gorgeous pictures.
Georgie: Was fun.
Lizzie: He takes such gorgeous pictures. But they’re all supermodels.
Georgie: Like having our pictures taken. It was actually amazing. We were like oh.
Lizzie: And because he’s used to shooting on the fly backstage, it was really —
Georgie: Jumping up and down.
Lizzie: But yeah it was great. It really captured a moment. It was nice.
I can’t wait to see your show.
Lizzie & Georgie: Thank you so much.
My Day 3 wrap, interviewing the designers behind Macgraw and We are Kindred.
The Shows: Ginger & Smart, We Are Kindred and the Maggie Marilyn launch
Where: On site at Carriageworks for We Are Kindred; Offsite at the Art Gallery of NSW for Ginger & Smart
My day started… early with the first show kicking off at 8.30am for a 9am start for the Ginger & Smart show at the Art Gallery of NSW. I was up at 5am with the kids and out the door by 7.30am to make it to the show in time through peak hour traffic.
My outfit today… was all about colour. I wanted something vibrant and colourful. I opted for a pant and shirt combo to mix it up from my previous looks.
Favourite show… Ginger & Smart.
The one look I fell in love with… the soft pink dress at Ginger & Smart (pictured below) which had such unique detailing and texture.
Parties/events I attended… a lunch for New Zealand designer Maggie Marilyn at The Dolphin at Sydney’s Surry Hills. It was so nice to sit and enjoy lunch with other industry people. I also did a quick photo shoot at Sun Studios in Alexandria between shows. The shoot was with Dion Lee as he is putting together a portrait series to bring to life the Dion Lee [SUIT] collection and pays tribute to the women that have inspired the brand since its inception in 2009. I felt very honoured to be involved.
Big trends I saw… big silhouettes, ruffled textures, bold colours, interesting shapes and structures, sheer tulle, bold prints and organic prints at Ginger & Smart. Meanwhile at We Are Kindred it was ultra feminine with lots of lace, pastels, prints, florals, along with layering of textures and a touch of boho.
Big trends I saw on attendees… there was more suiting on show along with bomber jackets and faux fur in bold colours.
What I ate/drank… at theMaggie Marilyn lunch I enjoyed antipasti followed by roast chicken with wood fired fennel, pizza romana and salad.