Meet our Friday Muse, multidisciplinary artist Sarah Jayne Kavali

14 March 2024
By Fashion Quarterly

We speak with the creative force on balancing a business with her penchant for making beautiful things.

For Sarah Jayne Kavali, it’s hard to recall a time when art wasn’t at the centre of her world. The Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland-based creative wears several hats day-to-day — including being the sole owner and director of local event space BRAD’s — but her greatest passion is making and selling art pieces and collaborating with likeminded brands. Chances are, you’ve seen Kavali’s work without knowing it. She’s partnered with the likes of Moët & Chandon, created the set for local designer Maggie Marilyn’s Australian Fashion Week show, and most recently she designed Faradays’ Christmas campaign. Operating from a top floor of one of Auckland’s downtown heritage buildings, Kavali’s home also doubles as her studio — a place where she regularly holds immersive installations. 

Before jetting off to L.A for a trip, we caught up with the creative to find out more about how she’s keeping busy, what inspires her, and what’s next in the pipeline.

In conversation with Sarah Jayne Kavali:

Tell us a bit about you, your background, and your career to date.

I’m an artist, multidisciplinary by nature. My background, much like present day for me, and both professionally and personally has always centred around the world of art and design. 

Today, my creative hand is spread wide. I’m working as an artist, selling and making pieces for collectors, collaborating with brands in a creative capacity, and I sit at the helm of BRAD’S. BRAD’S is my baby, Auckland’s newest, oldest event venue. A perfect private oasis for hosting something truly unique. This iconic blue stone building is one of Auckland’s finest 19th-century warehouses, and here we make it easy and inviting for clients to throw their dream event, leaving them with a really bloody fantastic time and experience. And the best bit, you can BYO for free. You could say, my plate is full, but in the best way.

How did you first get into art? What drew you to the medium? 

My earliest recollection comes from a story told by my Mother, who recalls collecting me from kindy, along with multiple paintings in hand, still dripping wet. I quite honestly don’t remember a time where I haven’t been drawn to the medium, you could say I was born ready!

Inside BRAD's.

You’ve worked with many prestigious brands throughout your career. What’s been the most memorable collaboration to date? 

That’s tough! The Moët & Chandon House’s end of year ‘22 campaign was shot on location at my downtown Auckland studio and workroom penthouse, and it was pure magic all round. Pulling together the set for my dear friend Maggie Marilyn’s AAFW Show last May was very special. Fast forward to Christmas ’23, and collaborating with Faradays’ co-founder and creative director Constance von Dadelszen to bring to life the Gifts of Desire campaign was delicious and dreamy all round. 

What point in time, on reflection, felt like your big break?  

In my early twenties, so many moons ago, I got a call from Saatchi and Saatchi to hand write and illustrate a book for a global campaign, at the time, that felt like a big moment.

Your Auckland home also doubles as a space for your work. Could you tell us a bit about this? What are your favourite form/s of art to make? 

For me, I see my home as another canvas to play with, another medium to experiment with and within. My Saint Mary’s Bay, very ’80s home and studio has an expansive floor plan, vast sweeping walls and high ceilings that provide quite the backdrop for play. I am constantly creating within the space, it’s a real work in progress, a lot of trial and error, colour and movement. It’s great.

Right now, I’m still fascinated by paper, by scrunching, by its movement, its fragility paired with a wild strength, it’s my favourite medium at the moment. It’s sculpture, it’s painting, it’s performance, all wrapped up together.

Faradays' 'Gifts of Desire' campaign.

Who or what inspires you creatively? ​​

People who aren’t afraid to step out of the box, and who don’t just talk about it, but do it.

Dream collaboration?

Might keep this to myself for now. Watch this space, I say!

Do you have any exciting projects in the works that you can tell us about?

Mum’s the word… 

What have you got coming up? And what can we expect to see from you in the future?

There’s so much I want to say, but I just can’t, just yet. Lots, it’s a big year.

Quickfire questions:

The three beauty products I can’t live without… Chanel Rouge Allure 176 Indépendante; Chanel Red Camellia Lip and Cheek Balm; and Loewe 001 Woman Eau de Parfum.

A book that changed my life is… The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*** by Mark Manson.

Last TV show I binged… The Crown, devastated it’s over.

Best place for a cocktail… Right now, home. It’s an Exhibit A Gin Martini, and it’s an exquisite tipple. Or, if out Faraday’s Bar, it’s a cocktail, paired with fries and is always a treat. 

My style icon is… Vivienne Westwood. A woman with style, power, attitude, grit and vision.

I would describe my style as… Classic with a twist.

This season I’m saving on… New season buys and relishing in past season gems.

If I wasn’t an artist I would be a… Ballet dancer.

Imagery: supplied.


Sign up & Join
FQ Insider

Unlock exclusive content, behind-the-scenes insights, and special offers by becoming an FQ Insider.

Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover
Fashion Quarterly Winter 2023 Cover

Sign up & Join
FQ Insider

Unlock exclusive content, behind-the-scenes insights, and special offers by becoming an FQ Insider.

Sign up to the Fashion Quarterly newsletter.

*Ts&Cs apply.
Find out more at