Feminine, free and adventurous – this is how KIKI KEYSER describes her label, KiVARi, yet these three words could also be describing it’s designer. This free-spirited entrepreneur has such a passion for travel, she even gave up her career to become an Emirates cabin crew member for three years. So it’s no surprise KiVARi reflects her love of exotic places and her times spent venturing off the beaten track.

Tell me a bit about KiVARi.
KiVARi is an eclectic collection of everything that is wild and free. KiVARi has soul, character and is built on my passion for the unexplored and the freedom to live outside the square. KiVARi is statement leather bags, clutches and free flowing fabrics, worn by bold, strong and independent woman.

How did it come about? 
KiVARi started in 2010 when I found the market lacked unique yet affordable, quality leather bags. My passion for travel and design spurred me onto my KiVARi adventure.

I started designing small, festival bags and pouches. I’ve now branched into a full range of embellished leather bags, shoes and this summer a line of KiVARi clothing which ranges from stunning kimonos, lace tops, flowing dresses and to-die-for leather fringed shorts.

Where does the name come from? 
KiVARi is a fusion of my nickname KIKI and the word VARI, Vari meaning “essence of self”.

Who is your client? 
The free-spirited, young at heart woman.

What does your label encompass? 
KiVARi specialises in unique leather bags, statement catwalk clutches and footwear with a “wow” factor.

How do you get inspiration? 
I find most of my inspirations when I travel. Whether it be on a bus, train, plane or boat. I guess that’s my quiet time when I get the chance to reflect on the day and absorb the soul of the culture of exciting new destinations.

I have also learnt to always carry a note book with me so I draw pieces and write down ideas as inspiration comes to me. One of my best selling designs came from simple sketch as I stared out a dirty bus window in Cambodia.

How have you found being a designer on the Gold Coast?
Living on the Gold Coast you don’t have the exposure that the bigger cities have, so yes, I guess it is a little tough at times. However the local markets and social media are a great platform for brand exposure.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by extremely supportive friends and family which makes things a little easier when I have had a hectic week. They are my biggest KiVARi fans!

Where do you hope to go with your label in the future?
Global baby! Haha! I do have many international customers but I would like to build a stronger customer base here in Australia and focus on their needs.

How would you describe you own style?
My style is quiet relaxed. Bohemian with an urban edge, I guess. I love free-flowing fabrics, lace, silks, attention to detail and anything with some fringing!

Where can people get your label?
KiVARi is available on-line at www.kivari.com.au.  KiVARi is also stocked at selected boutiques across Australia. You can also find your favourite pieces at THE VILLAGE MARKETS, Burleigh Heads State School, the first and third Sunday of the month.

What is the best style advice you could give someone?
Fashion is about fun and it’s always good to experiment but you should always be yourself, wear what is comfortable and makes you feel good.

What was your best fashion buy?
My ‘neon nights’ SASS & BIDE  jeans. They are ripped to threads but I can’t live without them!

I’ve been told I look like… Uma Thurman

 When I’m not working I’m… Surfing and travelling.

 If I could be anywhere in the world it would be… That’s a hard one because there are so many amazing places in the world! Ok, I’m going to run with Biarritz in France.

Biarritz has style and class. I love the amazing culture, people, pumping surf, alfresco dinning, divine pain au chocolat and world class wines.

 My favourite restaurant on the Gold Coast is…

I love Hellinika’s at Nobby’s beach, but nothing beats my mother’s Sunday roast!

 In five years I hope to be… Still loving life, traveling and designing. Basically doing what I am doing now.

Your next travel destination: Africa with my bestie.


 Photos: Andrew Place Photography and KiVARi

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