By: Kandice Che
Designer Kika Vargas is here to deliver a feel-good fashion moment with her new, exclusive baby and kids' capsule collection. Taking inspiration from the new normal of working from home, an added emphasis on comfort and extra time with her two kids during lockdown, Vargas went all in on a mood-boosting lineup of designs. The result: a collection reflective of her signature feminine aesthetic that seamlessly fits into the way we now live, work and dress ourselves and our little ones. Here, she discusses her inspiration behind the collection, these ever-changing times and her hopes for the year ahead.
Walk us through your childhood. How do you think your upbringing shaped your point of view as a designer?
I knew I wanted to be a designer ever since I was a little girl and I was always very interested in the arts. My parents are also great art enthusiasts, collectors and gallery owners, so I have always been surrounded by art. Their guidance has been a huge influence in who I am as a designer; every holiday, vacation and break would include museum visits, galleries or ballets. My dad knew how to get us interested and stay motivated in the arts from a very young age, even with all those long museum visits. For example, he would buy postcards at the museum gift shop and we would have to identify the works—it's still one of my favorite games! My mother has a great eye for decorating. She is very bold and has a genius sense for color. Each house she has designed or decorated—whether it's in Miami, New York, Cartagena, Bogotá—has a unique spirit on its own. I think as a result, one of my biggest inspirations is architecture and interior design.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your exclusive baby and kids' capsule collection.
Working from home has been a great experience and one I am definitely going to adopt moving forward. I liked not having so much chaos and interruption. I found it easier to concentrate and was very thankful for the moments with my kids. I know that at least some part of my creative process will be done from home from now on. Whether we will be going out or staying home in the upcoming months, I think it was really important to have that experience to be able to translate it into the collection.
I, for one, found the extra time at home very useful and was able to dedicate a lot of it to drawing all the prints for the collection. We created a fun print to make the message positive, and we introduced really beautiful cottons to make it comfortable while maintaining the richness and beauty of the design. Architecture and volume are a part of my heart and soul, and it is my way of translating it into the clothes.
I strongly believe that dressing up is as crucial and important as eating and breathing, so I wanted to focus on a collection that will empower you and make you feel beautiful. I think clothes give you courage, and the things that you put on your body are a form of protection. So, we wanted to have a beautiful, very polished and well put together look that would be comfortable to stay at home in.
Why was it important for you to create a line with matching mother-daughter styles?
We had been talking about a children's line for quite some time. When the pandemic hit, one of the biggest things I am grateful for is having the possibility to spend more time with my two babies. So, I think this pushed the idea forward even faster and we started working on making it happen. I do not have baby girls. I play with cars and motorcycles and most of the time get punched instead of kissed, ha! But I remember looking up to my mom when I was little, watching how she would get dressed up, and always dreamed of being just like her, dressing up like her, looking as beautiful as she always did—and still does! That dream is a part of me, and it is what I try to bring into every collection.
What was your favorite part about designing this collection?
Drawing and painting truly make me happy, so naturally I loved drawing and making the prints for this collection. It's a great way to make the collection more unique and special, and that's something I will always strive to do.
For many of us, 2020 was a time for reflection. What's your current mindset? What's driving you?
Twenty twenty has been a really tough year for all, but at the same time it has brought great lessons. I truly believe we are a much stronger team today than we were just a year ago. There have been many tears along the way and hard decisions to make, but looking back, every single decision was good for the team, the KV family and the grander scheme of things.
This pandemic has made us work harder on our mission to work with the planet. As a mother, as a designer and as a leader, it's my joy to be able to bring forward alternative ways of doing things that will be less impactful to the planet. We are always talking about what steps we are going to take to ensure we are moving in the right direction toward a more conscious and sustainable brand. With this pandemic, we have focused our energy to sourcing locally, which is a complete challenge on its own. Our previous way of working required us to bring all the material from Europe to Colombia, have it manufactured in Colombia and then exported out again, and this process did not translate anymore. So, it's been very rewarding to look into Colombia as a source of material. Going forward, mixing materials and sourcing locally will be a crucial part of every collection and a part of the brand, so we can have a more unique and sustainable approach.
What are some lessons you are bringing into 2021 with you? What are you leaving behind?
There are many ways to make your dream work. We've all had to alter, change, disrupt our way of doing things at Kika Vargas, which have all been positive changes that have made us stronger, quicker and more efficient. I would say that I am leaving behind the preconceived notion of how things have to be and how they have to be done and keeping an open mind to make it work.
What's next for Kika Vargas—as a person, designer and brand?
Building the KV team! Without a strong team there is no dream. Every day we are growing as a family. We have such wonderful people on our team, and it is such a joy and blessing to see it grow! This is the reason why we have been able to expand the brand—now it will be kids, but hopefully we will expand through different categories soon. Being able to explore and create is my biggest fuel, and creating a Kika Vargas world is my biggest dream!