Interview40

Beyond the hype // Kani Cao

OCTOBER 2011

If you see me in 10 years, I'll probably be some kind of vintage hoarder.

Kani Cao is a 19 year old student, hair accessories crafter and blogger of K is for Kani from Melbourne, Australia.

Kani1

Tell us a little bit about yourself and where you live.

My name is Connie, nickname Kani. Lots of people ask, "What's the connection between the two names?" Well, Kani is the IPA spelling for Connie, it’s my name in Korean, it sounds like my name, it’s how my mum pronounces my name, the list goes on! I'm 19. I'm currently in my 2nd year of university studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws double degree, majoring in Marketing. I probably won't graduate for a long time. I write the blog K is for Kani and create handmade hair accessories on Etsy.

How did you first get interested in fashion and why is it important?

I think I first got into fashion when I was about 16. It pretty much coincided with two other events in my life: my first part time job & getting hooked onto Gossip Girl. Put two and two together and you have a teenager with a love for shopping. I think fashion is important because it has the intrinsic ability to make people feel good about themselves and express themselves. Fashion can inspire. To see someone wear something they love and the self-confidence they can gain from being happy about themselves—that's priceless!

What are your passions?

I love all things creative. I love fashion, graphic design, photography. I like styling outfits, sketching clothing/accessory designs (I'm bad at drawing, but I understand what I am trying to convey at least!), experimenting with my DSLR, editing photos, etc. I absolutely LOVE vintage things. If you see me in 10 years, I'll probably be some kind of vintage hoarder. I'll probably have cupboards full of old cameras and vintage bags. I hope to bring all my interests together and be able to work in a job that I am passionate about. I think I'm pretty set on wanting to work in the fashion industry.

Kani2

Where are you from?

I'm from Melbourne. I've lived here all my life and I heard it's one of the best cities to live in the world! I hate to say it, but take that, Sydney! I joke, Sydney's one of my favourite cities in Australia…but yeah, there's quite a bit of rivalry between the two!

How do you describe the fashion scene in Melbourne compared to other major cities/fashion capitals?

Well, Melbourne is always known for its 'sea of black.’ I don't know if it's still like that these days as whenever I go to the city, I always see quite a bit of colour. I think I'm going to have a hard time comparing it to other cities since I haven't visited many, but I'd say Melbourne and Australia on the whole are quite laid back and casual. Lots of t-shirts, thongs (flip flops), sunnies, denim shorts and casual day dresses during the summer.

What do you love about living in Melbourne?

The fresh air and open spaces! I think we take it for granted sometimes. A lot of people I know who are studying abroad in Australia or have studied overseas tell me that Australia is really slow moving compared to places like America and Asia. Apparently we move slowly and do not do as much during the day. I can kind of see it after visiting places in Asia and all so I guess that's something unique about the culture of our city and country, which I guess can be a good thing but at the same time, I'd love to experience the fast paced life of America!

Top 3 places to visit in the Australia:

Sydney—the Circular Quay area with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge is just so beautiful. I went there once with my family when I was about 14 and I just remember falling in love with the pretty buildings. Surfer’s Paradise—the best Japanese restaurant resides at the heart of this beachside tourist district. From memory it's called Teppan King and it has both teppanyaki and sushi train! And to complete your Aussie tour, head out to Alice Springs to check out Uluru. Then you will have covered the city, beach and desert!

Kani3

Describe your personal style and its influences/inspiration.

I think it's quite vintage inspired/girly. It's sort of hard to describe as I like a lot of different looks. Some typical things I love wearing include florals, tan browns, shoulder bags, lace-up boots, fringing, headbands/hats/hair wreaths, lots of colours, lots of patterns and prints, denim, tights, socks, wedges. I like wearing bright colours; they make me happy, though sometimes I dress down a bit if I'm just going to class. I'm influenced by the 70’s. Love the hippie sort of look. Finding a piece of beautiful vintage often inspires me to try a whole new style. So I guess I'm inspired by that as well. Also just other fashion bloggers and street fashion! I think I like observing that more than I like watching fashion shows. The street is the new runway.

Favorite designers and places to shop?

My favourite designers would have to be Lover, Sretsis, Manoush, Elliatt, Gorman, Arabella Ramsay, and Alannah Hill.

Places I like to shop include online stores: Asos, Chicwish, Topshop, ModCloth as well as Etsy and Ebay. I also love shopping vintage—so anywhere I can find more of that—as well as my local shopping centre. I like MinkPink, Topshop's concession brands, American Apparel and Jeffrey Campbell.

The first thing you look at in another person's outfit is:

Probably the way it all goes together!

Kani4

What do you skimp on?

Probably clothing. I like hunting for vintage clothing—which often is too long, too short, unfitted or too fitted but looks OH SO FABULOUS. I think I get a lot of joy out of altering the items to fit. Sometimes I buy skirts with waistbands that I could wrap around me twice. It doesn't really bother me as long as I can alter it.

What do you splurge on?

Shoes, glorious shoes.

A fashion rule you always break:

I've never really thought there were any 'rules' as such. I mean things I've heard of, such as "Never wear navy/black or brown/black together," I do quite a bit. I think as long as you like what you wear, rules don't really matter.

A fashion rule you never break:

Hmm…leggings as pants. My sister once showed me this funny mind map to work out if you're wearing pants or not!

