It's very funny how often people who come to the shop ask me how we source brands or how we discover the amazing designers we have in the shop. Of course we say we are constantly searching, we go to market weeks and we get contacted by dozens of brands a day.. but I always, just to show them how random and unpredictable it is, tell them the story of how one day i was in the shop and this beautiful girl came in wearing the most amazing, effortless yet elegant looking top I had seen in a long time. Of course, I rapidly ran to her and asked her where she bought it and more than that, if she knew who made it... she shyly responded that she made it herself, and that she had a little etsy shop where she sold the few pieces that she made by hand here in SF. My response obviously was to immediately ask her to show me everything she had and to ask her if she could make a few of them for us to carry in the shops. That was almost two years ago...that girl was Kara Szczech, and her line WAYWAY.
Marta: I just can't even begin to tell you how excited I am about this Pop Up! I feel I have seen you grow as a designer through out all these years and this SS16 Collection is the epitome of all the hard work you did! But let's start from the beginning, how did it all get started? Why did you start making clothes?
Kara: Everything started very slowly and unstructured actually. About two years ago I quit my corporate design job to go back to school and because I had extra time on my hands and needed a creative outlet, I started making clothes again. I initially made things for myself, but after receiving so many complements from friends and strangers on the street, I decided to start my own small label.
M: And we are all so glad you did!! I think one of the first reasons we all start these creative, personal endeavors is because we are looking for something that we can't find out there.. we have to satisfy a need that we have and we get our hands into it! Did you always know that this was what you wanted to do, though? Having your own line and making beautiful clothes?
K: Actually…when I was a teenager, I desperately wanted to dance for San Francisco Ballet. I grew up dancing and I think being around such amazing costumes really inspired me to pursue apparel design. Once I started designing though, I knew I eventually wanted to start my own line.
M: Oh we love costume design too! The ability of a stylist to create a world on its own and to reflect feelings and ideas through the wardrobe is so inspiring for us, and sometimes our inspiration when buying for the shops. Valerie, the other half of the shop's heart and soul, is obsessed with Oskar Schlemmer, and I think you are going to see what I mean in the upcoming seasons hah..
Talking about inspiration, what inspires you when you start creating a collection? Is it a textile, a shape, a color palette? What are the first steps you take?
K: I usually have a few shapes in mind that I personally want to wear so I really focus on silhouette when I begin each collection. Choosing color and textiles for the collection is one of my favorite things to do, however I typically don’t have color and fabric pinned down until I have finalized my silhouettes. I also buy dead stock fabric to cut down on waste, however my fabric options are a bit restrained sourcing fabric this way.
M: It is so great that you are able to work sustainability into your collections so organically and use it as a part of the creation process. Your shapes are always so flattering yet so absolutely comfortable. I think it embodies everything that we look for in a garment, it is stylish and looks very high end but it feels like a cloud. Is that something that you had in mind when starting to think about who you were going to be as a designer? Like what are the fundaments of WayWay? And what keeps you motivated to continue doing what you do?
K: My goal is to create novel basics, meaning I want each piece to be a “uniform” staple in the customer’s wardrobe. But at the same time, I want each piece to stand on its own as a beautiful garment. I am constantly motivated to create pieces that are effortless and comfortable, but also striking. I am also motivated to constantly grow as a designer and execute a collection that meets the vision I started out with at the beginning of the design process.
M: Exactly! That is the key! Comfort! And I think for so many years women we have been told that in order for it to be flattering, femenine, elegant.. it had to be uncomfortable, and one of the things we truly try to do here at the shops is to prove that wrong! You can't be elegant if you are not comfortable, something can't be flattering if you don't feel amazing in it... It is just so important that you wake up in the morning and are happy that you are going to wear something that is going to help make your day better, not the other way around! We also love when designers have a clear vision and always keep it in mind when growing, it is always such a pleasure to see brands that we have worked with since they started, grow and stay true to themselves.
We have talked about why I am so excited to carry you at the shops but I am always curious about what excites designers about us and made them decide to let us carry their brand.. Why did you chose Voyager/Revolver as a retailer?
K: I love Voyager! Aesthetically, the shop is beautiful and it is always perfectly curated. It really feels as if every piece in the shop is designed to be loved for years. I also love how welcoming and unpretentious Voyager is. Everyone is so friendly. I am really excited to have my line included with all of the other amazing lines Voyager carries.
M: Aww that really means so much to us! People feeling welcome and comfortable at the shops is our #1 priority, we want you guys to feel like you can come and just browse and hang out and get to see and feel the amazing pieces we curate at the shops. We are eager to tell everyone about the amazing hearts and minds behind all of them, because we truly believe that. We always say that is the biggest compliment anybody can say to us, so thank you so much!
And to finish, I always like to ask the classic question, how do you see yourself and the line in 10 years...maybe more where you would like to see or what would you love for it be like ten years from now
K: Wow, ten years! I have no real desire to have my line sold in as many stores as possible. Bigger does not necessarily equal success in my mind. Like I mentioned before, I want to make each collection better than the last, and if growth comes as a result, that would be amazing.
M: I don't think it gets better than that answer! I couldn't have said it better myself! Thanks so much Kara! I can't wait for the opening of the pop up tomorrow!
All Photographs by: Amy Harrity
WAYWAY POP UP PARTY OPENING!