Karin Aviaz, the designer behind Tel Aviv based clothing label Karin A, is a clothing designer with an eye for minimalist cool and comfortable chic. She started her line in 2003 and pulls her androgynous and urban cool design inspiration from European travel and middle eastern beach towns. Her aim is to inspire a casual and comfortable feel with her pieces. Consider me inspired! I could live in the current line.
Read on to find out more about this Tel Avivian cool designer.
In a couple of sentences, tell me what you do.
I'm owner and head designer of karin A - founded in 2003, I design cool, comfortable, urban clothing for women.
Where are you from and has that played a part in your creative process?
I currently live and work in Tel Aviv, and my clothes are pretty casual, with breathing fabrics (mostly cotton and linen) that fit the weather here and the very relaxed atmosphere of a middle east beach town. But there's another part of me and my influences that's very European - I have family in Paris, London and Istanbul. I studied in Amsterdam and travel a lot. I think the elements of elegant sophistication and urban, androgynous style in my designs are definitely the influence of these beautiful cities.
"I describe myself as a minimalist that's in love with sparkles."
What does a typical day look like for you?
Mornings are spent in the studio, after sending my girls Alex (8) and Lennie (6) off to school. The studio is a shared space with some creative friends that I love so its always fun to be there. I handle merchandise for the stores I work with in Tel Aviv, there's the actual design work in the studio, production processes, plus customers coming in.
Afternoons are usually spent with the girls - we spend a lot of time crafting or walking around the city, both activities that they love and inspire my work directly. I actually realised lately that a lot of my best design ideas come to me when I'm driving :-)
What are your favorite materials to work with and why?
Organic and natural fabrics, that just fit with the minimal chic that's been developing in my last few collections. I adore velvet and always try to have some of it in my line - this season I even made some velvet clutch purses just for fun. I've been doing a lot of handmade knits in the last two winter collections, with 100% cotton yarn, and am really keen on developing the sweater and knit lines further in the coming winters.
"I think there's a way for a woman's body and self expression to show in nuance, within her daily routine and through comfort and chic"
Are you self taught or did you study traditionally?
I did study but not very traditionally - I went to the Beztalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem in the jewelry making department first, then moved to Amsterdam and went to Rietveld Academie Fashion School where I got my bachelors degree - but the Rietveld approach to fashion studies is very conceptual and experimental, and is very much focused on the students becoming independent and original designers. After that I did residency at Alexander van Slobbe fashion house which was the best learning experience I could hope for.
Do you have a design philosophy or a set of values that applies to your work?
I describe myself as a minimalist that's in love with sparkles, and that's the sort of dichotomy I've always worked in. My last couple of collections have become more minimal, the colors focusing on black, gray, camel and white. It's become a discussion between comfortable, urban and sexy, and the last few collections have been complimentary to each other and just grow out of these simple, wearable ideas. I think there's a way for a woman's body and self expression to show in nuance, within her daily routine and through comfort and chic, and I try to empower and express that casual confidence with my designs.
What does the future hold for you? Whats your next project? Where do you see yourself in 3-5 years?
I'm very happy with where I am now, with the flow of work and life and my collections. I will probably see much more online sales in the coming years, reaching more customers worldwide. My next challenge and where I'd like to be in a few years is have my clothes in stores in Europe and the US as well.
*2016 winter collection photos by Asaf Einy