SS Brunch

SS Brunch with Aurai


I first came across Aurai before I travelled to New Zealand and I was initially drawn to the name. Aurai are subtle, gentle and difficult to find and they travel across the world through the sea bringing messages to the Gods. Now that I have returned and seen the wonderful country and learnt more about its rich culture, I am more humbled than ever to be able to introduce Natalia, who is the creative force behind this swimwear company which just launched its first collection this summer. Natalia was born in southern Brazil, where she graduated from University and started her career. She moved to Milan, where she pursued a Master’s Degree in Fashion Management at IED and worked in the buying office at La Rinascente. Currently she lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand.

In a world where everything is go go go, why are you attracted to the philosophy of ‘slow fashion’?

My interest in ethical fashion stemmed during my University years from a deep concern about questionable practices within the fashion industry and interest on new approaches in the way we produce and understand fashion. I understand the fascination with famous brands and fast fashion but it’s not a secret anymore the human and environmental cost of our current fashion system.

Besides the environmental concern, the slow fashion movement reinforces that workers should be respected and receive fair wages, designers and brands should be authentic and visionary to influence positively the market, and that customers should be provided with information and encouraged to make better choices when buying.

The way that businesses are conducted has never been more important, and although I won’t save the world making bikinis I feel that I have a responsibility to make it as better as I can. Hopefully I’ll inspire other brands to do the same and people to support small makers.

If you want to learn more about AURAI’s practices click here

In your debut collection, you experimented with fish leather, tell us briefly how the fish leather is made into a swimsuit?

At AURAI we are always searching for new technologies that can help us to develop more sustainable and creative products. I decided to experiment with fish leather after I learned that a local leather company had developed a way to treat fish leather, which is a by-product of the food industry and that often ends up polluting rivers and lakes, disturbing ecosystems and causing consequences beyond known solutions. I thought it could be not only interesting in terms of design and innovation but I also wanted to support their effort in creating such an amazing product.

How do you juggle being a creative and a business woman at the same time?

It’s a learning curve for sure, but nowadays I truly believe that my creativity makes me a better business woman and that my analytical skills help me to design and develop better products. It’s all about balance so I face it everyday as an opportunity to become a more resourceful professional.

My favourite print from the collection is the Koi Fish, what do Koi Fish mean to you?

I’ve always been passionate about Eastern history, culture and aesthetics and I’ve always loved the legend of the Koi Fish, this small but strong creature that swim against currents to the top of the mountain. It represents ambition, courage, perseverance and all the obstacles and successes we encounter in life, so it was a perfect visual symbolism for a first collection 🙂

Any hints on what we can expect in your next collection?

My next collection will be about a ‘journey to the ocean’, the sensation of wonder and delight that comes with touching the sand with our barefeet and feeling the cold salty water on our skin. The prints will tell this story while some pieces will receive beautiful handmade macramê detailing and contrasting ties. My passion for surfing will also be more in evidence in the form of a rash guard and an one-piece suit.

If you are interested in Aurai pieces, now is the time to have a sticky as they’re doing a big sale here. 



SS Brunch with Uzuri


I have returned from my holiday with plenty of beautiful things to share with you including the first SS Brunch of 2016. I want to introduce to you Magdel and Emre who are the founders of Uzuri, a newly launched brand that hails from the beautiful and graceful country that is Africa. They have a wonderful vision to clothe the inner dreamer, seeker and scholar and their SS16 Capsule Collection consists of timeless and elegant staples including The Moja which is a 100% leather sandal that has been locally sourced and crafted in Africa. I hope you enjoy this SS Brunch and feel inspired to tread lightly and kindly.

What makes Uzuri African?

Our leather and fabric are sourced locally and the craftsmen with whom we partner are all South African. We aim to design first and foremost for the women of Africa. Women of different ages, races and cultures – all embracing their heritage, inspiring generations to come, seeking beauty, living boldly but also seeking qualify and functionality.

Uzuri means beauty and grace. Do you have any muses that embody these two words?

We were both raised by strong and independent women, we have the privilege of being surrounded by incredible sisters and friends who are passionate about life, who are true to themselves, who pursue their dreams fearlessly. Ladies who live their lives with intent + walk in truth, in grace, in beauty. These are the women that inspire us, the women we want to dress.

What are some of the steps implemented so that your final product is ethical and fair?

We believe in buying local, even if the result is a slight increase in prices, and in  partnering with our South African craftsmen and ladies. We are involved in every single detail. Sourcing, meeting with our craftsmen / ladies, designing + the final quality control – we ensure that all the people in the production chain is honored and fairly compensated for their contribution. Uzuri is a vision that stretches further and wider than clothes + shoes. We love our country and we want to build + dream alongside contributors to continuously invest in + grow this multifaceted country of ours.

Tell me about your creative process, is there a certain time you work, a candle you burn, a beverage that you consume?

