VIP Interview: Renowned Polish Designer, Karolina Zmarlak

One of the things, I treasure most with what I do is meeting extraordinary fashion designers and hearing the stories behind their collections.

Walking into Gus Mayer–just over a week ago–I never would have imagined meeting, much less interviewing Polish fashion designer Karolina Zmarlak, whose designs are worn by Karolina Kurkova, Jamie Anne Allman, Christina Milian–just to name a few.

As we sat and chatted about her latest collection, I began to love the clothes even more. Hearing the inspiration behind a collection directly from the designer makes the pieces more desirable…more unique…more glamorous! Oh, it was such a delight to meet and interview Karolina Zmarlak. I would not trade it for the world!


Karolina creates fashion pieces that exemplify history in ways that makes her collections intriguing and sophisticated. When slipping into a Karolina Zmarlak design, a woman instantly feels a powerful confidence that immediately shows on her face. “When women wear my designs, I want them to feel empowered. I want my pieces to bring confidence,” says Zmarlak.

When describing the captivating collections by Karolina Zmarlak, I cannot think of two better words than pure couture.


“Karolina Zmarlak is a Polish Ready-to-Wear designer who creates her clothing in  honor of the individual with pieces that are variable and expressive. Cutting new, exciting forms of clothing and taking the ideals of the made-to-measure process, her designs permit personalization through  the wearer’s ability to interact with the garment.  Karolina’s strong, enduring style results from subtraction cutting, playing with dimensions and shape, origami-based forms, and the clean lines of forward silhouettes.  A Gen Art Styles winner and FIT graduate, Zmarlak honed her skills during time spent at Carolina Herrera and Theory. Her first Ready-to-Wear collection was launched in the Fall of 2009.” (Karolina Zmarlak website)


  • Who or what inspired you to become a designer?

“I would say it stems from when I was young. Being born in Poland during Communist times, there was so little of everything. I first watched my mother find fabrics to have clothes made for her. These pieces were very different and unusual. I would say I carry that unique approach with my line today. When I was ten, I came to America and a world of possibilities was opened. I took my first sewing class in Chicago during high school–it was such a wow factor! I knew at that moment, that was what I wanted to do with my life.”

  • What inspired your Fall/Winter 2013 collection?

“The overall design was inspired by modernism and modern interiors. The color story is inspired by the deep tones and neutrals of the Dutch Golden Era paintings. The colors are not overpowering, and that’s why I like it.”

  • Do you have a favorite piece in your latest collection?

“As a designer, I pride myself in tailoring. I love all of my sculpted jackets. They remind me of the 1950s car coats because they were sculpted and feminine with a very modern appearance.”


  • Do you have a particular mantra that drives your designs?

“Less is more! I like for my designs to truly reflect specialty and sophistication. When I create a new collection, I do not like to follow a trend. I want women to wear my clothing and create their own trend or look.”

  • What does fashion mean to you?

“Fashion to me is when a woman feels empowered.  When she feels empowered, she feels like no one can stop her! The clothes a woman wears need to appeal to her and make her confident, and I believe that a great piece of clothing can do that.”

  • What is in your sketchbook?

“My sketchbook is a gathering of things from everyday life and my travels. The more things I collect, the more inspiration I feel. The world we live in is an ever evolving world of ideas that I want to express through my clothing.”


  • What is your favorite fashion era and why?

“5os and 60s, of course! It was the era where Christian Dior and other designers started ready-to-wear luxury.”

  • VIP Question: What is one item in your closet you could never toss out and why?

“When I first moved to New York City, I made my very first designer purchase–menswear inspiring pants with a crop jacket. I could never toss the outfit out because it is very special and sentimental. It was my moment of transition from a girl into a woman. I began understanding the value of good quality clothing.”


Karolina Zmarlak designs capture a side of fashion I absolutely adore! You just put it on, and go out to conquer the day in completely marvelous style! Once again, all I can say is pure couture…pure couture…

Check out Karolina Zmarlak’s Facebook page to see some of the latest celebs sporting her designs and more! Click here.

Twitter: @Karolinazmarlak


Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for a peek inside my life.


Twitter: @Abbysauce_

Instagram: @VintagePassionista


Check out more of my writings and photo shoot styling here:

Town and Gown Magazine May Issue:


Stay Fabulous,

Abby Hathorn


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