On a summer's day in the beautiful Stockholm archipelago we met up with lifestyle brand Karlina's. Our shared love for timeless design, longevity and craftsmanship brought us together. We have playfully combined our favourite pieces to create head-to-toe timeless looks that will keep you comfy and cosy during long summer days, but also perfect for any season ahead. From a small town in Latvia to the bustling streets of New York, Paris, London and Tokyo – its founder Karlina Caune’s career as a super model has taken her to some of the world’s most hectic cities. When it comes down to it, though, it’s the slower pace of life in Nordic nature that brings her most energy.
YOU HAVE JUST LAUNCHED YOUR OWN BRAND KARLINA’S. DESCRIBE THE JOURNEY LEADING UP TO IT.
It’s been a long journey, stretched over nearly a decade. I remember the day I came up with Karlina’s. From a fun idea it turned into a concept that required me to be more aware. From a small idea that sparked the beginning of Karlina’s has grown and turned into something much bigger. Besides garments we just launched our very first skincare line.
SUSTAINABLE MANUFACTURING IS AN IMPORTANT CORNERSTONE OF THE BRAND. IN WHAT WAY WOULD YOU LIKE TO CHANGE FASHION CONSUMPTION?
By producing products that last a lifetime, and changing the concept of a trend. I believe that there is long forgotten truth in the past, when resources where scarcer and craftsmanship was help in high honour. My grandmother always used to say: 'We are not rich enough to buy poor quality.' I got a school outfit once a year, and a pair of good jeans that could then be past on to siblings. The older generation took care of clothes and bought quality over quantity. Getting dressed should not be a about always needing to run after the latest item and only wearing it a few times before tossing it out.
WHAT ARE YOUR ADVICE WHEN IT COMES TO BUILDING A WARDROBE?
Personally, I like creating my wardrobe with timeless pieces, that can be easily cross matched and styled with different accessories and therefore give vast variety of choices. A white t-shirt can be styled with a blazer, pair of denim, boots, belt and some jewellery for a smart office look or you can tuck in a t-shirt, throw over a blazer, add belt, boots and some jewellery and you have a smart office look. Or just have it lose over your jeans for a casual look. Clothing should be something that we have fun with, it should add something to us, not become the main thing about us.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES WHEN IT COMES TO THE FASHION INDUSTRY?
I think the fashion industry has lost its unique appeal. It’s become mundane, with new collections every other month. It’s exhausting to even try to follow up and I feel the excitement is not what it used to be. Honestly that makes me sad. I truly miss the storytelling, the personality of fashion. The integrity, and the craftmanship that was so cherished has almost disappeared and the fast fashion houses have taken over copying designs and producing them unethically. There is more money spent on marketing and greenwashing then actually making companies take responsibility on their impact.
KARLINA’S WILL LAUNCH SPECIAL EDITIONS TWICE A YEAR, WHAT’S THE FIRST ONE?
Since September 2021 we have collaborated with a family in the Mexican jungle, the last remaining family who produces Mayan pottery in the old traditional way. The village used to be known as a pottery village, and the family’s biggest dream is to have a building on the plot of land turned into a pottery school, to bring back the ancient art form. The Karlina’s has commissioned 300 little vases to raise money. Each piece is handmade, and hand coloured, using a very special process, with materials sourced from the jungle. We have made candles out of them, using soy wax, and wooden wicks. The first collaboration will launch October 2022, all profits from each piece sold will go towards supporting their dream.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
My biggest inspiration is found in nature, patterns of wildness and coordination. Everything’s connected, including humans. Those relations fascinate me and is a large part of my inspiration designing and developing pieces. How is it connected, how will it impact the world and lives of others?
YOU’RE BORN IN LATVIA, LIVED IN NEW YORK, PARIS, LONDON AND TOKYO, AND NOW STOCKHOLM. WHAT HAVE THESE PLACES GIVEN YOU?
Each of those cities have showed me different pace of life and taught me how different people are. The fact that there is not just one way of doing things has encouraged me to be different. I feel as if I was raised in different families, and each has given me something to cherish and hold dear to.
IF YOU WERE TO PICK ONE PLACE IN THE WORLD TO LIVE, WHERE WOULD IT BE?
I have always had a love affair with Los Angeles. I really love that city and the nature around it. However, I must say, I am beyond content where I am, in Stockholm. I feel as if I have returned to my roots. I love the Nordic lifestyle, where the connection to nature is entwined with life.
YOU’VE WORKED AS A MODEL FOR MANY YEARS, AND GRACED COUNTLESS MAGAZINE COVERS AND CAMPAIGNS. ANY MOMENTS YOU CAN SHARE?
There are so many, but the most inspiring one was working during fashion week. Showing up to a fitting late the night before the show and then suddenly the designer has a lightbulb moment, and boom! They just create a skirt out of some fabric right there on the spot. Another, rather funny one was with Stella McCartney, I had the pleasure working with her for several years and every fashion week, her father, Sir Paul McCartney was there. And every time, he would stand right by the catwalk entrance cracking jokes. One of the years he would just stand next to Stella and say ‘break a leg!’ to each one of us just before entering the runway.
WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO SUNGLASSES. HOW CAN THEY ADD CHARACTER TO A LOOK?
I’m always into sunglasses! It adds character to any look and at the same time provides mystique and privacy. You can look out into the world, but no one can see into yours.
WHO SHOULD WE INTERVIEW NEXT AND WHY?
I would love to read a piece about people making Oh My Eyes sunglasses. Their story and what led them into this craftsmanship.