Karla Deras: We Create Who We Are

Screen Shot 2019-03-08 at 2.19.14 PM.png

while many of us struggle with our identities, karla deras reminds us that who we are and who we become is a choice.

It’s a choice, and then it’s a lot of hard work to follow. But the fun part is that we get to decide at all.

I first came across fashion blogger turned fashion designer and creative director Karla Deras’ Instagram about 4 years back, and I was immediately captivated by her aura. For starters, she has a perfect pout and a sultry face, but the second she smiles she can light up a room. She somehow exudes a perfect balance of mystery and vulnerability, leaping back and forth between sexy siren and adorable girl next door seamlessly. And then of course there’s her sense of style. Her unique take on her personal fashion has garnered her almost 150,000 faithful, adoring followers who are just as captivated as I every time she gives us a glimpse into her life with a post.

From reading this, some of you probably think I have a bit of a girl crush on her, and you’re probably right. But there are 2 things that have always fascinated me most about Karla:

1. She’s never been overly attached to social media.
2. She is who she is and she doesn’t need our validation.

She doesn’t let social media dictate her moves, affect her decision-making processes on a personal level, or make her question her appearance, voice, or disposition. Although she’s an influencer, she doesn’t need to post every day. While she’s beginning to share a few vlogs on Youtube here and there, she’s never really shared her everyday personal life on Instagram stories, probably because she hasn’t felt the need to. Her relationship with social media would never come between her interpersonal IRL (In Real Life) relationships, which we all sadly know actually happens sometimes these days. It’s hard to come by people who strictly use social media as a tool without allowing it to rule over them — Karla does exactly that.

But most importantly, she never feels the need to ask for permission to be who she is. She is fearlessly and unapologetically herself and maneuvers effortlessly through the could-be stuffy “influencer” and “creative director/designer” life with grace and class. And that — despite her stunning good looks and ridiculously hot bod — is the absolute best thing about her.

To top all that off, her confidence inspires confidence in others. Empowered women empower women” is an absolutely true statement. Through her brand, The Line By K, she celebrates women of all skin tones, body types, and ethnic backgrounds. She embraces the effortless women, the IDGAF women, the women who embody what she embodies:

A deep-seated love and appreciation of oneself, in all forms.

For our final Week of Women feature in celebration of International Women’s Day, we got to chat with Karla about her design process, her inspirations, her thoughts on self-love, and her belief that we are who we make ourselves to be.

Photos by Karla Deras

Q - You started off as a fashion blogger, what made you decide to start your blog? Did you always have a love for fashion?  

A - I started my blog back in 2008 as an outlet for my love of fashion and art. I actually wanted to be a singer, but I had a dance injury that changed my career trajectory. I was posting photo of my outfits and mood boards, I was sort of just talking to myself and then internet word-of-mouth got a readership going. 

Q - What made you decide to make the transition into creating a fashion line of your own? Was it a hard transition?

A - I was customizing vintage pieces and designing samples for myself and I figured “why not share that with other women.” So with no official business plan, no internships under my belt, and very little knowledge about the clothing industry- just the determination to build something from the ground up, I launched the Line by K.

Q - When you design your pieces, who do you have in mind and what inspires you? What do you believe a Line By K woman embodies?

A - I don’t necessarily have a muse in mind when I design- most of my ideas and designs come from an abstract form of inspiration: anything from the way a mood was captured in a photograph to the color composition of Joan Mitchell painting.  I am also super inspired by women who do what they want without asking for permission or validity. 

To me The Line by K woman lives fearlessly because as I always say — confidence can be faked, but  you cannot fake fearlessness. 

Q - What is your process when designing clothes, and what are some of the things you take into consideration?

A - I think women nowadays want unfussy clothes. Things that you can wear with the other things you own. I try to keep that in mind when designing. I’ll do a quick sketch of my ideas on paper to then translate in CADs. I work closely with my brother and father who help source textiles for our collections. 

Q - What are some of your favorite fabrics to wear and to work with, and why?

A - I love rayon — it has a very soft feel and skims the body beautifully. I love to use rayon twill for anything cut on bias. Also, some forms of rayon are produced from wood and are considered sustainable. 

Q - We love how you celebrate all women — all styles, ages, shapes, sizes, skin tones — with the Line By K, how do you go about selecting the faces of your brand? 

A - I like women who don’t try too hard. Disheveled hair and light makeup. Ultimately I love shooting women who don’t shy away from who they are. 

Q - We know you’re all about loving the skin you’re in -- what are your thoughts on self-love and embracing yourself? Do you have any tips for practicing self-love?

A - We create who we are and we have the power to decide what we allow and do not allow into our minds and bodies.  Loving yourself means you make the decision every morning to be kind to yourself and to others, to be thankful that the creator of the universe gave you a new day (a new lesson to learn),  to treat your body with care, and to acknowledge the good things and the things that need some work and be willing to work daily on refining your being. 

Photos for The Line By K

Q - We noticed that even though you’re a social media influencer, you don’t feel the need to post every day, and we like that balance of sharing and privacy. What are your thoughts on that balance?

A -I think balance is the key to everything in life!

Q - What are your thoughts on social media as a tool for both individuals and businesses? What are your thoughts on the good, the bad, and the ugly of social media?

A - If I didn’t have a business to run (which is actually the beneficial part of Instagram’s existence — being able engage with your demo and generate sales without an actual storefront), I would not be on Instagram.

People only show the best parts of their lives on Instagram and as my brother says, it’s damaging.  

Q - Can you tell us about a negative experience derived from social media, and then a positive experience?

A - The positive: There are plenty of really great food accounts that post healthy desserts and easy-to-make paleo recipes and also a lot of fitness accounts that post really good, challenging workouts. The negative:  What you see is not always real. 

Q - Your body is a dream, major props to you because we know you work hard at it! Can you share some of your best secrets to keeping in shape and staying healthy?

A - There’s really no secret! It’s just about finding what works for your body, developing a balanced way of eating, and staying disciplined. You make time for the things you care about! 

Q - Do you have any advice any of our readers looking into starting a business of their own?

A - If you’re going to create something that grows with value over time, you have to do the hard work! You can’t achieve what you long to achieve if you don’t make the hard decision of sacrificing conveniences and comfort.

Q - Who are the 5 people (dead or alive) that you would invite to your dinner party?

A - Jesus, my husband, Miuccia Prada, Erwin McManus, and my grandma who passed when I was 3-years-old. 

To do a little bit of your own internet stalking of the lovely Karla, follow her on Instagram @karla_deras, and check out her clothing line The Line By K.