I love when a designer manages to stand out from the crowd and grab your attention for all the right reasons and that is what happened when I first saw the work of Karolina Sexton. She makes the most stunning necklaces – my favourite of which can be layered up and made of so many vibrant colours.
She uses all different types of yarn, like cotton, acrylic and linen. She also uses African Wax Print fabrics, beads, buttons, feathers, leather and felt. How talented is she to be able to turn her skill to so many different textiles!
I am not surprised that Karolina is a finalist in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards as when I saw her work at the Galway Designer’s Network Autumn Winter Showcase (you can read more about it here), it really stood out and grabbed my attention. We are delighted to be featuring her on Floralesque today.
Have you always had an interest in design? Do you remember the first moment when you realised that you wanted to create as a career?
No, but I always had an artistic soul. I love theatre, cinema and music. Since I remember I liked to experiment with my looks especially with my hairstyles and body (tattoo, piercing ). When I was younger I was trying to paint and sketch but even though I liked it a lot I am not very talented in this 🙂 I started making necklaces when my youngest daughter was born…I already had 2 older boys and I was with them at home. Because although I was always a very active person I was missing something which I could be doing for myself. I needed to express myself somehow. That’s how it started and when I became brave enough to start selling and I realized that people want to buy my work then I felt that it could be the beginning of something bigger.
Your pieces are so beautiful, where do you find your inspiration from?
Thank you very much for your kind words 🙂
I am inspired by African Style jewellery. I love the bold design which makes a woman look unique and eye-catching. Experimenting with different materials, African fabrics, wires, shells, trimmings and of course the base – yarn is always fascinating and exciting. I am creating the jewellery which I believe is somewhere between pure African design and European style. My necklaces have so many options to wear that every woman can suit it to her own style and look.
You use many different textiles in your work, what is your favourite textile to work/create with?
When I started to make my necklaces I was working only with yarn. That’s why I always call my necklaces- yarn wrapped necklaces. This type of jewellery is great for every day use and in my opinion, is good for absolutely every woman. I think the yarn is still my favourite textile to work with as I love to choose it, touch it, match the colours etc. The shops with yarn I call heaven 🙂
The ‘rope’ necklaces are very unusual and really stunning, where did you learn the skill of creating them?
I saw similar necklaces somewhere online but they were with clasps. Multistrand necklaces but without the possibility of wearing it any different way. I liked the idea of ropes but I wanted something without clasps so we can decide how do we want to wear our jewellery. The way my necklaces look now is my own idea. I created it and I figured it out how to make them. I had no teachers or mentors.
Every set contains a few separate ropes (usually 4-5). We can simply wrap them around the neck as many times as permitted. Thanks to that we can wear them short or long. We can also choose how many ropes we want to wear at the time. Not always we want to wear all 5 and have such a big piece on our neck. For everyday use, we can use even only 1 rope and have a very delicate design. My loyal customers are often buying a few pieces and so they can mix and match ropes between the sets to suit their daily clothing and style. I think this is the best in my jewellery. It leaves the space for the creativity of the owner.
Did you face any challenges when creating your brand?
The biggest challenge is to keep finding new inspirations which help when I am in the process of creating new collections. To stay fresh and unique. To find the balance between work, family and free time for myself. What helps is to be appreciative of what I already have and what I achieved so far.
Would you have any tips for those hoping to start a career in design – something that someone had said to you when you were starting out?
Tips for the business for me are the same as the ones for everyday life. And no, nobody had said it to me. That’s my own rule 😉 Wish people well, support the other designers the same like you wish them to support you. Be honest with yourself and others. Relax and find the balance. Don’t forget to enjoy what you do…if you feel overwhelmed and you feel you are losing it…take a break, find your passion again. Feed your inner child- always! Smile, laugh and simply enjoy your life 🙂
The rest will come….and if for any reason it won’t it will not break you as the strength you have will lead you somewhere else… you carry your happiness inside of you 🙂 I believe in karma – it always comes back to give what you would like to get.
Although hard to choose – what is your proudest moment or highlight with She Vibes to date?
For sure It is the nomination to Irish Fashion Innovation Awards 2018 in category Jewellery Designer of the Year.
When I came to Galway almost 15 years ago, getting out of the bus in the middle of the night with 700 e borrowed from my parents in my pocket so I can start my new, adult life I never thought I will achieve something like this. Looking for my first job for 3 months, having poor English and being overwhelmed by the never-ending rain I would laugh if somebody told me I am going to be showing my designs to so many people in Ireland and beyond. I feel very grateful and simply happy.
Where would you like to see the brand going in the next five years?
At the moment my main market is in the USA. I would say 85% of my necklaces I am selling to New York customers. I am not very popular in Ireland and I keep hearing from people – ” I love your necklaces but I am not brave enough to wear it”. My biggest dream is that Irish women will see the potential in my designs. That they will be willing to be creative when wearing them and if they think they have to be brave to wear them then simply BE BRAVE 🙂 Like my friend once said: ” Fake it until you become it” 🙂 I love this sentence. It’s so accurate to many situations in our life isn’t?
Also, my dream is to design necklaces for the theatre stage or for music videos. I think this type of neck piece has big potential and because it is so eye catching it could be used as costume jewellery.
And lastly a very important question… Lyons or Barry’s tea? And favourite dipping biscuit?
I have to admit I am a coffee person…I drink 2 cups a day. 1 in the morning – its a must! And one at about 4 pm 🙂 But because of my Irish Parents In-Law, I always have Barry’s tea at home. They bring it with them when they are visiting us in Galway 🙂 I drink tea maybe once a week or even less….no milk!
Favourite biscuit? Oh yes, I am addicted to Lemon Scottish Shortbread Biscuits by Specially Selected brand. 😀
This is one designer whose pieces can be worn in so many different ways, what I love about her work is that you can wear one strand or five and completely change the aesthetic of your look. If you want something unique and beautiful you should certainly check out her store, and follow along on Facebook and Instagram! Best of luck tomorrow in the Irish Fashion Innovation Awards Karolina!
All images kindly provided for use and credited as advised.
If you enjoyed this interview in the ‘Floralesque Meets’ Series, then you can click here to read more exciting interviews with designers, creators, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs and more – enjoy meeting the makers!