Beyond the Brand: The Line By K
Beyond the Brand aims to allow readers to be introduced to the designers and creative directors that are behind fashion's most-daring and radiant brands. This interview will introduce you to Karla Deras, the mastermind and namesake 'K' behind the Instagram-beloved brand, The Line By K.
What’s your fashion story? Was it along the lines of “I knew I wanted to be a designer since I was five,” something unexpected life threw your way, or somewhere in the middle?
Karla: It all began with my blog that I started back in 2008 as an outlet for my love of fashion and art. I actually wanted to be a singer and I was signed to Geffen Records as a teenager, but then I had a dance injury that changed my career trajectory. Back then blogs were super popular, so, inspired by The Sartorialist and Susie Bubble, I started posting photos of my outfits and moodboards and eventually internet word-of-mouth got a readership going. I loved customizing vintage pieces, cutting, twisting, tying Hanes ribbed tanks, so after running Karla’s Closet for a few years, I decided to start The Line by K so that I could share my designs with others.
We understand you’re on maternity leave right now (congratulations!), but can you tell us a little bit about how the typical day in the atelier/studio goes?
Karla: Thank you so much! While I was in the office, a typical day started at 9:00 am and ended at 9:00 pm. I focused on production at our warehouse for the majority of my day- everything from reviewing and revising patterns to overseeing the QC team. Now that I’m out for my maternity leave, my brother is working closely with our production team and is in constant communication with our factory which allows me to concentrate more on design.
How many people are on your team, and how many hats do you wear?
Karla: We have under ten people currently, but we’re definitely looking to expand as our growth is demanding that we also grow our team! Lately I’ve tried to focus strictly on design and anything to do with the creative aspect of the brand which is not something I typically have the luxury of doing as we are a small team. My brother is the COO and handles all the daily operations which I am extremely grateful for. He works so hard to get it all done and I honestly don’t know how he does it.
Some of our customers I’m sure are familiar with how far in advance fashion works, but to give them an idea, as of right now (November 2020) what season are you working on and designing?
Karla: I’m constantly drafting up new designs and many of the times I’m not creating with a particular collection or season in mind. I love to create pieces based on a feeling or where a woman can wear that particular design- a coffee run with her partner, working from home, a walk around the block with her kids, a movie date, a staycation, or a work meeting. I think women want unfussy clothes; clothes you can wear with other things you already own, so I try to keep that in mind when I’m designing. We group pieces together as collections for the sake of the buying calendar, however we are trying to move towards collections that have no seasonality and can be worn year round. You can buy less that way and re-wear the core essentials for various occasions and style them in different ways.
How would you describe the wearer of The Line by K?
Karla: I always design for the woman who executes life with a sense of fearlessness that only comes from knowing who you are. Women who exude a subtle not-in-your-face confidence. Those women are my muses.
Your Daisy Pant & Cardigan blew up this Spring; what was having a “viral” design like?
Karla: I honestly didn’t even realize it was viral! I’m so happy The Daisy set has had the success it has. Sometimes you come up with a design and you feel like it’s going to do so well and it ends up taking a season or two for people to understand it and feel comfortable owning it. Other times you create something on a whim and people respond to it immediately. It is just one of those things I haven’t quite figured out yet!
What is your ultimate goal for the brand?
Karla: Our goal is always to keep growing, keep expanding our knowledge, keep refining our skill sets, keep creating unique essentials, and we always want to keep elevating one another as teammates. I think when you focus on becoming better at what you do, rather than what you’re actually accomplishing and if you have a little bit of faith, God will handle the rest.
What is your typical daily uniform?
Karla: I used to only wear heels, but that’s changed ever since I became pregnant. Lately my uniform is some sort of jersey or ribbed top that is easy to throw on (like the Zane top), a pair of super oversized men’s trousers, and Nike Daybreaks.
How do you unwind after a busy day in the studio?
Karla: Before I had my baby, I’d unwind by making myself a bowl of frozen berries and coconut milk and enjoying it while taking a long bath. I haven’t gone back to the office yet since my maternity leave, but I’m sure the end of my days will look a lot different now that I’m a mother!