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STYLE SERIES:

Kris Abbey

Preventive health, mental health and wellness have been top of mind as we continue to navigate stay a home orders and so it was perfectly timed when we met Kris Abbey.

Founder of Spa & Wellness Magazine, wellness advocate and passionate educator with the desire to simplify health and wellness.

We chat to this passionate and driven wellness advocate about her relationship with fashion and how her busy work life influences her style.

And of course we ask wellness advice too!

Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m a coffee lover, nature ninja, very happy with prawns and Prosecco on a sunny day. A mum of three humans and two non-humans, a business owner, hurdling for balance (falls on face), a traveller, teacher and Spa- aficionado.
What do you do?
That’s a tough question. Even at my age, I find it hard to wrap up what I do with a neat bow. I guess at the end of the day, I incorporate all that I am into all that I do! In plain English, whether it is through words, workshops, books, picture or discussions… I encourage people to incorporate more wellness in their life and surrounding. The best feeling ever is feeling happy and healthy in your own skin.

“It felt like a close friend had given me a loving hug. It just felt happy and warm. It is hard not to smile when you put nice clothes on your body.”

Why focus your career on wellness?
I was a sickly kid. And spent a lot of time seeing doctors – who never looked for the root cause, just relieved symptoms. Out of frustration my mum took me to see a naturopath-kinesiologist-yogi (very unconventional back in the early ‘80’s). This person taught me to delve deeper. And to listen to my body. If something doesn’t agree with you, your body will tell you. You just need to listen to the signs. Instead, most of us choose to ignore the noise (the bloated belly, the headache, the rash, the moods, the sleeplessness, the lack of energy – you know the tune). Instead, we opt (are programmed) to see doctors and to take a pill to quieten the noise (I know I am generalising, this is just my experience). We adore our sickness industry and have built our health system on it. Yes, it is important, however so is preventative health. We just don’t give the right amount of attention to preventative health.
And this makes me mad (or passionate). This frustration was the accidental catalyst for me to focus my career in wellness. I try to give the wellness industry and preventative health a voice. To encourage people to make better choices. Whether for themselves, their business and/or their surrounding environment. I try to deliver this information and inspiration in a beautiful format that is easy to understand (gentle plug for Spa & Wellness magazine – wink).

“Style is more than how you look and what you wear. It is also how you treat people, the words you speak and the feeling you give to people in your presence.”

As a health and wellness advocate what is some advice you could give to women to feel more confident and comfortable in their skin? 

Appreciate your body, your heart, your mind and all the wonderful things it allows you to do. Don’t get caught up on the superficial. We are more than that.

How has wellness intertwined into your own experiences with fashion? 

Wellness is not just about eating well and exercising. It is making choices towards a fulfilling life. I love my body and treat it well. I make conscious choices of what I put in and on my body and the impact that has. Same is said for the way I live my life. I try to think of the environment in the choices I make and the brands I support.

“I make conscious choices of what I put in and on my body and the impact that has. I try to think of the environment in the choices I make and the brands I support.”

Was there an experience in your life that helped shaped your personal style?

I grew up on a farm and one of five kids. A lot of my clothes were either homemade or hand-me-downs. To breathe fresh life into old clothes I would swap out the buttons, or change the hemline, something simple, just to add my own style. It was only on special occasions that I was able to get a new outfit. And even on those occasions I preferred my mum to make me something. I liked having individual pieces and wearing something that was made with love and not pumped out by the thousands. The same is said for my fashion choices today.

How does your wardrobe reflect your style?

My daughter (who is in textiles) defines my wardrobe as either designer pieces (not Chanel designer, rather small-batch, local designer) or active-wear. I like to wear nice clothes, made well by great people. However, my health and fitness background means I’m equally happy in comfy sweats. I do love iconic Australian brands – I have been wearing RM Williams boots since I could walk and have several pairs. I also have a lot of exercise gear made from recycled fishing line or repurposed rubber. I definitely opt for clothes that have a story.

When buying from a brand what values do you look for? 

Brand values are really important when I am buying something. Not just clothes – but food, furniture, cosmetics, everything. I grew up on a farm (as I mentioned) and love for the land is in my DNA. I support brands who share the same ethos, have a sense of community, and also value health – both for people and the planet.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability, to me, is a product that sustains and supports our planet. If I put it in my language, a diet is only sustainable if you can do it for the rest of your life and feel great. If it detracts from your health or your mental wellbeing, it is not sustainable. Same goes for products, clothes, food, and skincare etc. If the production of these takes from or harms the planet, it is not a sustainable product.

First place you will travel to once it’s safe to do so?

I recently had a dream about being in New York – I love that city! However I think maybe somewhere closer to home. My sister lives in Auckland and I have only seen her once in two years. I miss her more than places. Or I could get her to meet me in Rome, now there’s an idea!

When you tried on West 14th for the first time how did you feel?

I felt like a close friend had given me a loving hug. It just felt happy and warm. It is hard not to smile when you put nice clothes on your body.

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Styling & Words by

Kris Abbey

Spa & Wellness Magazine

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