Featured Designer: Bonsai Kitten

FK chats to Rhea about her super cute label, Bonsai Kitten

We love your label! What inspired you to start?
I’ve always been obsessed with good underwear. There’s nothing better than putting on a fun pair to get you in a good mood and start the day out right! I usually start planning my outfit around with my undies (slight OC maybe?!), and can never have enough pairs.

I think I was also inspired by underwear because they’re so simple, and you can really play around with bold colours and prints. Bonsai Kitten has given me the opportunity to make great fitting undies in super-fun styles. And now I have a constant supply of new underwear!

Have you always been a creative soul and how did you get into fashion?
I remember my grandma teaching me to sew when I was about 12. I used to love going to visit her because she was so creative and had a box overflowing with art supplies, and a room full of fabric. I think that was where my love of creating things began.

Since then I’ve always made clothes, I’ve studied Textile Design and had a clothing label which I still operate. Until recently I also dabbled with Costume Design, before deciding to concentrate wholly and solely on fashion for awhile. I love fashion, costume and clothing as it provides such an amazing vehicle for personal expression, and style. Fashion will always come and go but great style is forever!

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’ve had a fascination with 40’s and 50’s pin-up girls for a long time now, and I think that classic form and style is definitely a thematic through-out my designs. I love the elegance of that era, and that the female form was celebrated for its curves and femininity. I also draw inspiration from an eclectic range of other sources, which include vintage fabrics, music, street art, illustration and generally any innovative creative expression.

What has been the most exciting thing to happen, and what have you learnt since starting your label?
I have only been operating Bonsai Kitten since late 2010 so its still very much in the growth stages, but so far its been amazing getting my product out there and getting such a fabulous response. I’m very excited to be part of the Finders Keepers Market and look forward to expanding my business and taking Bonsai Kitten interstate. I’ve also been hatching some plans for a future Fashion Week installation, so stay tuned!

As a creative person it can be difficult sometimes to stay motivated to tackle the business side of things, but one of the things most important things I’ve learned is perseverance and hardwork do pay off.

What is your workspace like and what inspires you about your surroundings?
To be completely honest my work space is a bit of a disaster. I have a tiny studio which is always super cluttered with fabrics, trims, lace, cotton and general bric-brac everywhere. I’m trying to instil a better natural order, which is happening slowly.

I went to the Nicholson Building open studios in Melbourne last year and was so inspired by some of the beautiful spaces there that I came back and whipped my studio into a more aesthetically pleasing place to be in, which has definitely helped me work my effectively.

What plans do you have for the label in the future?
At the moment I’ve been concentrating on getting the label up and running, and have been focusing on just underwear. However, I’d really like to explore making bras and camisoles to match my undie designs, and also designing boxer shorts in the future. I’ve always really loved kimono style wraps, so maybe a lil foray into sleepwear may develop and time unfolds.

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