In conversation

Living a life less ordinary – HUSK Chit Chat

Husk graced James St’s presence earlier this year, and like any good outfit (or outfitter) this Melbourne-born brand has many layers – 22 years to be exact.

Made for women by women, Kirrily Johnson is the Creative Director and Designer behind the boutique that not only stocks a namesake range but garments and accessories from national and international labels too.

We unwrapped the layers of Husk with Kirrily by way of chit chat below.


1. Creative Director, Mum, designer, and fashion mentor to name a few, you impressively wear many fashionable hats – what does a day in the life of Kirrily look like?

My day usually begins at 6.30AM. I get up an hour before my daughter, so I can have a moment with a coffee and catch up on a few emails while the house is quiet. It’s then full systems go for school drop-off and I head straight into the office by 9.00AM. A typical day consists of product design sessions with my team, viewing collections from brands that we buy into the business, print meetings to determine the print direction for the season, fit sessions with our Husk label and fit model, and usually some time with my CEO working on budgets and performance across our categories and stores.

The late afternoon usually consists of marketing and social media plans before I pick up my daughter. Then it’s her time… Piano, homework, dinner, a game of chess. After dinner, I spend some time planning upcoming campaigns and creative. I try and read something non-work related before I go to bed to switch my mind off.


2. July 2021 marked your fifth anniversary as Husk’s Creative Director – take us back to releasing your first Husk brand collection. How did you find the balance between making your mark and creating something your loyal followers will love?

Can’t believe it’s 5 years. It has flown and a lot has happened. Finding the balance when creating the first Husk collection under my direction came quite instinctively, which was a sign to me that we were on the right path. I had known Husk for years and felt a true affinity with the client, so I focused on blending their existing DNA with more fashion-forward styles to bring the brand into the future.


3. As both designers and curators, since 2016 Husk’s own brand has more than doubled in boutiques compared to its collection of other designers – why was this important to you?

Growing Husk’s eponymous label was one of my primary objectives when I came on board. Husk had started as a brand emporium and the house label played a smaller supporting role. I felt passionate about flipping the dynamic and making Husk label the true heartbeat of the business and therefore making our imports a more succinct curation which supported the greater vision. I am very grateful that our followers have embraced this journey.


4. Husk celebrates itself as a destination for women who live a life less ordinary – what’s a life less ordinary to you?

A life less ordinary is a life led by memorable experiences. It’s a life that is not afraid, a life that is full, that is nimble and embraces change. A life that is travelled, a life with a fulfilling career and a creative mindset. It’s about creating beautiful, meaningful products to cater for this. Accessible, yet beautifully made pieces that mark time memorably by how they make you feel.


5. When curating a wardrobe for inspiring women, what’s involved in the process of sourcing international and local designers?

I am always on the lookout for designers who have a clear vision, a commitment to sustainability, a strong focus on quality and that are complementary to the Husk brand. Jewellery is about artisanal pieces that have an ethnicity about them, and I am drawn to anything with an heirloom feel. Forever pieces are also important. Accessories need a commitment to quality and an ability to make a statement. A great shoe or belt can really make an outfit.


6. What’s one fashion staple you can’t live without?

The one staple I can’t live without is a good trench coat. I absolutely live in our Charm Trench from last Spring. Our Liberty Trench in store this season is also amazing. I love the versatility, belted, open, over a dress or pants. I love being able to do a chunky knit and still wear my trench indoors during winter. Also, the trans-seasonality of a great trench is amazing. You can really outfit them with anything.


7. With over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry, what is your proudest achievement thus far?

The proudest moment in my career so far…mmm…I have two! The first with my own brand was opening Australian Fashion Week in 2008. It was a great honour to be asked to do this and my collection Modern Nomads was received extremely well. That collection is still one of my favourites… it was an amazing time.

The second is when we landed the cover of Ragtrader magazine with the headline “All hail Husk, Kirrily Johnston’s magic touch.” I had no idea we were going to be on the cover with a double page spread story inside. It was a real moment for me and for Husk. It cemented the journey that we were on together in a public way.


8. For creatives trying to break into the fashion world what advice would you give?

My advice for creative’s would be to trust your instinct. Take risks, work hard, don’t burn bridges, and learn to listen.


9. What can we expect from future Husk?

Future Husk is exciting. New product lines, new stores, more amazing experiences for our beautiful clients.


Quick questions:

Black or navy? Black

Boots or sneakers? OMG, I can’t choose – has to be both (sorry!)

Early mornings or relaxed starts? Early mornings (but I have no choice!)

Location of next store? That one is a trade secret

Favourite song right now? Cannibal Tree by Yenkee



Posted on

August 9, 2021