In honor of Paris Fashion Week, we are pleased to welcome Milka Karaagacli, founder of Kismet by Milka, who will be with us at a Trunk Show from the 2nd to the 5th of March to present her latest collection in our 316 rue Saint-Honoré boutique. Get to know her in our exclusive interview with Milka:
What prompted you to launch your brand?
Ever since I was a kid, I have always had creativity in my core. I used to be obsessed with beading stuff and spent most of my time doing so, but my career evolved in quite a different direction. After over a decade in advertising, I knew that I had so much more to discover. Once I feel like I'm stalling in my comfort zone, I start drifting away from things. To this day, it is the same. Towards the end of my corporate career, I really did not feel inspired anymore, and I knew I had to drift towards a different path. I just took a leap of faith and found myself in this whirlwind of a journey that excites me every single day I wake up.
Has the pandemic allowed you to look for new inspiration?
The pandemic knocked everyone, including me, of course. It forced me to slow down and seize control over my life for a certain period of time. Of course, just like everyone else, I felt trapped at the beginning, but as humans, we adapt... The pandemic had me looking at different kinds of inspiration, which came from social aspects of life. It's essential to me as a designer to get a message across. Design without meaning is just incomplete, and with the pandemic I had a lot of time to think and evaluate what is really important in life. The Monsters collection happened to be the collection where I reflected on the thought train I had during the pandemic. Society is a focal point in Monsters. It is a collection that calls for liberation both literally and figuratively. The pandemic was a crippling time for every single one of us, but now as we move forward, I wanted to convey freedom of speech, lifestyle and identity through Monsters.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
Before starting the design process, I search for a specific 'feeling'. I observe everything that happens around me. Life and its spontaneity, travel, people I randomly see on the street, history, and even my past inspire me a lot... Anything can inspire me. What psychological state are we in? What is our social environment like? How does my soul influence my mind and intellect? I think about these before I start. I start by brainstorming on how we can turn these stories into designs; then I look if they fully illustrate our dreams and portray the collection's story as a whole. Connecting with every soul making everyone feel and understand these messages is one of my biggest motivations. I also draw inspiration from experiences, dreams, what is happening in the world and my predictions about the future. The story of each collection is different, but somehow connected to each other. Years later, when I look back, I see that these stories have developed in a significant way and that they have all followed and supported each other.
How do you encourage women to assert themselves and create their dream future?
While building my brand, I wanted to create jewelry that I genuinely connected with and I wanted women to express themselves with my jewelry. Therefore, all my designs carry a deep meaning behind them. I want people to connect to these stories as well, besides the design itself. Each story is quite inspiring. Each collection has a distinct story that we try to tell through jewelry rather than words. Themes of courage, embracing differences, uniqueness, equality, strength, oppression and passion are all present in each collection I have designed over the past 13 years. I genuinely want to encourage not only women, but all people to step away from conformity and pursue their true goals. I am lucky enough to be able to say that I try to do this through creativity.
Which piece of jewelry never leaves your side?
For years I have been wearing rings with the initials "M" representing the names of my children, Mayra and Mateo. These unique pieces of jewelry have a very interesting story which was the real turning point of Kismet by Milka. I shared a photo of my unique ring on my daughter Mayra's hand on Instagram, and shortly after, Madonna's stylist wanted to order one for her. Even though it was only created for me, we of course designed one for Madonna. Amazingly, Madonna shared my design on her Instagram account. There is one more piece of jewelry that is always with me and it's the eyelash rings from the 10th Eye collection. I never part with these rings, because they are the origin of Kismet by Milka.
Discover Kismet by Milka on our E-shop and in shops.