Karolyn Pho’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection balances avant-garde structures with Americana simplicities. A California State University graduate, Pho started her career in fashion as a wardrobe style for film and music videos. From there she transitioned her love of fashioning celebrities in the latest looks to establishing her own self-titled brand in 2012.
This being her third collection, Karolyn, rather than following the sculptural seasonal trends like many others, has chosen to perfect her personal approach and interpretation of modern day luxury. Utilizing silks, satins, and organzas to formulate dramatic silhouettes that surprisingly showcasing the feminine façade without the unnecessary.
1. Tell us a bit about your history in fashion.
Ever since preschool, fashion has allowed me to express different aspects of my personality. From skorts to jelly shoes to lacey ankle socks, clothing was always a focal point for me as a child. Los Angeles will forever have a place in my heart for this very reason. The city offered so many ‘scenes’— an intermixed playground of culture, nightlife, sex, and most importantly, the fashion. I could be anyone on any given night. This fascination with role-play became useful when I began my career as a wardrobe stylist. Styling soon turned into costume design through my work in music video and short film. I liked the idea of jumping from one headspace to another and film further emphasized an understanding for concept and character development. Throughout this time in the industry, I had been studying Fashion Merchandising at California State University where my education focused on marketing, branding, and business. Day dreaming about different brand concepts was a daily routine. Upon graduation, I was confident and adamant on launching my own collection.
2. What’s the inspiration behind your collections?
Each collection has its own specific inspiration however they all share a focus on minimalism, the feminine form, and a playful juxtaposition.
3. How does this collection differentiate from the last? Or what sort of message, if any, were you trying to convey that you refrained from portraying in the past? A sense of maturity, artistic influence, etc.
My transition from Los Angeles to New York this past year heavily influenced the SS14 collection. There’s a lot of adrenaline when being thrown into a new and unfamiliar environment. Acting on impulse and emotion helped me find my edge. To quote Vonnegut, “Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.”
4. Are there any collaborations in the future? What’s next on the bucket list of fashion stardom are you looking to cross off with you brand?
I have a few collaborations in mind however I’d like to keep these close until they come to fruition. All I’ll say is, I’ve managed to surround myself with extremely talented creatives who all have the same insatiable appetite for beautiful things. My bucket list is simple. Having a focused and clear direction is everything. I want the brand to remain honest and maintain its three core values—minimalism, feminine form, and juxtaposition. Fashion stardom has nothing to do with it.
5. What separates you from the other brands out now? What is lacking in the industry that you feel you are concentrating on?
My imagination is boundless and my work is reactionary. There’s a bit of insanity and a whole lot of selfishness that goes into designing each season. Therefore, my creative process is so personal that it would be difficult for my brand to be similar to any other.
6. How do you feel about celeb designers, when trained designers like you, study the art and hone the skills?
Whether you’re a celebrity designer or trained designer, the work will speak for itself. It’s substance and longevity that is taken seriously.