“We want to inspire travel,” says Natalie Knoll, a Sydney-based banker-turned-photographer and one half of trans-Tasman design duo Bird & Knoll. “We want to appeal to the woman who recognises quality, luxury and the value of the scarf as a final edit to an outfit.”
Knoll, who has a serious case of the travel bug, says she came up with the idea of transforming her vibrant adventure snaps into scarves while lying on a sun-lounger in Hawaii. “I wanted to merge my love of photography with my love of fashion,” she says. While the Sydney local had no fashion experience at the time, she instantly thought of Macayla Chapman, an Auckland-based ex-fashion editor and industry professional she had met while chaperoning her children to swimming lessons. “We saw each other’s outfit from across the pool and the friendship grew from there,” recalls Chapman with a smile. And with the above-mentioned well-travelled, creative and fashion savvy customer in mind, the duo went on to blend their mutual love of style, photography and wanderlust to create an exquisite brand of luxury cashmere-blended carry-on essentials.
Working on their label from across the Tasman has been a blessing for inspiration, not to mention cross-continental pollination. “The markets are quite different in how they embrace new designers. In many ways, New Zealand leads the way,” says Knoll. “But Australia is definitely following, we’re really seeing Australia sitting up and taking notice.”
Their first collection, aptly christened The First Six Things, has just dropped into Sydney boutique Poepke and is a plush range of six scarves exquisitely printed with Knoll’s photographs from around the globe. “We wanted to choose destinations that are iconic and fill people with aspirations of travel,” says Knoll. “New York is definitely one of those. Marrakesh? Well, everybody’s got a desire to roam the medinas of Marrakesh, haven’t they?” Chapman and Knoll have no intention of stopping at scarves, with more jet-set essentials in the works. “We’re big on accessories,” smiles Chapman. “Each season we’re going to grow and create the essentials people want when they’re travelling.”
Scarves are available at Poepke and online at birdandknoll.com