We're heading back to Karen's hometown to learn about the place that inspired her Spring collection.
Located on a beautiful stretch of California's central coastline, Santa Barbara brings together the Golden State's Spanish influence, laid-back vibe, and stylish sensibility in a way few places can. "The American Riviera," is well-known for its broad, sandy beaches, rustic hillsides, world-class wineries, cozy cafes, casual taquerias, and elegant restaurants. Karen grew up in Santa Barbara; today, she has a family home there, where her sister, sons, grandchildren, nieces, and friends, often get together.
Santa Barbara always has, and always will play a major influence in the way she designs her clothes.
When she was nine-years old, Karen's parents packed up all of their family belongings and moved across country.
They left the small town of Barberton, Ohio, not knowing where they would end up.
Her parents had a single goal: to move somewhere with warmer weather. 2,500 miles later, they found their new home.
Frame against the glow of the Pacific coastline, Santa Barbara's 'Mesa' neighborhood became Karen's new home. Her mom worked at a bank and her dad made his way by building homes for residents moving to California. Encouraged by her parents, Karen pursued her passion for clothing - first by making outfits for her dolls, then by learning how to use a sewing machines, and finally by making her own dresses for school dances. After noticing her talents, Karen's instructors encouraged her to enter a state-wide fashion competition.
After some reluctance, she applied... and won.
After graduating high school, Karen move to Los Angeles and enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. Her fashion path continued after graduation, when she married her husband, Lonnie, and they decided to start their own company. Even though her brand is based in Los Angeles,
she still considers Santa Barbara her true home, and the main source of inspiration for her style.
Santa Barbara is incredibly unique. Its comfortable climate is often described as 'Mediterranean,' and the city has become known as 'American Riviera.' With over 300 days of sunshine each year, much of life in Santa Barbara takes place outside. At the beach, volleyball, surfing, and paddle-boarding are beloved local hobbies.
Just off coast, you can find the Channel Islands National Park. Each of these islands boast immense levels of ecological diversity, both above ground and under the sea.
The protected waters surrounding these islands offer some of the best diving in California, with unparalleled opportunities to spot sunbathing sea lions, pods of dolphins,
and migrating whales. When Karen was in high school, her science teachers suggested she become a marine biologist because of her
attention to detail and love of the ocean - thankfully for us, she fell in love with making clothes instead.