We have both been working full time until the end of 2015, so the dream of Uzuri was pursued over weekends, late nights + early mornings. We have been drinking numerous cups of tea + dreaming of a brand that is true + bold + ethical since 1999, when we first became friends in grade 8.

What are you goals for Uzuri in 2016?

Uzuri is still in its baby shoes. We want to continue building a brand without compromises- growing holistically but remaining faithful to the childhood dream. Our aim has always been to rather deliver an ethical product, that embodies beauty and quality, than delivering a bigger, more mainstream, but less ‘hands-on’, range. Of course this has its own challenges, especially in a growing market – the effect being that Uzuri ranges are always limited editions. Moreover we will continue to follow our hearts, work hard, and shine a light on the beauty that Africa has to offer.


The Moja in Nude Leather  (c/o)

If you want to learn more about Uzuri’s vision as well as visit their newly launched website, click here.  signoff2

SS Brunch with Lindsay

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This warm spring weather has me prematurely excited for summer already. Oh the beach and the tans and the long blissful days filled with nothing but the possibility of everything if you wish. I have my second SS Brunch collaboration with Lindsay today from Lindsay Nichole Designs. Lindsay is a designer and illustrator with the cutest online store filled with gorgeous prints, lettering and illustrated stationary. Make sure you give her a warm sunny hello and have a look at her Facebook and Instagram! You can also buy her work on Etsy as well as through her personal site here. She’s from the United States where they are bidding summer 2015 goodbye so I thought I would do a little Q&A to learn how I can get 2015/16 summer ready.

SS: In my head Summer Nights in all its finger snapping glory from Grease would be what I imagine my hot hot summers to be like, what song epitomises summer for you? Lindsay: I would have to say this summer’s go-to song was “This is Living” by Hillsong Young & Free! I love how upbeat and catchy it is! You can’t help but crank up the volume when it comes on! I also love the fact that you’re in Australia because this song is by my favorite artists group, Hillsong, who are also Australian! I love any music Hillsong puts out especially anything from Hillsong United or Young & Free.


SS: We’ve talked about the all important summer anthem but what is your windows down, hair flying, one hand steering, summer playlist for 2015? Lindsay: I don’t have a “set” playlist of songs, but the best summer songs are always the energetic ones & I also love country! A lot of the songs I listen to aren’t even current summer songs, they may be popular from like 2 or 3 summers ago! HaHa Basically, my playlist would consist of anything from Young & Free, United, or anything country! For country, I like Rascall Flatts, most Florida Georgia Line, a little bit of  Luke Bryan and some others. And of course, it’s always fun to mix in a little of classic Bieber! haha SS: Haha I can’t agree more, those pop lyrics are always too funny to sing along too. My friends and I always go back to singing Selena Gomez’s 2010 track: The Summer’s Not Hot Without You because the lyrics are absolute gold, “The temperature is 99 / And it can get much hotter.”

SS: I am all about the water and beaches in Sydney but if you had a staycation in your hometown what would you do? Lindsay: If you saw the town I grew up in, you may laugh and wonder how in the world anyone could live there! haha It’s a very small town in the panhandle of Texas. We have one traffic light and it’s a 45 minute drive through empty land as far as you can see, sprinkled with cows, windmills, and tractors just to get to the closet “big city.” We do have a lake though, so a staycation in my hometown would probably involve a lot of boating or other lake activities. Since I live in the “country” a staycation would also include a lot of “four-wheeling!” It would be a very relaxed, but a fun time! SS: Oh a lake sounds so fun, I can imagine a lot of lazing around on the bank and dips every few hours.


SS: Santorini with all that white and blue and copious amounts of pizza, pasta and gelato is my dream summer vacation spot. If money was no object, what would your picture perfect summer look like? Lindsay: I absolutely love traveling! I would gladly live out of a suitcase traveling to new places! I love to see different parts of the world and visit new places! If money was no object, my picture perfect summer would be traveling the world! I would stay as long as possible in every location! I have been fortunate to travel to some of the places on my illustration, but Sydney, Bora Bora, Greece, and Rome are some of the places I’d love to one day visit! I think a lot of my illustrations reflect my love for traveling! SS: Yes! Santorini is one of the islands in Greece but I wouldn’t mind Rhodes or Zakynthos, actually I might just go on one of those island hopping trips! I do hope you come to Sydney sometime in your life, it will blow your illustrated socks off your paper. That was a strange analogy but definitely put it on your must do before you die list!

SS: If you went someplace tropical and beachy, are you the kind of gal who would pack a swimsuit for every water related activity or do you keep it simple and just rock that one set over and over? Lindsay: I definitely pack multiple swimsuits! I like to have a variety of options haha I don’t overdo it, but I do like to have a few swimsuits to choose from! SS: I think I over do it but I just can’t stand putting a half dried bathing suit back on *shivers*.

