Designer Sarah Law is the creative force behind Kara, a New York-based accessories line. Born in California and raised in Hong Kong, Law attended Parson’s School of Design in both New York and Paris and worked under Patrick Robinson at Gap before launching her debut line of city-friendly bags and backpacks in 2012. This fall, Law’s collection of no-fuss, functional bags make their way to Shopbop and Opening Ceremony.
Kara is derived from the word karaoke – why did this become the name of your brand? What does it represent?
The word ‘karaoke’ means empty orchestra. The contrast between the activity and the poetry in the definition is humorous and refreshing to me. The name is simple and also easy to say in many languages.
Did you study accessories at Parson’s School of Design? Was a handbag line your ultimate goal?
No, I studied women’s ready-to-wear. I am working to expand the line and adding shoes. Someday, I would love to make clothing.
Where are the bags produced?
The bags are produced in China.
Are the zippers unique?
The zippers are made in Switzerland by Riri. They are the best zipper manufacturer in the market for quality and durability.
Shopbop and Opening Ceremony will sell your bags this fall – how did you get the attention of such influential stores so early?
I love the retailers we are working with and learning the sales process has been enjoyable. I started by making a list a dream stores and emailing the buyers. I also showed the collection at Capsule in NYC.
Kate Foley is a fan of your backpacks – has she become an unofficial ambassador for the brand?
I actually do not have an official or unofficial ambassador. However, Kate Foley is lovely and her style is exquisite!!
How important is social media for your brand? What’s your marketing strategy with various platforms?
Very important! Currently, we use Facebook and Instagram (@karastore). It’s not uncommon for customers to make order inquiries over Instagram. Facebook is an easy way to share our milestones, upcoming collections, get feedback and also, give our supporters a little humor and playfulness to get through the week.
How many bags do you think a woman needs in her rotation?
Every woman is different, so that is hard for me to say. I don’t like owning a lot of things but I like options.
I mainly wear my own bags or these fabric tote bags my mom sews. She knows I like camouflage so every time she comes across a different camo print at the fabric market (at home in Hong Kong), I end up with a new bag. I probably have enough of them to grocery shop for a small army.
Did you do anything for NYFW? What does your SS14 collection look like?
We did not do a presentation but I attended a number of shows by some of our retailers such as Opening Ceremony and Creatures of Comfort.
I tend to look at contrasts when I am designing. Probably because I am working so much, I find myself interested in escapism and vacation. For SS14, I wanted to feel something refreshing and was looking at a lot of Matisse’s work and the French Riviera. The collection is a range of blues, sand and white with novelty prints in iridescent foil. There are a few new silhouettes like a larger version of the Double Date and some wallets.
Can we expect more products from Kara in the future?
Yes you can! We are just getting started.