Quarterlettes of NYFW: Meet Karolyn Pho

FEBRUARY 20, 2014
Inspiration Board courtesy of Karolyn Pho

Inspiration Board courtesy of Karolyn Pho

There are few things scarier than putting everything on the line. But putting something that you’ve poured your heart and soul into on display, while incredibly intimidating, can also be incredibly rewarding if your passion is to create.

Last week, Karolyn Pho showed at New York Fashion Week for the first time. There is so much that goes into putting on a runway show: the venue, music, make up and of course – putting together the looks. In addition to designing and producing an Apparel collection, all young designers strive to find their voice – a cohesive statement that speaks to their vision.

At pier Pier59, Karolyn Pho’s vision was clear. Her clean lines, flowing silks, and bold colors all made a strong statement that complemented the models’ expressions and great music. Her journey to fashion week has been met with challenges that many quarter-life women can relate to: wanting to be in a place that understands them and their work and being tempted by a great opportunity but following your gut. We had a chance to ask Karolyn about her experience below

Quarterlette: How does the Karolyn Pho Girl express herself through personal style? What are some of the traits or characteristics she possesses?

Karolyn Pho: It’s all about who she is. Her intellect, her grace, and her personality. The Karolyn Pho girl dresses minimalistic to highlight exactly that. It’s not about making a loud statement through clothing, but rather allowing that to be a canvas to the girl herself. The Karolyn Pho girl is one who enters a room and exudes elegance right off the bat.

Qlette: As a designer, how do you express yourself through your personal style?

K: My wardrobe is mostly basics. Not many colors — I find them distracting. I’m a no-bullshit kind of girl so I keep things classic and simple. My worst fear is looking fussy.

Qlette: What was you inspiration for this collection?

K: My inspiration came from various mediums but the main concept came from this idea of outer space and its connection to a higher power. This idea that we, as humans, have been chasing since the beginning of time. I thought a lot about time portals and the pyramids with their kinetic energy… How futuristic that idea was in theory at such an ancient time. I love this juxtaposition.

Qlette: Showing at NYFW for the first time is such an amazing accomplishment! What were some of the ups and downs that brought you to this point?

L: My biggest upper was moving to NY from LA. I needed to feel that I belonged in a place where people understood me and my work and I got exactly that. The energy in this city is like no other. 

The biggest downer was during the months after my first collection. That October I had been tempted to go back into styling to work under a really genius editor and publication. In the back of my mind, I knew that the Fall/Winter deadline was coming up and for weeks I had this gut-wrenching feeling that I had made the wrong move… So with only a month and a half until fashion week, I jumped ship and dove straight into my 2nd collection, Fall/Winter 2013. I wish I had given myself more time, but somehow, I managed to pull it together.2012/2013 were so far the craziest years of my life, and now I’m showing at NYFW which surpasses crazy… It’s surreal.

Qlette: What has been the most rewarding part of producing this collection? What has been the biggest challenge?

K: The most rewarding part is the actual showing of the collection, i.e. Fashion Week. I was born to create and exhibit, and for me, there’s no better high. The biggest challenge is removing myself emotionally from the collection. I have to do this before I take the collection to market. It’s strictly business at that point and I have to be able to speak and listen objectively. It’s a push and pull of emotion.

Qlette: What look or piece from the line is your favorite?

K: I hate to admit that I have a favorite but I will give you a hint that it’s all at once classic and conceptual.

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