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SS: Do you collect or send postcards when you go on vacation? I always send postcards to my loved ones but I also have an irrational fear that they will never get sent from the hotel lobby. Lindsay: No, but I recently started “collecting” the Starbucks mugs from the “You are here” collection. I kind of started “collecting” them by accident. I bought the first one when I was in New York, then I started noticing them when I would be visiting other places. So now I make more of a conscious effort to try and find one when I visit a new city! SS: What a neat idea! There are about 3 Starbucks in Sydney because we’re picky when it comes to coffee so you might have to search for a bit!I hope y’all enjoyed this post. The formatting was a nightmare, WordPress decided it didn’t want to give me paragraphs anymore but I think its being normal now.

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SS Goes to Brunch with Juliet

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I hope you guys are ready for a rather chatty post this hump day. I’m starting a new series on Style Smorgasbord called SS Brunch and today I’m delighted to introduce Juliet from TheJulietReport on Instagram. The idea behind these posts is just to feature other voices and personalities on this blog so you don’t get sick of me and my puns all the time. We’ll talk about all kinds of random stuff and then open the floor to you guys as well so you can join in the conversation too! As a trial, we’re keeping everything lighthearted today but in the future, I would love to delve into some other issues too. And what better meal to pour over our chatty concerns than brunch!? So without further ado, lets give a hand to SS BRUNCH WITH JULIET! I fell out of my chair when she agreed to draw something for Style Smorgasbord and I hope you guys hop over to TheJulietReport for more of her work.

Karen: I thought I would wrap up my holiday posts with several travelling questions so tell me, what’s your favourite city to holiday in? Juliet: Even though I have been there about five times already I still always dream about New York. I feel a special connection with New York. There is always so much to do there, it is a very inspiring place. Karen: That reminds me I need to put Welcome To New York as my phone ringtone, the opening tune is the best!


Karen: I feel like packing your carry on has almost become a science nowadays. There’s all these special compartment bags you can get and bottles that meet security guidelines … I tend to love overpacking reading material and then abandoning it for in flight entertainment … and then falling asleep! What are your personal in flight essentials? Juliet: I love to keep busy so I have to take my drawing equipment, a new book, magazines, skincare, especially lip balm and a refreshing face spritzer.

Karen: This is a bit of a strange one but I recently got my passport photos taking so I was wondering on a scale of one to ten (one being hate), how much do you like your passport photo? Juliet: Two. It isn’t a very flattering photo. I don’t think it even really looks like me.

Karen: When you step off the plane, are you a Kate Middleton or Miley Cyrus (i.e. polished and fresh or half dead haha)? Juliet: I’d like to think that I’m a Kate Middleton. I always choose style over comfort. Karen: Unfortunately, Miley for me. I just slap on a hat and sunglasses and hope I’m incognito lol.


Karen: Tell me about your creative process, do you draw at a particular time of the day? What materials do you use? Juliet: I have always been curious and always love to share what I know. Most of  my inspiration comes from my world, the things I do, the people I know and the things that I am interested in. It always begins with an idea, a thought, or a feeling. Depending on where I am or what I’m doing, I usually just keep notes on my phone to remind me, or I take photos of things I’d like to draw. I draw all the time, I draw when I wake up, on the train ride to and from work, at my desk, at cafes on my lunch break. I am a little bit obsessed with drawing, I can’t stop. I love to use watercolour but at the moment I am having a lot of fun with using Copic Markers. Karen: That’s amazing! I can totally see it come through your work as well 🙂


Karen: When I first came across your feed, one of the things that struck me about your work was the little captions underneath. I personally think they’re charming, witty and relevant but what’s the significance of them? Juliet: The captions are usually things people have said to me, sometimes they are from things that I have read. I never know what they will be until I hear it. It can really be anything that I connect with, anything that makes me think, or question what I already know. The quote usually comes first, however sometimes if I see something I’d really love to draw, I then find a quote that will go with it. Karen: That is so interesting because for me, I always shoot my photographs first and then the caption or title comes later!


Karen: My readers would like to know your biography … or at least a little about you – what do you do, how you roll? Juliet: I was born in Perth and moved to Melbourne about eight years ago. As I mentioned, I’m super curious so that means I have tried many different things. I have studied, accounting, journalism, makeup artistry, fashion and textiles merchandising and currently I’m in my third year of a Fashion Design Degree. I have worked as a barista, in fashion retail, I worked in Finance for ten years and now I work as an Assistant Designer for a Menswear label and as a Freelance Illustrator. I love doing new things, I love spending time with my friends, I love reading, going to the movies and drinking coffee. Lots of coffee please! Karen: Wow, that is really something, thank you so much for sharing!


That is a wrap people! I hope you enjoyed this Wednesday special and for now, I will leave you with this box of adorable doughnuts!

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