Imagine bringing your holidays to life on wearable art?
Also, how amazing would it be to have the opportunity to work with Qantas, Jess Hart, Edwina McCann and Nicole Warne, inspiring photographers to share their favourite shots to create a collection?
Well Bird and Knoll have made it happen. This creative duo have been creating wearable art since 2013, brining photographs of iconic destinations to life on luxurious, oversized scarves. Each vignette tells a story of a time and a place, evoking a million different emotions to all who wear them.
I always love to reflect on the journey my life takes me and meeting Natalie Knoll is one of those wonderful moments.
In February this year I was introduced to an amazing woman, due to our mutual passion for leather craftsmanship, Italy and fashion. A real #trailblazer who whilst travelling around the world making exquisite shoes also relentlessly supports emerging women entrepreneurs and connecting people.
This is how I met Natalie Knoll, founder of Bird and Knoll. Before I knew it we were having breakfast in Rushcutters Bay and Nat has been a wonderful support and friend ever since.
Their journey started with scarves and has now led the pair to create gorgeous resort collections including maxis, kaftans and tunic cover-ups selling around the world. The perfect elegant lifestyle accessory, their story will continue to travel around the world and following is just a snippet into what makes Bird and Knoll.
How did it all begin?
Bird and Knoll is the meeting of a fashion mind and a creative eye. I am a professional photographer and Macayla is an ex-fashion editor. I have always wanted to merge my passion for photography and travel with my love of fashion – the idea of transforming my vibrant travel images into scarves was the genesis and the person I wanted to do this with was obvious from the start, friend and fashion aesthete Macayla Chapman.
We quickly got to work on our new business and with me behind the camera and Macayla’s creative business background in some of New Zealand’s most successful fashion businesses, including Helen Cherry and Workshop, our trans-Tasman collaboration focuses on combining tactile, quality textiles and finishes with distinct photographic images to create a beautiful brand of luxe accessories.
We have set out to create an accessories collection that the discerning fashionista would use as the final edit of her outfit – like a great handbag, a beautiful pair of shoes…an eye-catching scarf. These are pieces that simplify her life with their versatility, quality and creative impact
Who is Bird & Knoll?
Myself (Natalie Knoll) based in Sydney and Macayla Chapman (the “Bird” in the partnership) based in Auckland.
Where do you source your inspiration and fabrics?
We start working on the collection about six months before it hits the stores. Our destinations are iconic and exotic – places that inspire travel, so we start with this in mind. Then we create our mood board. This can be anything from a visual image of a colour to a feeling you get from looking at a beautiful sunset or the way a model is moving.
Once the ‘picture/vision’ starts to appear, we take into consideration the season, trending colours … and then go shopping in our expansive archive of travel images. We actually select the image rather than the destination. Most importantly, though, they are strong images that really speak to us about the place. Whether they are an esoteric vignette of a city or a more traditional image of an iconic destination, they are images that tell a story of places that really inspire wanderlust. Of course, they also always hold special memories for us!
Our signature fabric blend is a beautiful mix of cashmere and modal. The cashmere obviously keeps the scarf soft (and softer every time you wear it) but the modal makes it hard-wearing. We are very excited to be introducing an Italian blend for AW17, made in the Como, Italy and with a higher cashmere content, the perfect complement to our signature blend.
What are some interesting collaborations you have worked on?
We have had a few great collaborations – two with Qantas (2015 and 2016) and with international jewellery brand, Zoe and Morgan (a capsule collection of three cotton scarves inspired by Morocco). Our first collaboration with Qantas was working with their trend consultant, supermodel Jess Hart, to produce a scarf of her “feels like home” destination, Melbourne.
This year we invited Qantas customers to submit their travel images of Qantas destinations – along with Vogue editor, Edwina McCann, Qantas and their digital consultant, Nicole Warne (@garypeppergirl), we selected four winning entries that have been turned into stunning silk scarves now sold online at Bird and Knoll and Qantas and available through InSky shopping too.
What’s coming new in 2016?
2016/ 2017 sees the debut of our resort collection, stunning beach coverups (poncho, kaftan, maxi dress and tunic) designed to take you easily from beach or poolside to lunch and cocktails.
Versatile pieces that follow the Bird and Knoll ethos of effortless quality travel essentials.
What’s your favourite part of having your own business?
Having your own business is a rollercoaster of ups and downs but they are that much more intense when you have full ownership of them. We do love the creative process of the business and having the partnership to make strategic decisions together… and know that ultimately we are in control and can take the business in a number of different directions if we want to.
Where are 5 places you would love to visit and photograph?
Oh so many places! I would love to go to India, Japan, China, back to Africa, southern Italy and on our own doorstep, the NT. Oh..and New Zealand’s south island!
My personal aspirations are around taking better care of myself. It is so easy to be caught up in and consumed by the minutiae of running a business and a family and forget to take time out for fitness and reflection.
Favourite blogger and Insta account?
@thestylephiles for their beautiful imagery of travel and interiors – always inspiring.
What 5 items in your wardrobe can’t you live without?
My frame denims, Isabel Marant trainers, Bassike t’s and jumpers, Celine sunglasses and of course a Bird and Knoll scarf 🙂
And of course what’s your favourite Hills & West accessory?
Morgan 3 in 1 tote and backpack. Very versatile and stylish!
What we love at Hills & West is the quality and the versatility of Bird & Knoll scarves. Worn as head scarf, neck scarf or as a handbag embellishment, it is definitely the perfect accessory to go with one of our new collection pieces coming soon.
Keep an eye out and set yourself up for looking fabulous this summer.