Natalie Bassingthwaighte, what can I say, an Australian recording artist, actress, author and television personality, but there was one string missing from her bow………Fashion designer. I had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Bassingthwaighte as she reveals to me her Chi Khi side.
Natalie Bassingthwaighte hit our screens in 2003 on Australian Soap Opera Neighbours as Izzy Hoyland. With performing always in the for front of her mind, she left neighbours to pursue her career in the music industry where she was offered to be the lead singer of Australian electro-pop band, Rogue Traders.
Aside from her acting and music career, Natalie co-wrote her first book, Sistahood: A Journal of Self-Discovery, with her younger sister and later graced our screens again when she was invited as 1 of 3 hosts and mentors on X-Factor Australian and New Zealand.
Amongst Nat’s busy schedule, she managed to find time to marry her long time boyfriend Cameron McGlinchey and start a Chi Khi little family of her own. In August 2010 Harper Rain Sinclair McGlinchey was born and in May 2013 Hendrix John Hickson McGlinchey entered the world.
Nat, being a fashion savvy icon, always found it hard to find children’s clothing that wasn’t your typical “girlie” type style or typical 50 shades of blue for the boys. Nat’s bambino’s, like their mother, where going to be stylish.
‘The designs are for fashion conscious parents and kids who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd’
While chatting to Nat about where life has lead her and what lies ahead, she sure has been on the ride of her life and she has no plans of getting off the rollercoaster anytime soon.
Her newest venture is Fashion and in particular children’s fashion. If you know Nat like her family and friends do, she is warm, loving and very cheeky, so it’s only fitting that her new children’s clothing range is called just that – Chi Khi
Tam: How did you start your business and what was the thought or inspiration behind starting your business venture?
Nat: Chi Khi was inspired by my children. Becoming a mum felt like the best thing I have ever done. I have always loved art, architecture, design and of course fashion. I wanted to create something from all my loves. Chi Khi was born!
Tam: What inspired your career and interest in the fashion industry?
Nat: I have never been afraid of a challenge. I seem to be attracted to learning but I am also a very visual person. I remember very early on my love for architecture. Space, light, sound. My love of fashion has felt like an evolution of that.
Nat: I wanted to create a beautiful brand. Something special but also practical and comfortable. I wanted kids to look like kids. A brand that people could truth because they knew there was incredible thought behind every garment. But also playful pieces that stood out from the crowd.
Tam: What is your business mantra or philosophy behind your label?
Nat: My mantra is always treat people how you would like to be treated.
Tam: Who did you create your line for? Please describe the person you are designing for?
Nat: The designs are for fashion conscious parents and kids who are not afraid to stand out from the crowd..
Tam: Please tell us about your current or seasonal look?
Nat: Monochrome is the basis for everything we do at Chi Khi. Pieces that can be mixed and matched. Wearable, comfortable, but cool. Our fabric of choice is bamboo because it is so soft and beautiful for sensitive skin.
Nat: Spring summer is looking unbelievable. We are really pushing the boundaries in kids fashion. Including skincare and accessories!
Tam: In terms of your own personal style mantra how do you like to dress?
Nat: I love to be stylish but uber comfortable. I love great basics and a few statement pieces to go from day to night. I love great accessories too.
Tam: During your time designing and owning your business in the fashion industry what advice can you give to others that are wanting to start their own fashion label?
Nat: My advice would be to get ready because it is a crazy ride. Countless hours.. But it is so rewarding seeing your dreams come to life!
Tam: I believe that every path to success is littered with learnings (i.e. challenges!) along the way – what have been some of your greatest challenges to get you here today?
Nat: My biggest challenges have been balancing family and work. Ultimately I’m doing this to spend more time with my family but when setting up a new business it takes time.
- Always open your mind to learning
- Know your strengths and weaknesses
- Learn to delegate
- Have a great work/life balance
- Be grateful
Tam: What is 2015 going to bring for you?
Nat: Hopefully more sleep!
Tam: What’s next when it comes to your Brand/Label?
Nat: I always felt this was something big. Chi Khi mini, Chi Khi kid, Chi Khi tween. You name it. The interest in larger sizes has been phenomenal. We have also developed a beautiful range of baby skincare too. So many ideas. The sky is the limit.
Tam: What is your 2015/2016 Fashion Predictions?
Nat: Mesh is in.
- My family
- My friends
- My iPhone
- Rainy days
Tam: If you had to re start your wardrobe from scratch, what would be the first 5 things you buy?
Nat: A good pair of jeans, loafers, t shirt, blazer, underwear!
Tam: What is your biggest fashion Faux-Pas?
Nat: My biggest fashion faux par would be . hot pants!! Mind you I could get a way with it back then. Not any more lol.
Tam: If you weren’t a Fashion Designer, what would you be doing?
Nat: I would probably be an architect or interior designer.
Tam: What do you hope to have achieved in the industry, 10 years from now?
Nat: I would love the brand to grow. we have had such a demand for larger sizes so expanding that. Skin care, home, swim you name it!
Tam: There is a trend right now using organic fabric, what are your thoughts and do/or have you plan on using organic fabrics in your designs?
Nat: Most of our pieces are made from bamboo and bamboo blends.. It is such a beautiful fabric and has so many incredible qualites. It is perfect for little ones with sensitive skin, it is durable and feels like cashmere. It is cool in summer and warm in winter.
To see Chi Khi’s full range of Childrens clothing jump onto the website : http://chikhi.co/shop