This week on Kip&Co's Home Life Series we visit Aestas creative director, Sophie McCabe - sister of Kip&Co co-founder Alex!
After heading up design for some of Australia’s leading apparel brands, Sophie has since founded her own modern resortwear label, Aestas. Growing up on the picturesque Mornington Peninsula, Aestas is inspired by her deep love for the ocean and global travels across India, Japan and Mexico.
Sophie's inner-city apartment is a perfect postcard of her style - an effortless mix of modern moments, coastal cool, and eclectic pieces from around the globe.
1. Hi Soph! Thank you so much for welcoming us inside your beautiful Collingwood apartment. Let’s start with a bit about you - you are the founder and creative director of Australian resort label, Aestas. What has your journey been to date and has founding a fashion label been something you’ve always wanted to do?
I've always been drawn to creative pursuits - I studied fine art after school, then transitioned to fashion design. After several years in design and trend roles I felt the tug of wanting to step out of my comfort zone and work on my own label. I took the plunge and launched Aestas over 3 years ago, it's been an adventure! I'm not a big forward planner (I still haven't done a business plan ha!) so Aestas has been an organic journey. I've learnt so much along the path, and connected with some incredible people, from my customers, to makers and other small business owners.
2. Aestas was born from an adoration of travel, nature and creativity. What connections to places and people inspired you to start your own business and influence your designs?
My sister Alex (of Kip&Co fame!) was an inspiration in kicking off the journey! She said there's never the 'right time' to launch a business which got me over the procrastination line, and dad passing away was a reminder that life's short and to pack in as much as you can.
In terms of places, I relocated back to the Mornington Peninsula where I grew up just before launching Aestas - I feel most at home being by the ocean, surrounded by nature. Travel is an endless source of inspiration for me - Japan, Mexico and India are all up there among my faves, these places all have a rich tradition of craftsmanship.
3. Your love for India is evident in the craftsmanship of your designed pieces and also the decor in your home. Where did your connection to this part of the world come from?
I've always been drawn to the beauty and colour of India, it's such a unique and diverse country. It's a deeply spiritual place, and hums with life and energy in a way I've never experienced anywhere else. India is an assault on the senses - the perfume of the flower markets, the ancient forts, piles of spices, hand painted trucks, chai stalls at sunrise, women wrapped in colourful saris with kohl lined eyes, take-away lassis in handmade terracotta cups, ornate kundan jewellery - it's all amazing. There's a celebration of craftsmanship that's woven through everything.
4. You really scored the apartment jackpot! Natural light, open plan living and beautiful views are just some of the amazing features. What drew you to this part of town - what are the best parts of inner city living?
Isn't it great! After the lockdown years I was ready to change things up, and last year moved back to Melbourne. We looked for months before landing this warehouse apartment in Collingwood - my flatmate Stu actually lived in this building for 7 years previously, he found the listing and we jumped on it. It's the perfect lock-up and leave apartment - peaceful and light with sweeping views, and a couple of balconies for al fresco entertaining. I feel happy every time I walk through the door. I've nearly always lived northside, so it's been fun to be back after a few years away. I love having everything at my fingertips, being able to walk everywhere, and meet up with friends nearby for spontaneous drinks or dinner. It's the perfect balance to the slower pace of the Peninsula.
5. How would you describe your interior style and where do you look for inspiration?
I'm drawn to textures, objects and colours that speak to me, other than that I don't really have any rules - I'd love to create a home from scratch one day! I like spaces that have a sense of calm and light, and love a bit of mid-century vibes. This is a bit of a eclectic mix but some of the places and creatives I admire are Georgia O'Keeffe's Ghost ranch, Juan O'Gorman's house for Diego Rivera & Frida Kahlo, Flamingo Estate in LA, J.B Blunk, Luis Barragan and Axel Vervoordt. I think YSG studio's doing some really cool projects locally.
6. We can’t go past that incredible floor to ceiling shelving unit that homes an remarkable collection of vases, artwork and other treasures. How long have you been collecting these items, and is there a favourite piece?
I finally have the space to put all my bits and pieces up which is great - I'd love to be more of a minimalist but I can't resist collecting things on my travels! It's hard to pick a favourite, I've been collecting things for as long as I can remember - I have a stone buddha gifted to me in Bali for my 30th, and a ceramic planter from Mexico that was made by an incredibly talented couple who collaborate together, he is blind and creates the basic shapes, and she then finishes the details. I love the stories behind the objects, as much as the objects themselves.
7. You opened a beautiful flagship store on the Mornington Peninsula at the end of 2021, what’s next on the cards for Aestas?
Opening the flagship store in Flinders has been so rewarding, I've curated an assortment of homewares, apparel, accessories and books I've sourced from around the world, as well as Aestas. I'll be releasing another collection of knitwear shortly, hand knitted on the Peninsula, and have some exciting in store events coming up over winter.
Shop all the items featured in Sophie McCabe's Curated Kip&Co Edit