A native of Cali, Colombia, Carolina Sarria’s destiny was to break into the world of fashion. She decided to move to New York at a young age and studied Fashion Design at the prestigious Art Institute of New York City. Sarria launched her first collection in a private 2011 fashion show. With an overwhelmingly positive response, the demand for Sarria’s pieces quickly grew. Sarria was encouraged by this auspicious beginning, and thus founded her namesake brand.
The year of 2014 would be a game-changer: Carolina Sarria met young fashion designer Bianca Allen, and quickly formed a deep bond under the Carolina Sarria brand. The two tastemakers established a collaborative team. Working together to manage and cultivate the Carolina Sarria brand, Sarria and Allen worked with rigor to make sure that the label evoked pure luxury. Exploring the idea of a woman’s right to challenge what it means to be feminine while celebrating their freedom to fully express themselves, Carolina Sarria’s DNA embodies pure elegance with a bit of a wild core.
For Fall/Winter 2015, Carolina Sarria is inspired by a dark and mysterious scientist who is taking part in an experimental tale that decides to test her own hypothesis: in this case, she is focusing on a volatile nano-metaphoric textile based on the attributes of insects. Textiles has several states: water resistance, temperature adjustment, color and pattern changes that reinforce the thought of an artificial nervous system that coincides with the materials activating particular properties. However, our scientist makes a miscalculation, and suddenly everything (including her mental state) become lethal. Enter Carolina Sarria’s Insectus Lab: where dark creatures and metallic sheen shine through.
When did you decide to create Carolina Sarria?
C: I started the brand in 2011 after graduating from the Art Institute of NY. I wanted to create a line for the strong and defiant woman, and with that, the Carolina Sarria brand was born. In early 2014, I met and partnered with Bianca Allen under my namesake line and we continue to grow and move to the next level in design together.
How has each of your heritages impacted your work?
B: Each of our heritages has impacted our work in different ways. Both of us grew up traveling and exploring the world, and we definitely use this as a big form of inspiration for our brand. Carolina was born in Colombia while I was born in Italy, so we both share different kinds of Latin roots and love to mix them into our work. She has that feisty Colombian spirit while I am definitely more of the romantic Italian, but we both use this powerful emotional energy to help us create and dive into our designs… we definitely both have a lot of fiery passion!
How would you describe the style of Carolina Sarria?
The style of Carolina Sarria is dark and mysterious, with touches of clean minimalism as well as more punk rock & roll inspired elements. We love to make our women feel strong, independent, badass and unique! From the finest leathers to state of the art technical fabrics, we strive to create a look within our brand that is one of a kind and memorable.
Clearly, sourcing your fabric choice is of high importance for you. What was the effort like to find the right materials to work with for this Fall/Winter 2015 collection? What was your favorite material to work with?
We have a fabric/material obsession! It is always a challenge to narrow down what we will use for each collection because we definitely go crazy sourcing fabrics and both of us have an expensive eye… so with every collection we get to the point that we have to tell each other “Ok stop, we’ve found what we want,” because otherwise we would never get things done!
Finding or even creating custom made fabrics for our pieces is such an amazing process, it is definitely something that sets us apart as a brand and is really a strong point of our line.
For FW15, I would say that our favorite material to work with was the cracked leather in white or the metallic silver shade that we used. It creates a beautiful, textured effect that is never overbearing and it grows with each costumer, which is what we really found beautiful. We loved the thought of each cracked piece taking shape with its customer and becoming unique and personal to their lifestyle, and how they wore the piece.
If you had to choose one piece from the Fall/Winter 2015 collection that was your favorite, what would you choose?
C: For me, my favorite pieces from FW15 are the cracked white leather jacket; I love the way you can play with it styling wise and how strong and edgy it is. I also love the plastic moto jacket and the zipped knee pants.
B: It is so hard to choose a favorite, all of them are our babies, however I think the pieces that I felt most attached to for FW15 was the plastic moto jacket and the cracked metallic oversized pants.
The both of you have an electrifying synergy amongst yourselves. When you create, does the process evolve or is it more planned?
It is definitely an evolving process between the two of us. We usually just start brainstorming and throwing out ideas, and when one hits the both of us, then its like a creative explosion that just keeps growing and growing.
Our design process is a combination of both our brains and all the best ideas get fused and molded together until the dust finally settles, and we know the direction and process that we will take. Its definitely a balancing act between the two of us, but we both have our different strong points that fit together perfectly.
What advice would you give young designers starting out?
Just show up, just be there, just do it. Don’t be afraid to take risks or to push the envelope, and most importantly never forget that your greatest strength is yourself and your creativity.
Being a designer is hard work, and it is a crazy process! Some days you will think, What the f^#* am I doing, and the next day you will see your piece on an amazing shoot or being worn by a celebrity that you admire, or even just randomly on someone walking down the street… and that’s when the drug hits you and the addiction kicks in, and when the whole process makes sense. It is a passion truly held by few, and admired by many, but no one will ever get anywhere if they are too afraid to try.
What are the risks that you are willing to take in the future?
There are always new risks that we are willing to take. The main being to continue to push our boundaries in terms of ideas, technical process, creation and experimentation.
We are constantly on the search to work with new talent and love to mix our designs into as many different creative fields as possible. Both of us constantly need to feel stimulated and inspired to continue to work productively so… you will always be seeing something new and exciting from the CS brand.
What does Carolina Sarria as a brand hope to contribute to the future of emerging fashion?
We hope to bring back the art of true design appreciation and creativity.
There are so many brands and designers nowadays and the whole fashion world has become very overwhelming, so its very hard to truly sit down and enjoy something when you are constantly being force fed 10 other ideas.
We hope to get away from that and bring back the interaction between designer and client/editors/stylists. We love to create true connections with the people that we work with and want to keep the CS brand authentic and unique.