Kasia Roginska is the creative force behind KARO Swimwear (titled by combining the first two letter from her first and last names) one of the most in-demand women’s swimwear collections.
In this exclusive interview with New York Style Guide, Kasia describes her designs and discusses how she teamed up with artist Mathieu Jean in the beautifully collaborated line called “Mathieu Jean By Karo Swimwear”.
Some of her older designs were made with natural precious and semi-precious stones such as tiger eye, turquoise, fresh water pearls, amber, onyx, and many other beautiful jewels. She would hand bead the bathing suits and turn them into beautiful bathing suits. Some bikinis are made with crystals and man-made jewels as well, but each design is very unique.
She started her brand as custom-made to fit customers to the smallest detail. She is currently working with manufacturers to be able to bring some of her designs to market and place them into boutiques and stores.
Check out the interview below:
NYSG: How long have you been into fashion and swim wear?
Kasia: Swimwear I started about four years ago and I learned from my father years ago. It’s always been my passion. But, designing and creating my own – about 4 years ago. He’s always been my role model and he taught himself how to sew and I followed in his footsteps.
I went to fashion design school in Poland and when I got here, I just got really tired of people wearing the same bikinis all over the place. You know, you go to the beach and you purchase a store bathing suit and you look around and there’s woman wearing the same bikinis.
NYSG: Do you see a lot of look-alike designs?
Kasia: Yes!! Similar ideas, similar cuts and that made me to decide to do something different, you know.
NYSG: Some of your older designs featured unique fabrics such as draperies and just a very old world feel with a modern twist. You also have had a unique take on cross body swimsuits. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Kasia: It’s hard to tell you how the designing process goes. Being an artistic soul, you know. You create something and you don’t first think to yourself…”Is this practical?”
But, then you put things together and you’re like “WOW this is actually pretty cool”. It’s hard to tell. I try and combine unusual elements, unusual fabrics, something that makes it look special. Something that makes you look different from the crowd.
NYSG: Great answer. Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with in the near future? Or that you are collaborating with now?
Kasia: Well, I am collaborating with this awesome artist here and that’s why we created one of the lines.
Mathieu Jean paints amazing paintings and when I saw his art. I said “I really, really want this on the bathing suits”. So, that’s what we created. The lines called Mathieu Jean by KARO Swimwear.
We took pieces of his artwork and printed them on really cool bathing suits and to tie them all together we have cover ups that show the whole painting on them. His paintings are very tribal and very colorful, I just love his work.
NYSG: Mathieu, where do you get your inspiration from?
Mathieu: My Inspiration – A lot of travel. Definitely, from a lot of travel.
I love to travel to developing countries so a lot of it is inspired by, Africa and Asia. Places where color isn’t really blended or dulled down. It’s just kind of used in its purest form.
NYSG: Your work is really beautiful!
Mathieu: I’m a big fan of the ocean and wildlife. So, a lot of it comes from places that are alongside the ocean or coral reef from the coast of Africa, India and Indonesia. I also love masks and the faces. I love the idea of those places and how a shaman can cover their whole body in tattoos. I do a lot of tattoo designs and I liked the idea Kasia presented.
She presented it as if you’re wearing art and you’re temporarily transforming. You know into an animal, into something else, into whatever it is… You’re donning a completely different skin and that really appeals to me and I’ve done a number of collaboration. But, not with fashion, mostly in the music world.
NYSG: Is this the first fashion collection that you are making?
Mathieu: This is the first one that has really substantial and came to full fruition. I’ve done a lot of t-shirt designs for charity’s and things like this but never something like this.
NYSG: What materials do you use when painting or creating your artwork? And what do you do with work that you’ve created and haven’t necessarily put on display?
For the most part all of my art is on canvas now. Actually, I’d have to say mixed media and on canvas.But, I’ve done everything from watercolor to acrylic oil to oil to graphite to wax to paper collage. Like Kasia was describing earlier, you’ll start a piece and then you’ll set it aside and you get another idea and next thing you know you’ve got 20 pieces started.
You’re not really sure necessarily what the direction is and you’ll notice something right across from you that you started three years prior or something and you would go… perfect fit! This makes perfect sense. This is it!
So, it’s all about a synthesis you know. Bringing together stuff that makes sense because you know, you don’t necessarily know till you do it. It’s just like they say, education is never wasted. Anything you put down is like a notebook, your designs are never wasted. You know, even if they seem silly at the time.
And when they come together it’s like lightning in a bottle and then people just go bang, I love it! Kasia is amazing and her full line of stuff is a perfect fit because she’s really adventurous with her designs.
NYSG: How long were you planning on working together before it came to be? Was it a lot of time? Was it a year?
Kasia: Well it took about 9 months to develop the line, between manufactures and finding the right fabrics to be the way we wanted them to be and to get the pieces done right. I mean we have known each other for a long time.
Mathieu: There’s another perfect example. She’s doing her thing in her medium. I’m in my medium and it donned on her. She’s the one who reached out so, she put this together.
I put things on walls and gallery’s and the idea of putting it on a swimmer it just never really donned on me.
Kasia: And the designs are just so happy, his paintings. They’re colorful and they just glow and belong on the swimsuits. And when we saw the pieces come in and how they came out we were very pleased.
And this is another fabric I’m using,velvet you know its sheer and elegant. I haven’t seen anyone or anybody using that type of fabric. When I actually saw that fabric and actually touched it, it feels good and its reminiscent of dresses. They just feel good on your body.
Yesterday we had opening night and everyone was coming up to the models saying, “oh, can I touch it, can I touch it.”
Mathieu: Those sheer designs are incredible. You just want to touch them. They look almost too good to swim in. But, they’re…
NYSG: They have a look similar to intimate wear but it’s a swimsuit. They look beautiful.
Kasia: I also have a couple reversible lines that are different. You can have four bathing suits in one. You can flip them inside out and just change tops and the bottoms and they’re just really cool.
NYSG: How can people buy your designs now?
Kasia: Well these are for 2018, they are all on karoswimwear.com now. But, they are not available for purchase for a while at least till the end of the year.
NYSG: Is there another project you guys are working on together as a team? And if you can have someone model for you who would that be?
Mathieu: Umm the dresses. I don’t know if you wanted to mention that?
Kasia: Oh yes, we started with Mathieu and designed a couple dresses. Like dress designs that you can wear his paintings over the bathing suits and you can go out and have fun, like summer dresses. So that’s one, as far as the models.
I had Gretchen Rossi who is a Orange County Housewife, I had him design that one too. She was wearing one recently. Joanna Krupa, she’s a Miami Housewife and we talk all the time on social media. She couldn’t be here today, but she’s great. I would just want everyone to wear them. They’re too good to not to be seen.
NYSG: Well that’s all the questions I have for you today, is there anything else you would like to add?
Kasia: Well there’s a lot of ideas. But, we need to take one step at a time. We do have more ideas for Mathieu’s paintings.
Mathieu: Really to many ideas, but we just need to see how it’s received. Plenty of ideas on deck. Conceptually and you know she’s always creating and I’m always painting. You know making new artwork. So there’s no shortage of ideas, which is good.
Kasia: We’re already thinking about 2019 and what we’re going to create for those lines. We’re definitely creating and want to be in boutiques. I want to be able to go to Aruba and spot our pieces in the stores over there.
NYSG: … or on people at the beach.
Kasia: Exactly! In the boutiques and on the people at the beach that would be the best reward ever!
You can see more of Karo Swimwear’s designs at: