Intro to.. Valentina Karellas
Introducing London's antidote to fast fashion- Valentina Karellas! Taking a sustainable approach to urban chic, Valentina Karellas uses surplus yarn from factories to create long-lasting, entirely unique and original London pieces. Valentina Karellas embodies her inspiration from the obscure streets of London, naming each organically sourced piece after roads we walk every day. Valentina Karellas is London born, London bred. To learn more about Valentina and her highest dedication to craftsmanship, we sat down with her to get to know more about the brand and inspiration:
Hello Valentina, tell us a little about yourself and how you created Valentina Karellas!Hi, I started my brand 2 ½ years ago after years of working for fashion suppliers and brands and seeing the behind the scenes of how everything is made and the amount that is wasted. I soon saw the impact fast fashion had on the environment and the people making the clothing. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but this pushed me to research and plan to create my designs in London. I wanted to make a difference by creating fun, bright and vibrant knitwear.
All your pieces are handmade and knitted- how do you get inspired when designing new pieces?
I let the knitting machine guide me. I generally have an idea of certain stitches I want to play around with. It could take a couple of weeks just getting the right stitch, colour or tension to look right before I’m completely happy. Then I think of the shapes. This also takes some time as a lot of calculations need to be accurate to not make mistakes or waste time.
For us here at Aequem sustainability is everything. Tell us what sustainability means to you and Valentina Karellas?
Yes, I completely agree. It’s the forefront of how I plan everything, not just in terms of design, but who I work with, collaborate with or even the packaging I use. It has to be locally made in the UK to help local businesses in any way possible. The main aspect of sustainably for me is waste. I have seen so much of this and its only become worse and will continue to do so. Providing a brand that doesn’t waste a single fibre in the making process and utilizing other brands' waste is crucial. I don’t work with trends, I strive to make my pieces with longevity through design and artisanal skills.
We love implementing our own waste fibres back into our accessories. How did you develop this aesthetic?
When I first started sampling I noticed a pile of yarn gathering up. I didn’t want to waste it as I A. paid for it and B. am all about zero waste. So, I played around on the knitting machine to see how I can implement the fibres back into the pieces, which I did by creating little pockets and individually using tweezers inserting them in (they are roughly 2cm wide). I am always planning ways to use the waste in fun innovative ideas.
How or wear do you like to wear your pieces?
I try to make my pieces super comfortable and slouchy, very bright and fun. I wear it every day and as they are also chic and excellent quality I also wear them on evenings out. Generally I wear fully knit as much as possible, dresses, bottoms, the lot.
Okay, so now more about you…
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I'm up at 6.30 and rush to the gym for a full-on intensive body combat or pump class, then back for a shower and a massive breakfast. It’s what gives me energy for the day ahead to keep strong to knit all day.
If you could wear only one thing for the rest of your life what would it be? (not including your fave pieces from your label, obviously.)
It will probably be my yoga gear as I spend my evenings practicing yoga. It clears my mind and it's a little hard to practice in jeans.
If you were a celebrity, who would you be?
Mr. Motivator! He was the fitness instructor back in the early 90’s. On TV he always had so much energy in the mornings and made everyone feel good and confident. I would also like to be Cara Delevigne, she just rocks and is super comfortable with who she is. She has a great energy.
Out of your current collection, which is your favourite piece and why?
I would say it’s from my first collection, the Hereford dress. It's super slouchy and comfortable, tangerine cotton bright and fun. It has four sleeves so you can wear it in many ways giving it a different look each time. It can be dressed up or casual.
It has been great getting to know more about you and Valentina Karellas if you could give one piece of advice to our readers to take away with them, what would it be?
Try to think carefully of what you buy, especially with fashion. Do you really need another garment in your wardrobe? And when you make that decision make sure it’s from an independent brand that promotes and encourages sustainable and ethical practices.