Kinga Krol is an 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, she also creates customized bags:
A TALK WITH KINGA KROL
When did you first realize you wanted to launch your own slow fashion label?
I launched my label back in July 2020. I was considering doing something fashion related for a while, for example, opening a vintage shop, but I never thought I would actually be designing things.
It all kinda happened by accident, with me just messing around with different materials. I started with making beaded bags, and I realised I enjoy the process a lot. I then move on into painting shoes, which I also found really enjoyable.
I was honestly doing it all as a way of expressing myself, but then my products started getting a lot of attention from the public, thanks to social media. And now not even a year later, my designs were featured in Vogue three times and I just launched my collection in New York, which is all kinda mad, but I am honestly loving it!
Do you create customizable pieces as well? There is one creation, in particular, that is very important to you?
I used to, yes, but now I kinda gave up on that. Process of making one product is extremely long and I found making customized pieces to be very limiting in a way, and not as enjoyable. So I decided to make my own designs only, because it is simply easier and just more fun for me. And I really want this to be fun, and over anything else, I want this to be a way for me to express myself, because I treat my items as little pieces of art, rather than products.
Every single one of my pieces has a special place in my heart. I try not to make doubles, so every item is unique. But if I was to pick a favourite one, I think I would choose the pink bag with a small white heart in the middle. There isn’t really a particular reason why I like this item specifically, I just had lots of fun designing it, and I love how unique it is.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before beginning your career what would it be?
Imposter syndrome is probably going to be your biggest enemy throughout the process, so don’t listen to that little voice in your head, and put yourself out there regardless.
How do you want your clients to feel when wearing your label pieces and on what occasions can be worn?
My items are just really fun and carefree, I think they kinda bring us back to the innocent time of our childhood. I want people to look at them and think of joy, I want my clients to just have fun with it. I think my products can be worn anywhere, they can brighten up any outfit.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for a designer in the slow fashion industry?
Fast fashion is my biggest enemy. Any fast fashion label has their own design of a beaded bag, that is 4 times cheaper than my bags. My job is to convince my clients that my products are worth investing for, rather than choosing fast fashion items.
The reason my products are more expensive, it’s because they are ethically made by me. The quality is simply better because I put a lot of attention and time into the whole process. I also source my materials in a sustainable way, mostly from second hand products, there is a lot of time spent researching and looking for the best options. Meanwhile items offered by the fast fashion labels are definitely not made in a way that is as ethical or sustainable. In fact, by supporting these brands, customers are not aware that they are really contributing to a bigger problem.
Also, like I mentioned, my products are unique pieces, and I do treat them as little works of art. If you purchase something from a fast fashion label, someone else will definitely own that product too. If you decide to buy something from me, you are not only buying a bag or a pair of shoes, you are investing in a unique item that literally no one else owns, which I personally think it’s kinda cool.
There is one important person in your life, who pushes and motivates you to believe in yourself?
I think I am super lucky, because I do have a lot of amazing people in my life. My family really supports me, and I have a big group of incredible friends. My connections with people are the most important for me, honestly I don’t really care about anything else. So I don’t think I can pick one person really. Obviously I love my mum, my mum is great, mums are the best, but yeah I think in the bigger picture, I am just super lucky to have a lot of extremely loving and genuine people in my life, and I appreciate every single one of them greatly.
Describe us as creative in your personal life and how your feelings influence the creativity process?
I think I am just a very optimistic, energetic person that just loves to have fun. I love spending time and really connecting with people, and I am extremely extroverted, I am basically a golden retriever. So yeah I think that is pretty much also the vibe you get from my work. Just really colourful, energetic, literally in your face. What you see is what you get, but I am kinda unapologetic about it. I started making my items during lockdown, when things weren’t easy for all of us, in one way or another. So I am glad I could make something colourful and joyful, during that difficult period.
Would you like to involve other creatives in your future projects and what do you think is the main mission of the CO-BRANDING concept?
I would absolutely love to! I love working with other creatives that have a similar mindset, I find that extremely rewarding. I am always happy to hear about new concepts and ideas, and I think incredible things can be born out of these collaborations.
We know you launched your collection recently with Flying Solo in New York City. What are the next steps for your label, in order to grow up more?
I got a lot of ideas! Too many tbf. I am thinking of collaborating with other shops, and creatives, introducing new products, and running events. But I know I need to take things slowly, not to overwhelm myself with all these concepts. So I am taking things step by step, and trying to enjoy the process and celebrate little achievements on the way. But I am definitely very excited to see what is going to happen and where this adventure is going to take me.