Carolina Kleinman first launched her brand more than 15 years ago, and since then, she has remained as ethically minded and wanderlust inspired as ever. In keeping with that slow, mindful approach, Carolina K is launching its first ceramics collection—adding onto its arsenal of sustainably made ready-to-wear, swim, accessories, and home decor.
Handcrafted by a group of 21 artisan partners in Colombia, the ceramics collection includes a series of plates, bowls, and vases featuring hand-painted illustrations with feminine touches like floral patterns and peacocks, which symbolize integrity and strength, and are a nod to the designer’s ready-to-wear pieces.
The collection retails from $50 to $185, launches today online at carolinak.com, and will be made to order. Below Kleinman gets candid on expansion, slow fashion, and the rich inspiration to be found in Latin America.
You first launched home in 2014. Why expand it now?
Ceramics have been something I’ve been wanting to do for quite some time. With so much going on up until last year, I unfortunately never had the time to shift my focus to creating more home pieces. With most of humanity spending their time at home during the last year, myself included, I realized that I really wanted to create more meaningful home pieces. It was the perfect timing for my artisanal-created ceramic pieces to come to life. Each piece is durable, designed to be used every day at home, and can be passed down to future generations.
You’ve always had an emphasis on sustainability. Why is that so important to you and intrinsic to the brand?
I always wanted to do something meaningful when I knew I wanted to create a brand. Back then, I didn’t even think of the word sustainability, it was more about preserving heritage and artisanal techniques while working with women and men from different cultures to create pieces of art. I wanted the pieces I created to have a story and reason to be made, while having a social and economic impact on people’s lives. This fulfilled my life and gave me purpose as a designer.
What was the inspiration for the design of the ceramics?
I love art in all forms and have long dreamed of including ceramics as part of my universe. Each piece includes hand-painted illustrations ranging from floral patterns to peacocks, which symbolize integrity and strength. These designs were adapted from my original prints seen throughout my ready-to-wear collections.
How does working with local communities to create these and other pieces impact them?
I’ve been working with artisanal communities since 2006, when I made it my mission to support them year round. It is my passion to work with them, ensure their cultures are represented and their artisanal techniques are preserved. It has been a hard year for the fashion industry, but especially for these small artisan groups. Working on this project through the pandemic has brought me happiness and given me even more reasons to continue on this path.
Why is keeping the work of artisans alive so important?
The artisans create pieces of art through ancient, ancestral techniques. Each community’s culture is so unique, and it’s important to ensure that their heritage is preserved. Everything today is automated and rooted in technology, so it’s important to keep these traditional methods of creation alive. It is so valuable and important to continue to support communities and small family businesses. I’m such an admirer of anything handmade. There is always a story and meaning behind every piece.
Will there be more housewares coming?
Yes, along with our wallpaper collection, which will be launching very soon, we are working on a new homewares line. There will be a lot more pieces in the making including the expansion of our textile line of linens and placements, a bedding line, and a lot more to make for Carolina K Home.
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