Why this Australian label should be on every girly girl’s radar
They say sisters are lifelong best friends, but do they make the perfect business partners? When it comes to Lizzie and Georgie Renkert, it certainly seems so. The duo from Sydney are the founders of We Are Kindred, an Australian label that is the epitome of femininity with a touch of bohemia. Florals and ruffles, coupled up with sexy cut-outs are mainstays of their collection. Although the brand has only been around since 2013, We Are Kindred expansion is not one to be missed—with stockists in Asia, Europe, Middle East and in the US, they're not planning to slow down anytime soon. The Renkert sisters were recently in town for their first Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Kuala Lumpur show, and Fashion Editor Joan took the chance to have a chat with the dynamic duo for more insight into the Australian label, and how they're growing it one step at a time.
1. How did the brand come about? Was this something you both wanted to do since you were young?
Lizzie Renkert: I had worked in media for 18 years before—I was the deputy editor of Marie Claire Magazine and the editor of Madison magazine, and Georgie has a fashion design background and has worked on the production side. Launching a label was something we've always talked about, but we never really took action.
Georgie Renkert: Not until we found the perfect timing, and everything just fell into place. We saw a gap of an overcrowded market of the same styles and designs, and we just went ahead and did it, not really realising how hard it would be.
Lizzie: It's a very competitive market but I think with Georgie and my background which are both super competitive, it cannot get any harder than this.
2. Can you tell us more about your design process?
Lizzie: We always start with our prints, which I know is quite unusual, as most designers start with the silhouette or the theme. Everything about Kindred is our prints.
Georgie: The feeling of the season comes from the print. That's the first thing we do, and then we move forward.
3. Describe the We Are Kindred women.
Georgie: The Kindred woman is one who doesn't take herself too seriously. She is happy, feminine and she enjoys life.
4. How many collections does the brand produce a year?
Lizzie: We do 3 collections per year—Pre-Fall, Resort, and Spring/Summer. We don't do cold climate, just because that's not what people are coming to us for. And as you know, in Australia, it never gets too cold.
5. Tell us more about the AW19 collection.
Lizzie: This collection in particular was based on a modern-day prairie—the wide open spaces, blue skies and sand are being translated into the collection. And of course, the Australiana flowers. Through this collection, we'd really like to educate our customers that yes, they are beautiful dresses, but you can wear them with trainers or biker boots or denim jacket.
6. You've mentioned that the brand celebrates feminism. Tell us more about that.
Georgie: We participate in this movement called i=Change where we pledge to donate $1 from every sale to the charities we've chosen. There's one for women who have been rescued from human trafficiking, and one is for women in shelters in Australia.
Lizzie: But all in all, in terms of adding to feminism, I think it's all about making people feel good. We may not be saving lives, but when you're wearing a Kindred dress you can be the best version of yourself.
7. If you guys could dress anyone in the world, who would it be?
Georgie: Kaia Gerber.
Lizzie: Kate Moss!
8. What's the best thing about working with your sister? And the worst?
Georgie: The best thing is because we're best friends, it's so easy.
Lizzie: Our working relationship can be very honest. We can be very harsh when we have to, but we get over it really quick. We listen to each other.
Lizzie: The worst thing is she (Georgie) is always late!
9. Describe your perfect weekend ensemble.
Lizzie: A Kindred top with a pair of high-waisted flared jeans.
Georgie: I like to wear a pretty dress with sneakers, and a denim jacket around the waist. That's basically how we dress all the time.
10. What's your proudest moment as the founders of We Are Kindred so far?
Lizzie: Every year when we show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Sydney! Because we're still a small team and we've really been focusing on the day-to-day growth, when we get to take a moment and actually see everything come to life, that's when we're proud.
11. What do you aim to achieve with We Are Kindred, and where do you see it in 10 years from now?
Georgie: Fashion domination! (laughs) I think just to keep on continuing in expanding into the international market.
Lizzie: I think we'll be threading a fine line over the next stages of the business between growing and staying true to ourselves. It's tricky, but we don't want to grow the business too much until we're losing too much of the business. No matter how big we grow, we'll still be hands on and still enjoying it as much as we do now.
Georgie: We could be having a holiday.
Lizzie: A holiday would be good!
12. What's one advice you would give for young designers who plan to start their own label?
Lizzie: Our major advice: Wait and really earn your stripes. You have to have the experience, the contacts, make mistakes and learn before you can start running your own business, and you should also learn the business side of things.
13. What's next for the brand?
Lizzie: We're very successful in the Middle East and in Europe, and we're also launching a Chinese website in China. But our next step is to tackle the American market. We're on Revolve, Shopbop, Anthropolige and more stores, but we haven't places as much focus in the US, and it's such as huge base.
Georgie: We're also opening our new store in Sydney!
Shop the We Are Kindred collections online, or at the August Store at Bangsar Village II.