For the first in a series of interviews I have lined up I spoke to the lovely Karen Kell from the Karen Kell Collection. From a studio in Los Angeles, they create handcrafted Clogs, Bags & Accessories from vegetable tan leather. The company is really unique & creates beautiful products that make you feel really individual. The products have an oh-so-boho vibe which is what attracted me them.
Vibrant colours mix with the finest leather to creat products which are fashionable & unique.
I was lucky enough to be able to speak to Karen Kell about her collections & what to expect in the future.
Tell me about your beginnings, how did it all start?
I started with the idea, to make an interchangeable shoe using a wooden platform with uppers that changed. Also I visited an artists town in Central Mexico called San Miguel de Allende which was also nearby the leather capital of Latin America, Leon and I experimented with vegetable tan leather, molding it and tooling it. I was soon hooked and moved away from the interchangeable shoe idea to clog shoes with tooled leather uppers. Once I started playing around with veg tan, there was no turning back!
What is your mission?
My mission is to employ a few crafts people here in the US and have my own workshop with a store front in Austin Texas. I would love to train people in the art of tooling vegetable tan leather and molding it too.
What inspires your company & the products you create?
I am inspired by the limitless things you can do with veg tan, but also the era of the 1970s. Fashions were far out crazy and I have such fond memories of that era and what it stood for that I want to re-live it and to remind people of when designers created for the pure heart of it.
Describe Karen Kell Collection in three words.
Unique, Inspired, Desirable.
Being unique is important to me as an individual, would you say it is important to your company & if so, why?
For me, there would be no point in being derivative, I get my thrills from creating pieces through my own ideas, perhaps being inspired by a piece of wood which a scrap of leather might bring out a flavor in the grain. Ideas grow through my interpretation of materials, textures and colors, sometimes the process is quick but often lengthy. People know when they see authenticity and ones originality is strengthened by the style that develops and shows in a collection.
What can we expect from Karen Kell Collection in the future?
Expect to be amazed!
I would like to say a big thank you to Karen Kell for taking the time to answer my questions. Please check out Karen Kell Collection website, some really wonderful & unique finds are to be had here!
You can also find & shop directly Karen Kell Collection on Etsy .