What do you think is the most recent notable trend to appear/reappear, and what are your thoughts on it?

Colour blocking. It's everywhere and I guess it's quite fun. I've always been a colour sort of girl and used to have this goal to own a cardigan in every colour of the rainbow. So I guess I like it. It's quite fun experimenting with different combinations of colours. Though I think it will die down soon enough, like all trends do and I bet something opposite will become trendy—like neutrals!

What is the most underrated item in menswear and womenswear?

Menswear: probably bowties. I think they look awesome. Womenswear: sweater clips, I have been collecting them and they are the best but not many people wear them anymore.

Kani6

Your favorite colour(s) of the moment are:

Bottle green, ivory, bright red, burgundy, lime and other sorbet colours.

What is your next "must have" purchase?

A pair of chunky platform heeled sandals.

What is the ultimate showpiece in your closet?

It may not seem the most dazzling but, an orangey-brown vintage blazer that my mum gave to me. She received it as a gift from a friend many years ago. It's made in Japan and I found a 1991 bus ticket in it—how amazing! I love how vintage pieces have their own little stories to tell.

Are there any fashion icons or famous people whose style you admire?

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Alexa Chung, Vanessa Hudgens. Some of my favourite models are Alice Burdeu, Gemma Ward & Silvana Roman.

What's on your iPod/bookshelf/DVD player at the moment?

I am one of the few people who don't have an iPod! But anyway, I am currently listening to a lot of Bruno Mars, Secret Handshake, Augustana, The Script, Death Cab for Cutie, Jesse McCartney, Oliver James, Switchfoot, Playjerise. On my bookshelf I have mainly magazines—Frankie and some Peppermint, Yen, Oh Comely, Alexis. Some Frankie publications – Spaces, Smith Journal, The Photo Album as well as some vintage fashion, photography and eco-fashion books. Oh and that MKA interview book too. The last movie I watched was probably Harry Potter the finale!

What can't you live without?

Food would be an obvious one! And my boyfriend. His name is Tom; he's the most amazing person I've ever met :)

What is your personal favorite outfit on LOOKBOOK by you, and by another member?

This is one of my favourite looks (see below). My favourite guys look would be: It’s my Birthday!!! by Mike Quyen. And my favourite girls look would be: La Dame en Rouge by Rachel-Marie Jones.

Kani5

Next place you want to travel to (and why):

Without a doubt, New York! I don't just want to travel there, I want to live there. I want to immerse myself in the culture, try out those huge-sized meal portions that everyone talks about, shop my heart out, visit the markets, live in an apartment, study there. The city is so beautiful and I really can't get over that.

In the year 2016 you will be:

I want to move to New York to study fashion and just live there for a while. I think it would be amazing. I want to work on my blog and store full time, creating not only hair accessories but also clothing and other things. I want to be doing something that I love, making the most of every minute of the day.

What would you say to someone seeking fashion advice?

Wear what you are comfortable with and what you like yourself, not what others like. I think above all, your confidence and the way you carry yourself speaks volumes more than what you are wearing.

Blake J. wants to know: What is the biggest opposing force that you have encountered thus far on your creative journey, and how did you overcome it? How has it shaped you?

I think internal confidence. Sometimes I doubt myself but I think it's always great to give something a go. You'll never know the results if you don't try! Blake, you posed a hard question.

What should we ask the next interviewee?

If you were stuck on a deserted island and could only have one lookbooker to keep you company, who would it be and why?

184 comments

show previous comments

Thumbelina Lolita
Kawaii, I love all your looks.
reply ·
Erson Canlas
that was a really hard question.. blake haha :D
reply ·
Rosette Ocampo
Hi K! love your style dear. i idolize you... Really. <3 GB K! :)
reply ·
Olalekan Omoboyede
this is extremely beyond beauty Kani :)
reply ·
Evelyn Tirza
wow congrats Kani! :) keep going up
reply ·
Maria Torres
you're amazing! <3 style :>
reply ·
Olivia G
Great interview, it was lovely reading it. x
reply ·
Tatiani Vilvert
beautyy *-*
reply ·
Miss Scarlet ♥
Nice words. Well put. :)
reply ·
Rada Priya
Great interview! I've lived in Melbourne, and its so wonderful to move back after spending time away and falling in love with it all over again. btw love your posts
reply ·
Kim P
hey khani! i love your interview, i remember those days you started making your lookbook! im a fan!!!!! :))) keep on posting more inspiring photos! :))
reply ·
Asemgul  Kairzhan
how do I like you. you are a very interesting person
reply ·
Rin Handika
always love what you wear Kani!
reply ·
Anthony R
you have great stylo
reply ·
Effy Suare
Amazing interview, lovely style. I love every single one of the looks. *.*
reply ·
Tanya C
very stylish x
reply ·
Doni Papp
i can't say a word ...
but it's greeeeeaaaaatttttt XD
reply ·
SiuTung L
<3 Love your style!!
reply ·
Kara P
Inspiration for me.!!
reply ·
Rose Uy
love everything about you! you're SO sweet!
reply ·
Jenny P
you're truly so wonderful and inspiring :)
reply ·
Tasia W.
so lovely and adorable, love the hair accessories!
reply ·
Lara Parodi
In fact La Dame en Rouge by Rachel-Marie Jones is very Gossip Girlish!
reply ·

  

more interviews

Back to Top