How It's Made: Valentina Karellas
Tell us a bit about yourself
When I was a child, I used to help my mum with her tailoring work. During the following years, I developed a huge interest and passion for sewing and knitting.
As with everything in life, I grew older and decided it was time to pursue my dream. Therefore, I studied at London College of Fashion, where I specialised in Knitwear Design Technology.
A few years after, I graduated with a Masters degree at Polimoda Florence and worked in Italy as a knitwear designer. Ever since 2007, I have lived and worked in Italy, China and London. Although, I was working really hard on my designs for other brands and suppliers, deep in myself I knew something was missing.
That's when I realised it was time to give it a try. As a result, I spent two years researching and planning the launch of my brand and since August of last year, I am proud to be the founder of my own Brand: “Valentina Karellas”.
The brand focuses on the design and creation of women's luxury knitwear and accessories. I am very proud of each of my products as I have never seen my design style out there. The colours and shapes of my pieces, along with my inclination for slow fashion and ethical approach make my brand a true gem.
What goes into making the products?
My products are unique, as I use surplus yarns from a supplier up north that offers yarns that would have been discarded by large factories. I utilise good quality yarns and make each piece special
This means, that once I run out of yarn, the piece can no longer be produced. Representing exclusivity to the brand.
By making everything myself, I noticed that there was a lot of yarn waste, so I keep it all and use all the surplus yarn in my accessories with specialised knitting techniques.
What have you learned since you started?
My biggest lesson was definitely getting my timetable organised. When I launched, I kept finding great shows or competitions to apply to, but I always missed the deadlines. As a result, I learned to organise all the relevant information into Excel files. This means spending more time doing what I enjoy the most; making wonderful pieces for my customers.
What inspires you when you're creating new ranges?
As I am all about slow fashion and not following trends, my pieces appear organically both from design and from the machine. When starting a new collection, especially with knitting, you have to create small swatches to see how the yarn and tension will work. This opens up a labyrinth of ideas, some of them I choose and explore further, others I set aside for future projects.