There are very few designers who instantly excite us with their vision & London-based lifestyle brand Kalmar did just that. Envisioned by the uber talented Karen Ruimy, Kalmar was established in 2016 with the idea to bring together sensuality, spirituality & well-being into a label. Whether it’s Karen’s signature printed kaftans or refreshing fragrances, each element of the collection is well-thought out & brings out a deeper message. Intrigued by Kalmar‘s dedication to well-being & art, we sat down with design maestro Karen to discuss her journey, the brand & her many sources of inspiration.
THE KALMAR JOURNEY
Karen: I wanted to create a label all about wellbeing and beauty.
I am a spiritual writer and dancer and I drive my life through the desire to always find harmony. I believe it is through a path of self-discovery, of self-care and finding the harmony between you, life and others. Therefore, I created scents to inspire and help people to align to blissful energies such as peace, joy, calmness and love. I created different products for the body to allow and encourage rituals of wellbeing. To accompany these products I always wanted to create beautiful and sensual resort wear, because I believe that when you wear a beautiful kaftan or dress with a sensual cut and fabric, the feeling of wellbeing is enhanced. You feel in harmony and it is in this space that you are beautiful. Beauty comes from that state of being in accord with yourself in your mind, body and soul.
From there the collections developed a lot. We found ourselves enjoying creating new prints for each new collection and the brand really developed on the fashion side.
It has been a wonderful creative journey. The scented body products are scheduled to be released in the market in Autumn. And we cannot wait as it will complement the full definition and message of Kalmar which is, in its essence, a lifestyle brand.
THE MANY SOURCES OF INSPIRATION
Karen: Everything I create is based on an intuitive journey. I am an art lover so I will find one or two pieces that have struck my attention and appeal for the start of the development of the new prints. Like Matisse for the palm print of the first collection, or the Berber culture for their graphic designs for our black and white print.
Therefore it can be contemporary or tribal art that is very dear to me too. Morocco is always a great inspiration for me in terms of colours, shapes, smells, way of living … I am lucky to be born in such a rich culture. When you travel there it is like being immersed in millions of ideas.
THE IMPACT OF DIGITAL MEDIA
Karen: Our world has become digital. We spend so much time watching images of art & fashion. It is great to be inspired by so many things. On the other hand it is a formidable access to the market. As a new brand we have much more potential to be seen and have access to the consumers, talk about the brand, communicate about our creations, ethos and ideas.
A USUAL DAY IN KAREN’S LIFE
Karen: I wake up and open my yoga mat, have a 30 minute yoga practice, then I meditate for some time, depending on my schedule. Then I have my breakfast and start writing. Then I usually have a class of flamenco or I start the day with Kalmar. I love to spend time with the creative team in the studio creating the next prints or the next styles. Such an amazing moment! The day at Kalmar is never boring as we jump from the creative to the business meetings with Debbie our MD; from the creation of the collection to the creation of our scented products.
THE FAVOURITE KALMAR STYLING TECHNIQUE
Karen: Kalmar creates pieces that will fit who you are. You can create your own style with a Kalmar kaftan.
I love wearing the kaftans with great belts and strong costume jewellery. And I love the jewellery we have created with a great designer. The last collection was inspired by the Moroccan habit to be protected from the evil eye.
THE INSIDER TIP FOR ASPIRING DESIGNERS
Karen: From my short experience in fashion but longer as an artist, I think the most important thing is to have a strong identity, to believe and build a brand that has a recognisable character.
The most important thing in anything you do is always to enjoy what you do, and create from your heart.