A Conversation with Kirby Casilli from Popup Studio 813
A Conversation with Kirby Casilli from Popup Studio 813

A Conversation with Kirby Casilli from Popup Studio 813

Words by Clare Ferra

Our friend Kirby Casilli has recently launched her own popup space called Popup Studio 813 in the Nicholas Building in Naarm/Melbourne.  The space offers a curated selection of local and international designer pieces and has hosted pop up events with Emily Watson and RTTS.land.  We had a chat to eachother and Kirby shot herself in a mix of vintage archive from IRVRSBL and pieces she will have for sale when the space is open to the public from Boxing day this year.


Clare: Do you think your experience as a performance artist has influenced your fashion vision? I would describe most of your pieces as artisanal and one off - seems like an art vibe

Kirby: Yeah i guess I am informed by what I’ve learnt studying visual art in the past and being obsessed with online brands and their ways of marketing and style, I'm constantly checking what’s going on and reacting to that and in turn making adjustments to my own wardrobe

I’ve tried performing in all sorts of things and each time it stretches out my understanding of what is wearable or what can be turned into something that looks like clothing at a glance as well.

Being able to move freely is really important to me in life and whether or not I’ve designed an idea to be lacking of mobility it always informs how I want to feel day to day.


 Kirby Casilli Popup Studio 813

Kirby wears top by Alexander Mcqueen, skirt by Blumarine, necklace by Feral Stone, gloves by Boddypart, socks by Itsmyroommates and shoes by Grace Dinham.



C: Even on a practical level do you have any tips? Such as layering with bike shorts etc

K: I would say start with comfort then add to that rather than starting with something that makes you feel weird or unsure.

I think of associations to clothes- bike shorts - exercise and bather bottoms swimming and layering them together is like starting a whole new relationship with them…

I guess it’s like the idea that you can wear anything inside out or upside down …

I want it to feel normal like normal life like an interaction with someone then turns into them telling me more about them and what they do and I feel like I’ve become more and more of an interrogator in some way because I want people I meet to show me what they may not think is important

C: I love this concept.  I think context completely changes the look or vibe of a piece.  Lately I've been moving away from more form fitting clothes for myself.  But wearing these same pieces layered is such a vibe; for example a corset but a buttoned up shirt underneath, or a pair of loose flowy pants that trail along the floor underneath a tiny skirt.



Kirby wears top by Jean Paul Gaultier and sleeves by Boddypart


K: Do you think about what's relevant to other people when you're making business decisions?

Do you think of yourself as someone that actually ignites certain trends?  Like in my eyes the decisions you make on what you will buy to sell at IRVRSBL is what creates new momentum for certain styles not imitates them?

C: Yes of course. I think about what’s relevant to other people I think a business doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is ultimately there to provide a service - it wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for customers

At the same time I feel like I’ve been rewarded for taking risks in terms of buying.  I do buy a few more risky pieces that are more tailored to what I like rather than in line with what’s been selling in the store and many of them sell quite quickly!

I think the good thing about IRVRSBL is as the buying is one off its low risk to buy 1 of a certain style I want to experiment with.  So in that sense we’re actually able to move towards different styles quite quickly.  I am able to see the quick adapters latch onto these trends then I see it gain momentum! So I guess it does create momentum.  I think there are definitely quite a few people who have their eyes on our selection and are informed by it instead of looking to us with a particular product they already have in mind


Bag by Chloe, necklace by Feral Stone.  Shoes by Grace Dinham.


C: Also! All of your pieces aren't local!

K: That's correct

C: You have one designer from Spain

K: I have one from New Zealand, Denmark, three coming from Spain and another 3-4 local

C: How do you curate small brands from all over the world?


C: Finally what inspired you outside of fashion?

K: People, society, how it functions, why it is like that... dreams.  Why people are the way they are? Questions with no answers 


 Hat by BTB, bag by Dolce and Gabbana, necklace by Feral Stone


Questions between Kirby and the designers that have or had garments in studio 813

K: Yeah what is your vision for footwear in the future? For yourself or your interests in footwear currently

Grace Dinham: Well I used a pre-existing heel because I was rushed for time and making a sole would have taken both lots of time and money to make in the constraints I had- so I refashioned a very very horrible heel, stripping back the straps and counter. I used leather scraps to cover the heel and Jasmine’s knitted straps to refabricate the heel. I cut and stuck and draped and tightned and hammered and pulled and pinned and pushed to make what is now the Feaath heel 

Hmmmmm. I’m really interested in the history of shoes and the different methods of construction from different periods and places. I’d really love to explore traditional methods and merge them with more contemporary aesthetics and references of footwear. I love funny shoes and shoes that make you feel funny. I’m still only just starting so I’ll see where it takes me.


K: Why’d you choose that image? (Referring to an image that has been printed onto a tube top and skirt that Amelia has made)

Amelia Carlisle @itsmyroommates: So the print was apart of my graduate collection, a series of shoots I did to try and capture a hug or an embrace that felt authentic. After capturing so many pictures of my friends and housemates hugging I chose that one after messing about with it on photoshop ! I thought it conveyed softness and sensitivity the best

Sleeves are an extension of the hug top, separating them out from the hug top felt like I could make more accessible pieces and have fun with the fabrics

Still creating garments and accessories that feel like they are making the user comfortable but with a creative freedom on my end


K: Can you tell me a bit about your process? Are they felted from scratch?

Emma Bonven: I’ve knitted the bags in wool yarn, then it’s felted by washing afterwards. In danish it’s called valkning, I don’t know how that’s translated. Then the application one the bags is felted on by hand with a felt needle. The metal E is a drawing I made and then cut with a laser cutter


Follow Popup Studio 813 here.  The space is located on Level 8 of the Nicholas Building in the Melbourne CBD

December 23, 2022 — Clare Ferra