Ever wondered what to do with your old jeans? As a 'slow fashion' pioneer, Karen Lukacs harnesses over 20 years of vintage textile design experience to embody the role of maker-activist. Her body of work merges art, design, and handcraft—while elevating fashion to an act of advocacy.
Read on for an interview with Karen Lukacs of Karen Lukacs Studio, who took part in the Crafting your Brand course and now runs her own textiles business.
Karen, tell us a bit about your business. When did you first know you wanted to create the brand?
I am a designer/maker with a passion for textiles. My current work focuses on remaking discarded denim garments into artisanal fashion. The notion of a brand wasn’t a consideration until a solo exhibition of my work put me in front of a larger audience. A subsequent gallery opportunity spurred more requests, and I began making inventory to sell. It was then that the business aspect developed, and the brand began to take shape.
What influences you and how did you find your style?
The rugged beauty of my desert environment and architecture designed to harmoniously coexist with this landscape never cease to inspire. Working at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater was definitely where I found my style: materials inspired, clean lines, a touch of boho and an element of surprise.
What made you want to take part in the Selvedge Crafting Your Brand course?
The year of covid was opportune to take time to reflect and visualize how I wanted the next level of my studio experience to manifest. When the Selvedge Crafting Your Brand course showed up in my email box, I enrolled without hesitation. Study with Polly Leonard and Marcella Echavarria? It doesn’t get better than that for me.
What did you learn - was there an aspect that influenced you most?
I appreciated the compound effect of one assignment transitioning to the other. My intention for the course was to focus, gain clarity surrounding what had become my brand. Not only did I achieve focus, I also found clarity in my voice, something I hadn’t known was missing.
How have you developed your business since?
Pursuant to the course, I followed a singular focus through which to tell my story. A new website is in the final stages of development with a launch strategy. My work will be published in a couple regional magazines. Select vendors have committed to carrying my garments. The local university and I now collaborate on internships. As a solo artisan, these opportunities were in my vision but without an actualization strategy. I owe the instigation of this metamorphosis to my experience in the course with Polly and Marcella.
The Selvedge Crafting Your Brand intensive virtual course takes place from 8 - 12 November. Find out more and sign up here: Crafting Your Brand
Find out more about Karen and her business here: Karen Lukacs Studio
Images: Jessica Korff, Fleur de Lea Photography.