Since her first post for Karla’s Closet nearly nine years ago, Karla Deras has shared with us her love of art, travel, and fashion one makeshift crop top at a time. Over the years, the California native has perfected a body-hugging, fabric-draping personal style that continues to mesmerize each and every one of her followers. With an obvious demand to replicate the simplicity of her sultry style, last year, Karla launched The Line by K, a collection of downright sexy silhouettes in softer-than-soft fabrics. Since its drop, the label has been rocked by some of the coolest girls in the game–Kim Kardashian, Aleali May, and Kehlani to name a few. Karla is all about highlighting women of all shapes and races, and encouraging them to look and feel their baddest. Take a step into her LA office, and find out what inspires the woman who can slay like no one else.
Let’s take it back a bit – how did the idea for The Line by K come about?
I used to design samples with my tailored clothes, and I felt my wardrobe was missing something. One day, I just decided that I wanted to share all of my design ideas with other women.
How do you select the women who model and represent your brand?
I want to make sure we always showcase diversity in the female figure through our imagery. We like to photograph girls who embody what "cool" means to us. Girls of different ethnicities, girls with big boobs, with no boobs, a size 0, size 6, size 12.
The Line by K designs have a nostalgic but modern 90s R&B/hip hop feel to them. What goes into your design and inspiration process?
I look at thousands of images a week - from 1960s architecture to Cecily Brown and vintage editorials. I feel as though all of that visual inspiration lives inside my brain, so my designs are simply a compilation of abstract inspirations. I don't know how to sketch, so with the help of my amazing pattern maker, I am able to translate my ideas into reality.
When it comes to style blogs, you were one of the first. How do you think Karla’s Closet remains different from the rest?
To be honest, I don't feel like I fit the blogger mold- I never sat front row at NYFW, and I wasn't the best at photographing every moment of my life. Not fitting the blogger mold came with its consequences, but I was okay with it, because it has always been more important to remain true to my vision than to chase popularity.
When a customer receives their order, they’ll find this saying on the hangtag: “I made this for you to feel sexy and strong at all times.” Along with sexy and strong, what are some other qualities The Line by K girl possesses?
The Line by K is for cool girls. Cool girls who are fearless, courageous and beautiful. They do what they want, when they want. They're unapologetic, and what others think of them doesn't matter. If they want to grab coffee wearing a thin tank top and no bra, that's exactly what they’ll do.
“Not fitting the blogger mold came with its consequences, but I was okay with it, because it has always been more important to remain true to my vision than to chase popularity."
There’s a strong presence of art on the brand's Instagram. Which artists and what aesthetics are you drawn to?
I love Cecily Brown, Egon Schiele, Wayan Sudarsana, Joan Mitchell and De Kooning to name a few. I'm drawn to modern art mostly; expressionism and abstract expressionism.
If you made a playlist that embodies the brand, what 5 songs would you choose?
Beautiful by Damien Marley, Independent Women by Destiny's Child, PYT by Michael Jackson, Love Don't Cost a Thing by JLo and Grown Woman by Beyoncé.
Your personal style has always stayed true through the years, be it your color palette or the way you style your outfits. How would you define the way you dress, and who are your personal style muses?
I dress according to a mood or a visual reference I want to channel - whether it be a Helmut Newton photo, or a cheesy 90s film. I don't have any particular style muses, I just love women who have a very distinct look and carry it effortlessly.
What’s next for The Line by K? Any styles you’d love to reinvent and make fresh again?
We'll continue creating elevated basics, but also expand the TLK collection which consists of more exclusive, detailed designs: tap shorts made in heavy satins, silk jersey bodysuits, and lurex two-piece sets for the holidays.
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is a positive place for women to share their visions, inspirations, and passions.
Photos by: Laura Pierce