COLLECTIVE CONVERSATIONS . . . 11 Fire Questions with Stylist + Creative Director Karinda Mutabazi!

Shot by Katie Fergus at VAMFF.  

In a period of time when we're inundated with what feels like consistent bad news, we wanted to put some emphasis on the positive. This is the first instalment in our mini-series "Collective Conversations," a bi-weekly segment focusing on a woman we think is awesome + what she's all about. This week we're talking to fashion stylist Karinda Mutabazi. She's a style guru who's worked with the best of the Australian creative industries and entertainment scene, a multi-talented woman who uses her platform to "find beauty and creative magic in diversity."  We chatted to her about making meaningful connections, being yourself and disrupting the status quo.

1. Describe yourself in three words? 

Curious, easy-going, pragmatic.

2. How have you been staying motivated? 

I have been fuelled by this lockdown to take the time to do all the things I have been putting off, or haven’t had time to do. I have spent the last few years putting off life admin like updating my website, doing my taxes, cleaning my office etc. At the start of the lockdown I made a vow that I was going to come out of this organised and energised. I’ve been reading again, listening to podcasts, and going down random creative research rabbit holes. Include a dose of daily exercise; walking, yoga, pilates, dancing and so far it has kept my mind and body active and healthy….I think.

3. Something that you’re passionate about? 

I am passionate about quietly disrupting the status quo, and telling an authentic story through my work. When I was growing up there weren’t many people who looked like me in the fashion/entertainment industries in Australia. Thankfully that is slowly changing, and I never let it stopped me. Now, I try and use my opportunities to empower, nurture and collaborate with BIPOC as much as possible. I find the most beauty and creative magic in diversity, and want to create images and stories that champion that. I guess this is why I am drawn to people who aren’t like everyone else. 

4. Who do you most admire? 

My peers and friends, they inspire and push me to be my best, these are strong independent women who are doing things on their terms; Nicole Rucker - Baker, Sarah Chin - Warner Music, Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore - Director, Lauren Hansen - NBL,Simone Farrugia - Stylist, Niki Williams - David Jones, Leah Howard - All things entertainment and life …. To name a few, there are so many more!

5. What scares you the most about the unknown?

I actually find the unknown quite exciting. I’m not much of a longterm planner, but am a huge believer in taking opportunities as they come. I love the challenge and excitement that comes from new and unknown opportunities, places and people. 

Erik Yvon shot by Prue Stent, styling work by Karinda. 

6. What is something you’re proud of? 

The network of creative people I have built up all over the world, people in all different countries and professions who continue to nurture and inspire me. There is nothing like bringing together creative minds from all different backgrounds, it makes for a magical and unique blend that can't be beaten. 

7. What's something you do to be kind to yourself? 

Bakery treats is a big one! My faves at the moment are Beatrix, Falco, All Are Welcome and Bread Club….. also meditation, which I should do more of, 'cos it always feels great when I do. 

Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore shot by Michelle Grace Hunder wearing CC for Her Sound, Her Story. Styling by Karinda. 

8. What are you most looking forward to post-isolation? 

I am looking forward to traveling again…. I know that it won’t happen for a long time…. but knowing I can get on a plane and go see friends and family on the other side of the world will make me pretty happy. 

Shot by Amelia J Dowd, wearing Sunshine Symbol, styling work by Karinda.

9. How do you align and connect with your intuition?

I live in the moment most of the time, so feel pretty in-tune with my intuition. There have been moments when I questioned a decision, but have gone with my instinct, and have made life long friendships and had amazing experiences because I did. I try to be myself in all situations, open and honest, this hasn’t has worked out for me so far. I find if you are real with people, they eventually are forced to be real back, and that is how you can make meaningful connections. 

10. What's an assumption others make about you?

Im not really sure…. I guess you would have to ask them :) Maybe that I am younger than I actually am????… I thank my dad everyday for my African genes.


Shot at the Social Studio VAMFF panel discussion 2019.

11. Is there an item you would like to see from Collective Closets in the future?

More Jump/boliersuits and anything made in Shuka Masai fabric!

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