5 Minutes With ... Kara Chiconi, Idlebird Sunsmart Leisurewear

Recently I discovered stylish fashion label, Idlebird and was particularly intrigued to uncover Idlebird's unique point of difference: stunning fashion that doubles as sun protection! Queensland-based Kara Chiconi chats to Spoilt about fashion and the story of Idlebird...

Kara, where did you find your love for fashion? I think I've always been aware of fashion, which comes from being the youngest of three girls and knowing that I was wearing hand-me-downs. It made me very focused at a young age about what I "really wanted to wear", so as soon as I was earning money I couldn't wait to start building my own wardrobe. My tastes have matured over time, but I do still have some pieces in the closest from 20 years ago. I love that fashion and what I wear day-to-day can have such an impact on my confidence and set the tone for how I feel all day.

Could you tell us about Idlebird and how the concept eventuated? Last summer I was searching for some type of garment that I could wear all day: whether I’m at home or on holidays; spending time at the beach, or jumping in the car and going to the shops;or stopping for lunch at a cafe, or the park with the kids. I found that I was making three outfit changes a day! The biggest challenge was finding something that would allow me to be outdoors protected from the sun and still look fashionable. While there are more options available these days for fashionable rash shirts, these don't really give you the option to step off the beach and not look like you are wearing your swimsuit. I couldn’t find anything so decided I’d make my own.

What do you love most about Idlebird? I think IdleBird is making women stop and think about what they wear both in the sun, and on a day-to-day basis. I love that it is generating that discussion. It is carving its own niche and I think we have proven that a market exists for thoughtful, sustainable fashion that serves several purposes. The great thing about Idlebird is that you can rock it however you like. Literally - with trainers or heels, jewels or a sports cap. The feedback I am getting from customers is that once they own a piece they keep finding ways, and excuses, to wear it everywhere.
Describe the Idlebird woman in 3 words... Confident, capable and a little cheeky.
What is the difference between SPF and UPF? UPF (UV Protection Factor) is similar to SPF (Sun Protection Factor). SPF is used to rate sunscreens while UPF is the rating used to measure the amount of UV rays that pass through fabrics when exposed to UV Radiation (UVR). 
People still think they can cover up with any old thing in the sun and be protected, but that simply isn't true. The average white t-shirt or dress has a UPF rating of between 5 and 15 - allowing as much 1/5th of the sun’s UV radiation to pass through - even more when wet. The amount of protection a fabric offers depends on the type, weave or knit of the fabric. To be called sun protective fabric it must achieve a minimum UV Protection Factor (UPF) rating of UPF15 after the equivalent of 2 years of normal wear and tear.
Does the label represent your personal style? To a degree. All Idlebird pieces are definitely things I would wear - and do! Designs have been kept clean and simple so that they can be dressed up or down by the consumer. For my personal style I like to pair the designs with more adventurous and quirky pieces.
Which design is your current favourite? The dress I wear most is The Charlene as it is just so comfortable and versatile, but my favourite from a design aspect would be The Sunshirt as it has so many wearable options.
If you could choose anyone to be the face of Idlebird who would it be and why? That is difficult as the range is suitable to so many different types of women. Perhaps someone like Naomi Watts: Aussie, glamorous yet laid back, a busy mum (with yummy husband) and someone we'd all like to be!

Kara, what makes you feel Spoilt?
Spending quality downtime with family. If wine and cheese is involved then that's even better!

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