One of New Zealand’s most influential talents, fashion designer Karen Walker is known for her high casual collections and juxtaposition of contrasting elements. Her sunglasses give off a self-assured air—both feminine and masculine, sophisticated and eclectic, soft and fierce. We talked to Walker about sunglasses and the concept behind her latest collection.
Shopbop: Your pieces have a huge cult following. What is it about your designs and creative outlook that inspires such fierce loyalty?
Karen Walker: Our customers know that we don't compromise, and that each season we deliver a very unique point of view.
SB: Do you have any tips for picking out the perfect pair of sunglasses online?
KW: Karen Walker customers like to experiment and try out new ideas. Every new style we put out is like a new adventure, and the thing that our customers have in common is a great sense of imagination and individual style. I think that trusting in your imagination is a great way to shop online.
Alternative Karen Walker sunglasses.
SB: The concept and partnership behind your latest collection, Karen Walker Visible, is very cool. Can you give more details?
KW: We’re working with the United Nations’ ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative to create work in community groups of micro-artisans located in the urban and rural areas of Kenya. Every pair of eyewear from the new collection comes with a wearable pouch made by the Kenyan artisans, and to give a glimpse into the world that the work is coming from, some of the artisans themselves are this season’s campaign stars.
SB: You’ve been a designer since you were 18. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
KW: Do it if it feels right.
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