PeopleCool is one of the most special sections of this blog. It is a space to picture style. Most of the time I look for it on the streets, where I can find authentic people using fashion as a way to express their freedom. But there are other times when I feel that I need a deeper conversation. Sometimes words play a great complement to the image and explain us better the world we are living in. This is why PeopleCool is also a one of a kind opportunity to talk to people who have lives, jobs and thoughts that inspire me.
Today I am talking to Carolina Giraldo, the Founder and Creative Director of Carolina Lifestyle, a Sydney based designer who arrived from Colombia 13 years ago. She is the one to start this set of interviews as I feel deeply connected to her designs, not only because they are hand made by artisans from my home town in Colombia, but also because in every piece of her collection you can see hard work and perfectionism.
She is one of my favourite designers in Sydney and I just want to ask her…
How did this story begin?
Every good story starts with a passion and since I was a student I took little steps in order to be where I am at this moment. I studied business administration and a master’s degree in management at UTS in Sydney and then I went to London to study fashion merchandise at the London College of Fashion. After university I got a job to get some knowledge about running a business and I was lucky to have a good mentor. After a very productive time learning I decided to pursue my love for fashion and launched my own brand.
The idea of Carolina Lifestyle turned up when I saw a gap in the market for good quality products that were affordable and were not mass produced. I looked for something unique and at the same time versatile. It started with a collection of six purses and six belts and since then it has been evolving and growing.
How did you came up with the idea of producing accessories made in Colombia?
I have a close relationship with some artisans that work in a manufacturer close to my grandmother’s house back in Colombia. I have worked with them since I was very young, producing some designs that I sold on a small scale. The products were very successful at the time and when my business as well as theirs started to grow, I thought it was a great idea to make a partnership to produce the items that we are currently selling in Carolina Lifestyle.
It was also an opportunity to stay connected to the place I came from and at the same time create employment. At the end, the fact that our products are handmade in Colombia became one of the most important features of our brand.
What do Australians like the most about the materials used in making Carolina’s accessories?
Authenticity and quality is what has attracted my clients in Australia. The leather that we use in our products is 100 per cent Colombian, which is very special as the Colombian leather has a great reputation. All our bags and belts are produced and coated in Colombia.
Australians are also driven by the fact that we don’t compromise the quality of the product in order to benefit the business. We buy expensive materials to keep versatility and good quality and we maintain those values in our creations.
How would you describe the style of your brand?
The style of Carolina Lifestyle is very personal. The fact that they are produced in Colombia does not mean they have the Colombian style. They are much more a reflection of my own personality and taste.
In fact, it was travelling around the world and experiencing different cultures that inspired me to translate what I saw and loved into the creation of the label. If I hadn’t traveled it would have been very difficult to create this business as you need to know what is going to be successful in every country in which you want to sell your products. What is loved in Europe doesn’t mean is going to be loved in Australia.
What is your favourite piece of the latest collection?
The Fiji Top! It’s a comfortable shape and perfect to wear in between seasons!
What’s coming next for the brand?
We are getting prepared for the opening of our flag ship store in Neutral Bay. We are very proud of what we have achieved and where the label is at this moment. The store should open its doors in May this year.
Where can we find your beautiful clothes and accessories?
Neutral Bay: Shop 3, 9-17 Young Street, Neutral Bay NSW 2089
Bondi Junction: Level 5, Westfield, Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Miranda: Ground Floor, Westfield, Miranda NSW 2228
Find our products online on our webpage http://www.carolina.net.au
Follow Carolina Lifestyle on instagram @carolinalifestylelabel