A CONVERSATION WITH KINGA KROL

Kinga Krol is a young, upcoming designer based in the UK. Currently her focus is on creating accessories, mostly beaded bags and hand painted shoes. Her products are born out of her dismay at the exploitative and wasteful nature that permeate fast-fashion.

Every single bag and each pair of shoes have been handmade and painted carefully by herself in London, with love and care.

Not only that, most of her materials are sustainably sourced from second-hand fabrics and beaded products which deserve a second chance. For those wishing for even more of a personal touch, the designer also creates customized bags: https://www.kingakrol.com .

A CONVERSATION WITH KINGA KROL

Describe yourself as creative and when did you decide exactly to create hand-made bags and hand-painted shoes?

I think I am very much a multi – disciplinary creative, that worked within different environments and for all types of creative projects. I usually just go with the flow, and it kinda happened by accident that I started fashion design last year.  I really wanted to do more arts and crafts, but I also wanted it to be related to fashion. I was about to purchase a second hand beaded bag, but then I just had this idea, that maybe I should try and make one myself?

It was actually a really fun process, so I started to make more, purely as a hobby. It felt really great to be able to express myself that way. Later I also started painting shoes, which is something I also find really enjoyable. Most of my materials are sustainability sourced from second hand fabrics and beaded products which deserve a second chance. I love colours, I love patterns, the louder the better, so creating these types of products, really allows me to fully express myself creatively. 

How do you manage the creativity process exactly as it’s really challenging in the slow fashion industry? 

I think I just really trust my intuition, for me this is mostly a way of expressing myself. I don’t think I would like to be that type of label that plays it safe and aims to be really minimalistic and commercial. What you see is what you get, and I think people actually really appreciate that approach. Vogue reached out to me earlier this year, and later I was also approached by a shop in New York that asked me to design a summer collection for them. Both of them mentioned that the reason they became interested in my brand in the first place, is because my items are so colourful and bold. So I think for me personally, it is mostly about trusting myself and staying really true to myself also. 

What is the most challenging issue in promoting your own slow fashion label ? 

The amount of responsibilities that comes with having your own small creative business is crazy. It can be really overwhelming at times. Time management is really important, and I think I struggle with that a lot. As a start-up having limited resources, can be very challenging, but I am learning how to work around this, and just trying to do my best. 

What’s the main impact of social media in both ways, buying and brand marketing? 

My business wouldn’t exist, if it wasn’t for social media, it is incredibly impactful. Back in June 2020, one of the micro-influencers from Poland re-posted one of the photos of bags that I created, and it all genuinely started from there. I got so much interest coming from her audience, I was literally forced to make an online shop, to make things easier for myself and my new customers. Social Media is so powerful, in both good and in a bad way. I have made a lot of connections through Instagram, but I also appreciate the power of other forms of advertising. 

We know you launched your label in New York City with Flying Solo. Why did you choose this market and what do you expect from it?

I actually had offers of collaboration from shops in Poland and Germany, but I decided New York is the place I want to start with. Is truly a capitol of fashion, and Flying Solo, mentioned that my products “are very Brooklyn”, which for me was honestly one of the best compliments I ever received. So I think the audience was just the most suitable. Like I mentioned, my designs are really colourful and bold, and I think people that choose to live in a place like New York, are definitely brave enough to wear these. I am planning to run some fashion events later this year, with Flying Solo, at their location, so I am hoping this will also bring some new, interesting collaborations. 

What do you think is the biggest challenge regarding your creative work?

I think for me personally, like I mentioned, is the amount of responsibilities and lack of time. I have other commitments that I need to work on daily, and it can be really overwhelming at times. It all started as a way for me to express myself, so I really want this process to stay enjoyable for me. 

How do you think your label can play an important role in your daily client’s life?

Each of my designs is one – of – a – kind, handmade by me, with lots of love and care. I treat my products like a small pieces of art , and every single one of them has a special place in my heart. It’s a big chance for customers to purchase something that is not only ethically handmade, but also extremely personal and unique. 

Imagine that you must write a letter to your FUTURE SELF. What would you write?

Definitely not to give up and keep going, as this has been an issue before with any other project I got involved with. I am that type of person that has one million ideas per day, and I want to do absolutely everything, and I get really excited about new concepts very quickly. It’s a blessing and curse, because I definitely got involved with many different projects in the past that were in really different areas. But on the other hand I just tempt to lose my interest so quickly, because I got another idea that I find more exciting, so I ended up giving up on things relatively quickly. But I really want this to be different, so I think I just really need to stay focused, keep going and just enjoy the process. 

KINGA KROL