Karol B Post-Apocalyptic Fashion Designer Interview
Interview by: Geek Girl Mistress Zelda|
Zelda interviewed post-apocalyptic fashion designer Karol Bartoszynski aka Karol B about his badass work...
Q: What inspired you to start working in leather, and where did you learn the skills to do so?
A: Thatís easy. I started working with leather after I watched The Road Warrior (Mad Max 2) as a teen and ended up becoming an obsessed Mad Max fan. I already loved dressing up for Halloween, but becoming a Mad Max fanatic really pushed me into tinkering with more costuming throughout the year, which was really the thing that got me into the costume-making hobby, and eventually into designing my own fashions.
Q: What does your process look like, from concept to completed product?
A: It usually starts with an idea and a sketch, but I like to give myself plenty of leeway to design as I sew. Iíll draft a pattern, and then assemble the prototype. As I piece the garment together, I feel like Iím in a better position to see what itís going to look like in real life, on a person or a mannequin. So thatís often when Iíll try to place decorative elements. Once the prototype is finished, I sometimes discover that there are a few things in the pattern that I would like to adjust, so I ether do that or I have it done by a professional pattern maker, who then grades the pattern (creates all sizes from the original pattern).
Before production can begin, though, thereís an unexpectedly challenging part, which is sourcing all the materials. You have to find your fabrics in the right colors and weights, and also find your hardware in the right finish, and sometimes that can affect the final look of the garment. There can be dozens of various materials used in one garment, and you have to make sure you order them in just the right quantities. Too few, and it can shut production down to a halt. Too many, and you are wasting money and materials.
I have a guy here locally in Los Angeles that does my production sewing. So Iíll provide the pattern and my prototype and heíll create a sample. If everything looks good, we proceed with more.
Q: Tell us about some of your inspiration for the pieces you make Ė artists, genres, film or game franchises.
A: The post-apocalyptic genre I think will always be pretty core to what I am doing with my brand. Itís really kind of a mix of vintage military stuff, and alternative fashion. The Fallout video games and the Mad Max movies will always be an influence. There are a number of fellow costume/fashion artists that always provide inspiration. Junker Designs is a huge one. There are also a lot of small ones like SceneSick, and a lot of post-apocalyptic costume makers in Germany like Nuclear Snail studios and the Wasteland Warriors. And of course lots to see on Pinterest.
I think at the end of the day, though, Iím always going to come back to the late Norma Moriceau as my biggest inspiration. She was the one that designed the costumes for The Road Warrior and Mad Max beyond Thunderdome. People remember her for her punk & bondage leathers and football pads, but there was also a lot of international flavor in her work. She was an avid world traveler and collector, and you can see a lot of regional traditional dress and primitive, tribal touches mixed in with all the black leather and metal. I think youíre going to see me go back and forth between the two quite a bit.
Q: What kind of customer do you have in mind when designing your pieces?
A: I would say Iím mostly designing with post-apocalyptic fans, and alternative fashion fans in mind. I think industrial music, and its subculture, mesh particularly well with the post-apocalyptic genre, and I still feel inspired to continue to explore that destroyed and/or futuristic black-on-black style. Iíd love to do some stage wear.
As one of the founders of Wasteland Weekend, itís always fun to get opinions and ideas from fellow wastelanders, and to be able to provide apparel and accessories to attendees of the worldís largest post-apocalyptic festival.
Q: What is your favorite part about doing what you do?
A: My favorite part is the freedom to be creative. I think thatís what any creative person desires Ė the ability to put his/her visions into reality. Iím barely there, but itís also been nice to have the independence of not working for other people and doing what I want.
Q: When can fans go to follow more of your work, and what new things can they expect in the future?
A: Fans can sign up for my mailing list on my website, karolb.com, or they can follow me on Facebook, or Instagram.
Fans can expect a lot of new things in the future. Iíve got a lot of ideas in development. They can expect a lot more jackets and vests, in both menís & womenís cuts. I have a dress in the works. I want to do pants. And of course, lots of fun, unique accessories.
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November 26 2017