KA•LU: A Journey, not a Destination
By: Hiwote Berhanu
There is a saying “Life is a succession of moments, to live each one is to succeed.” As a fashion stylist, I am so inspired by the talented designer Kalkidan Gebreyohannes. Juggling family and a rapidly rising fashion career, Kalkidan is an upcoming designer to look out for in 2015. Growing up Toronto, Gebreyohannes was exposed to the arts at a very young age, including training in ballet and dance. Kalkidan would later move to California and start a family, however her passion for creativity followed her into motherhood. In 2014 Kalkidan launched KA•LU, a luxury bag line that caters to everyone, from the sophisticated businesswoman to the soccer mom. I had the chance to get to speak to Kalkidan about her debut collection, Le Reve.
HabeshaLA: Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
Kalkidan: I have always been someone who needed to create, specifically in the arts. Whether it was dance, theatre, writing, makeup artistry or fashion, the process of imagining something and then visually seeing it come to life is very liberating to me. I never went to school for design but I compare to someone who can sing really well but never took a day of vocal lessons. Some things are just gifts and I believe this is mine. Sharing it with the world was just the last piece of the puzzle.
HLA: What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
Kalkidan: It’s funny because I don’t really focus on being a fashion designer, but more so an artistic and creative person. What I love most about it is the freedom that comes with exploring and creating from the pool of ideas in my mind then seeing my ideas come to life, that is the part that is absolutely mind-blowing to me and never gets old.
HLA: What were your inspirations for the designs for Le Reve 2014?
Kalkidan: This is a hard question for me to answer because my inspirations are highly influenced by any given moment or thing. I am inspired by emotion, by the weather, but the constant is always women! The truth is my brain is always thinking and pushing so I just roll with it…
HLA: I know your selective when it comes to manufacturing your products, how did you select the materials you used?
Kalkidan: I chosoe materials by their quality, their texture, and their timelessness. I also love incorporating a bold material to give it a stand-out factor. With Le Rève collection, I wanted classic colors with bold textures as well as exotic materials. Once I picked the materials, I have either my production manager or leather specialist handpick the hides and skins to ensure the very best quality and selection.
HLA: What are your plans for the future?
Kalkidan: My plans for the future include creating and exploring more of these ideas in my head [laughs]. I’m planning on adding belts and other accessories which I can’t really go into a lot of detail about. Also dresses! The dress thing just came up recently so you may be seeing a KA•LU dress popping up soon, will have to change my mission statement soon from luxury handbags to whatever my heart and brain conjure up.