And the Knits Just Keep on Coming…

A chat with Valentina Karellas, the designer behind her innovative and eponymous label, about her views on fashion, sustainability and pop culture.

Valentina Karellas is up and coming London based knitwear label that focuses on a sustainable approach to urban chic. With a philosophy that emphasizes quality and sustainability each style is designed, sourced and produced’ hand made’ in London with an aim for zero waste. The designs are considered trans-seasonal and can be appropriate for anytime of the year. Signature pieces include Cotton fingerless mittens, Wool mittens, cotton collars and cotton wristband.

  1. How would you describe your aesthetic?

Fun, bright, edgy and comfy.

  1. What would you like people to take away from looking at your designs?

Something different to everything else out there, to look at knitwear in a different edgy way.

  1. Could you tell us more about your recent collection – What message would you give from your work? Do you think it is important for fashion to give a message?

The latest collection which I call ‘chapters’ this is the second chapter, the message is clear, light bright and fun, keeping in line with the brand ethos which is zero waste, you can still be sustainable yet fashionable. Yes, it’s important for fashion to have a message, it’s a form of expression, both for the designer and the wearer, walking art.

  1. Who are the Fashion Designers/artists or brands that you admire?

Stella McCartney all the way, she has stayed true to her ethos, despite growing her global brand. She not only has edgy fun styles; she continues to source ethically made/ produced raw materials

  1. Street-wear has lately been more influential in fashion then the major designers. Do you like this current way or do you believe high fashion still exists?

I believe they have always been hand in hand, high fashion is always getting inspiration for the stylish people out there and vice versa.

  1. Do you have a muse? How do you feel about the concept of an artist having a muse?

My muse is my ethos, sustainable fashion, this pushes my design and production skills to the limit, I would love to have a particular person in mind do embody that, but I never had.

  1. Do you think fashion reflects the society and culture accurately and does it still influence people or holds the same power in today’s social media obsessed society?

Nowadays fashion has moved even faster than before, I believe it does keep up with culture, I feel the social media has empowered fashion and in fact enabled society to see both big brands and independent designers work.

  1. Film is another medium that has developed a strong relation to fashion lately. Have you collaborated on any fashion film or plan to?

I haven’t collaborated with any film makers as such, just have been dabbling in house with behind the scenes shots of the making process and photoshoots, but yes this is something that will interest me to do so, it’s a great way to depict the brands identity in moving form.

  1. Gender fluidity has been in spotlight a lot lately. How do feel about this new contemporary masculinity?

As a womenswear brand, I focus on the female form, however I try not to ‘genderize’ my pieces, I have had a surprising amount of men really like my designs and bold color choices, the new masculinity is ever changing, it seems to work and why not?

  1. Which famous personality or fictional character in your opinion defines this new gender fluidity?

I would say Harry Styles, his look has changed since the start, yet he does have this feminine carelessness to his style that I believe is very now.

  1. How in your opinion has feminism and contemporary masculinity has evolved in comparison to this movement?

It does seem a very hot topic now, with even more female issues in the spotlight, in every business sector, it seems gender roles are being crossed between the two.

  1. What is your opinion of porn? How do you feel about fashion’s mutually comfortable relation with porn?

Not too sure of the relation between porn and fashion, perhaps they run parallel opposed to mutuality.

  1. There is always a big debate on the role of the ‘Fashion School’ with strong cases for both ‘for’ and ‘against’ it. Where do you stand on it? Is fashion education all that it is marketed up to be?

I am very much for fashion school, it has given the base core skills I use today; however, I feel fashion schools do need to do a lot more in preparing the students for the ‘real’ fashion world, there is definitely a big gap between the school bubble and what you actually go through.

  1. Do you believe in elitist fashion or a more democratic accessible to all fashion?

I believe for sure there is this elitist society ‘culture’ when it comes to fashion, I don’t agree it should be like that, it should be accessible to all, I do think with social media, fashion bloggers have somehow bridged this gap, to bringing fashion to the masses.

  1. How do you feel about the recent craze of collaboration? Have you done any interesting collaborations? Who would your dream collaboration be with?

I think it’s great to collaborate, using the best of each skills and styles to form a great idea or product is brilliant, we should do this more. I am yet to collaborate with anyone, I would love to collaborate with shoe-makers, I have a little idea going in my head, which hopefully will come early next year.

  1. What has been the highlight of your career so far?

I would say seeing customers face and reaction to my products when they wear it/try it on, brings me all the joy.

  1. What is next for you? How do you see your work developing in the coming years?

Continue with my ‘chapters’ until a Novel is created as we as collaborations for sure. The goal is to have a small run knitwear factory in London, bringing back the skills that we are losing.

  1. Favorite Halloween costume?

Got to be a classic witch!

  1. What’s on your music playlist these days?

Wish I had time to even compile a playlist, but I listen to Indie Radio, always has the right tunes for every mood.

For more info: www.valentinakarellas.com

Insta: vkarellas

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