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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in black suede, $895. SHOP NOW
ELLERY Visual Wonder print shirt, $1,590. SHOP NOW
Karen Walker Surrealist pants, $465. SHOP NOW
Credit: Lee Oliveira

When she was five-years-old, Kaitlyn Ham, like many young Australians, would wear without question the luridly coloured twin sets that were knitted for her by her grandmother.

“I actually did love clothing from the youngest age,” says Ham. “I loved a good crop top. I had these matching crop tops with matching pants. I had this favourite outfit that was a white shirt with little, fluted sleeves with black pants with tiny polka dots all over them. I would still probably wear that now.”

Though Ham’s wardrobe today is less reliant on bespoke items of clothing made for her by her maternal grandmother, it’s fair to say that she has inherited the latter’s considerable style legacy  – a love of fashion as a means of creative and self-expression. When asked to encapsulate her defining aesthetic into a pithy epithet, Ham often invokes the phrase ‘monochromatic minimalism’ – but always with a slight proviso attached that things be “just that bit off beat and have that attitude about it.

“I find that really interesting and I know sometimes people get shocked when I end up buying or wearing something a bit different, [because] they’re like, ‘Oh, I thought you were a bit more conservative than that.’ I just like things that are interesting, and that can come in a lot of different forms.”

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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in black suede, $895. SHOP NOW
BASSIKE Longerline Drawstring Hooded Coat, $1,395. SHOP NOW
BASSIKE, Stretch Crepe Belted Dress, $650. SHOP NOW
Credit: Lee Oliveira
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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in black suede, $895. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in bordeaux suede, $895. SHOP NOW

It’s those forms, familiar and arcane in equal measure, that Ham explores through her personal style blog Modern Legacy, an outlet she began as a solution to the problem that “there weren’t that many blogs that had my own personal style shining through that I could see.”

Ham started Modern Legacy, a blog that she describes today as being “basically just all about my personal style”, in 2011 as the creative antithesis to her time spent studying law and international relations in Brisbane. Halfway through, though, she realised that there would be no room for the banalities of a life spent in law in her future. Nevertheless, Ham finished her studies before making a complete about-face toward fashion.

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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in black suede, $895. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in black suede, $720. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in tin glass, $720. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in aqua suede, $720. SHOP NOW
ELLERY Visual Wonder print shirt, $1,590. SHOP NOW
Karen Walker Surrealist pants, $465. SHOP NOW
Credit: Lee Oliveira

Ham began by dipping her toes in online retail for local boutiques, all the while continuing to update Modern Legacy as a hobby. Push soon came to shove, and two years ago Ham decided to invest the entirety of her time and resources into growing her blog. It was only then that something clearly clicked amongst Ham’s readers, and it wasn’t long before she was able to sustain the blog on organic traction alone. Ham credits being “an early adopter in the scene, especially in Australia where blogging is still a bit of a mystery to everyone but was just starting to gain a bit of attention” as playing a considerable role in the growth that took place in her nascent days. Soon enough, being based in Brisbane began to feel like an impediment to that growth, and Ham made the move south to Sydney with her now husband.

Since then, she says, the blog has taken off even more due to being in “the right city, which is good”.

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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in black suede, $895. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in tin glass, $720. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in aqua suede, $720. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in black suede, $720. SHOP NOW
BASSIKE, Stretch Crepe Belted Dress, $650. SHOP NOW
Credit: Lee Oliveira

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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in black suede, $895. SHOP NOW
ELLERY Visual Wonder print shirt, $1,590. SHOP NOW
Karen Walker Surrealist pants, $465. SHOP NOW
Credit: Lee Oliveira

Ham has since found her own direction, or at the very least, a trajectory she’d like to follow as her career develops – avenues that she’d like to try before she buys, if you will.

“I found where I’m most happy and comfortable is working in the creative direction and content curation area,” she says. “So I think I’ve been lucky in that a lot of friends like my imagery enough that they want to collaborate. Not only [because] of my following, but because of my aesthetic and the ultimate imagery that they get to be able utilise for themselves.” Close encounters with the design process have also piqued her interest, though she says she can’t foresee a time when learning the necessary technical skills to forge a design career becomes a reality. Instead, Ham says she relishes the opportunity to collaborate with others “in a more creative sense”, especially because the nature of her work is, almost by necessity, quite solitary.

She has found a valuable collaborator in photographer, Hannah Roche, with whom she travels for international fashion weeks – Paris is a favourite, naturally – and who channels Ham’s “very minimal and monochromatic” style into the kind of stark, winsome imagery that is clearly resonating with her 300,000 plus followers.

“I’ve always been quite minimal and relatively monochromatic, but not strictly so, so there’s always been a sense of there having to be something a bit edgy or a bit off about what I’m doing. It could be wearing a shirt that’s just so ridiculously over-sized that it’s kind of ridiculous.”

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Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in black suede, $720. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in tin glass, $720. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Nearlynude Block Heel Sandal in aqua suede, $720. SHOP NOW
Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in black suede, $895. SHOP NOW
BASSIKE Longerline Drawstring Hooded Coat, $1,395. SHOP NOW
BASSIKE, Stretch Crepe Belted Dress, $650. SHOP NOW
Credit: Lee Oliveira
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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in camel suede, $895. SHOP SIMILAR
Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in nice blue suede, $895. SHOP NOW

“What I really like about the GRANDIOSE then is that I love a pointed toe, and it’s black. For me, I like a really interesting, architectural, block heel, which is always good to have [because it’s] more comfortable to walk around in all day. Because it’s got such a nice, low cut on the ankle, it actually really works well into my usual wardrobe, [because] I’m really into a cropped culotte, a cut of jean, or a midi-skirt. I think that the boot goes so well with those sorts of things. You can obviously work it with some suiting for work or just back with denim for every day.”

It’s the inherent possibilities that fashion entails that are the source of endless fascination for Ham, “the ability to carve out your own identity and express yourself as an individual. Fashion and personal style is just one of those rare things that really can differentiate one human from another human. There’s always so much creativity going on and innovation. It’s such a community as well. I think all those sorts of things just make me really love it as a whole.”

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Stuart Weitzman Grandiose Edgy Ankle Boot on An Angular Block Heel in Black Suede, $895. SHOP NOW
ELLERY Visual Wonder print shirt, $1,590. SHOP NOW
Karen Walker Surrealist pants, $465. SHOP NOW
Credit: Lee Oliveira
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STUART WEITZMAN Lofty Back Tie Ankle Boot in beige suede, $905. SHOP NOW
STUART WEITZMAN Lofty Back Tie Ankle Boot in black suede, $905. SHOP NOW

Ultimately though, it’s that foundational love of fashion instilled in her by her grandmother – an active reader and follower of her granddaughter’s multiple platforms – that drives Ham to continue carving our her titular legacy, through “content and imagery creation”, if not for an audience then at least just for herself.

“It’s just that drive to create, I suppose, things that I find interesting and entertaining, and hopefully other people do at the same time. I think you have to entertain yourself first, is definitely what I’ve learned, because you can’t please everyone.”

Tile and cover image: Lee Oliveira
Shop Stuart Weitzman at David Jones

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