INTERVIEW | NATALIE BASSINGTHWAIGHTE
She's the rockstar mama who juggles a glamorous life in the entertainment industry, raising two kids and running her own business, kids clothing label Chi Khi. While she makes it all look so easy, she's refreshingly honest about the juggle and how she makes it all work.
We chatted to Nat about her new collection, which is now available in Myer, her mama-style, finding that ever-elusive balance and the importance of finding time for self care.
So you’ve just launched your new Chi Khi collection, congratulations! Can you tell us about the new collection and what inspired you?
Obviously I’ve always really loved sportsluxe and that’s defined in the brand, but even more so in this collection. We’ve developed the bamboo scuba fabric, it’s the same scuba look but it feels super comfy and we’ve also added in the faux fur jackets this season. We’re predominantly a monochromatic brand but we added a pop of colour this season with the plum and khaki.
What were your inspirations behind the new line?
As far as the logos and things go, we actually used a star and I got this tattoo with a close friend of mine who passed so it’s very personal to me, so that was a really strong connection. Also the number 11 is my lucky number, so there’s a sort of spiritual touch to it as well.
Do you have any favourite pieces?
I‘m obsessing over the bamboo neoprene stuff and we’re actually doing our very first limited edition mummy and me collection for Mother's Day which is really exciting.
Going back to the beginning of Chi Khi, what was your inspiration behind starting the brand?
There were a few things, one was definitely attached to the feeling of being in the entertainment industry and not knowing what job is next - and being a Virgo control freak that didn’t sit well with me! I also wanted to see what I was capable of. My husband and I were trying to think of something we could do that would give us a passive income, it had to be something I loved doing, and I’ve always loved fashion and design as well as architecture and interior design. After having children your whole world becomes about them, and so they were the inspiration behind it, but also this want and need as an older woman asking myself what’s my life going to be like, and what am I going to fulfill it with. So I went on a mission and researched different fabrications and discovered the bamboo material, and both kids had sensitive skin suffering from eczema and dermatitis and I found it was great for that too (it has so many other benefits including for the environment, it’s durable). But there’s no kids clothing made out of this insane fabric, so I decided to make some cool considered pieces.
The brand has grown a lot in a few short years, you’re now in Myer for the first time, your clothes have been worn on celebrity offspring including Kim Kardashian and Jessica Alba’s kids, have you learn along the way.
I’ve learnt so much I could tell you a list of 20 things! But I think just sticking it out, it wasn’t something I ever knew anything about, apart from a love of fashion and design. It takes its toll, anyone who starts their own business knows it can be hard at times, it’s like another child! We’ve got an amazing team now but its really about finding the balance.
What are you most proud of with the label?
It’s such an exciting time for us, going into Myer for the first time! But its not just about the label, we have built an amazing team and we create amazing good quality pieces that I would wear and I’m proud of that, and also that its reached some amazing people.
Are you keen to move more into the mum market?
Over the years we’ve been asked so many times, and we get asked for teen stuff all the time because there’s nothing for them. So we thought we would do a limited editions capsule collection for Mother’s Day as a starting point – so who knows!
So as well as your label, working on Neighbours, Rogue Traders and you’re a mum to two beautiful kids, how do you balance it all?
I don’t think there’s any real secret to it, but I have learnt that I do have to find a balance because it can get too overwhelming. When I'm trying to juggle being a mum with the singing, performing and everything it all gets too much. But this year, and ever since I left the jungle really, I’ve been determined to have less phones and less social media – and I mean it kind of slips away, but the intention was there! I took myself off social media for a few weeks though recently and that was such a blessing. I’m back on now and I might post a couple of times a week but I’m not on it all day which is important. I also cancelled my email address, I needed a complete detox! Only the people who need to have it have it, anyone else can call me. I just find it helps me really focus on being in the moment and enjoying the kids, or whatever job I’m doing and not being too scattered.
I also have an amazing team, I couldn’t do anything without them, and also my husband who is amazing – he’s so hands on and heavily involved as well as working on his music and producing too, and so we just try and balance everything – but we are by no means perfect.
What do you when you need a little 'me' time?
At the beginning of this year I noticed I really needed to self care more. If you don’t self care you cant do anything great, you’re just kind of going through the motions so I’ve been meditating. I could never do it before my head was too busy it just never stopped, but I’ve been told it takes time and you have to do it daily to really get good at it. Now I do it with the kids too, my son won't go to bed without it now. It really has helped me focus and not become overwhelmed when it all gets too much. I’m also trying to exercise lots too, whether that’s Pilates or yoga or just stretching. But now I just say I’m going into my room for 20 mins so no one bother me, and it helps get me ready for the day and focused.
How would you describe your mama-style?
It has evolved over time but I’m a pretty relaxed dresser these days. I rarely wear heels unless I’m going to something – and then my feet hurt! But I wear jeans and t-shirts and nice jackets, but nothing very over the top. I’m not very girly, a lot of the pieces in the collection are all things I would wear.
What are some of your go-to labels?
I love Maticevski and Dion Lee, I love their deconstructed pieces, they’re really considered and I love the differences that they bring. But on a day to day basis I love this brand called nique, they have basic pants, tees, just really comfortable wear with a design edge. Then I love Basique, Viktoria and Woods and Scanlon – I love their winter stuff!
What is your beauty routine like?
I do get treatments once a month, because I wear a lot of makeup when I’m working so I find it really important. I do the lot, cleanse, tone, serum, eye cream, moisturiser and sunscreen – and I don’t go in the sun ever! I definitely don’t sunbake! Fake tan is my friend! My fave is Candy Tan, its organic and vegan and doesn’t go orange its so good I’ve been using it for years!
Sneakers or heels? Sneakers
Cocktail or wine? Wine
Yoga or run? Yoga
Coffee or tea? Tea I just gave up coffee…
Sweet or savoury? Hmm both – but maybe sweet!
Bake from scratch or packet mix? I'm just getting into a little bit of baking… but probably packet mix haha
Morning or night? Morning
Book or film: I’ve been reading more lately so book!
Shop the new collection here.