Interview with Samantha Robinson and Karen Kananen from Raw Earth Wild Sky
A staple denizen at the Clever Alice boutique is Raw Earth Wild Sky. The label is eco-friendly and sustainable, making it a popular choice for those that love clean fashion. All the pieces are one of a kind and some styles come in a variety of colors. All fabric is 100% organic cotton or sustainably sourced. Fabrics and methods of construction are environmentally friendly and safe for the planet. Well-crafted pieces are unique and incredibly comfortable when worn, making it a perfect brand for those with more sensitive skin.
In fact, nature and the planet gives much of the inspiration behind these uniquely crafted garments. Some of which have deconstructed hems, deliberate inverted seams, and tie dye print in colors that resemble that of natural landscapes and seasons. The pieces are handcrafted in Los Angeles by two lifelong friends Samantha Robinson and Karen Kananen. The pair are accomplished designers in their own right and together, as owners of Raw Earth Wild Sky, achieve a beautiful signature style.
Samantha Robinson traveled the world from her native UK and worked on the creative teams at numerous labels. She’s been to New York, Boston, Australia, to name a few, where she practiced her craft and gave her talents to French Connection, Country Road Australia, and Elle Apparel.
Karen Kananen is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FDIM) in Los Angeles with extensive experience in designing and running a business for many years. She was behind successful brand ‘Eco-ganik’ before collaborating on ‘Raw Earth Wild Sky’, and her values align perfectly with the needs of our planet.
Raw Earth Wild Sky also generously provides links to organizations and resources that benefit the planet. Active in bettering of our society, the label encourages everyone to participate in caring for our earth. You can explore these resources here.
Below, Karen and Samantha share a bit more about their friendship, their journey as designers, and the mindset that helps them create.
What do you do for a living?
SR + KK: Design + own/run a Contemporary organic/eco womenswear line called Raw Earth Wild Sky.
Where did you grow up?
SR: London, England.
KK: Los Angeles, CA.
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
SR: When I was about 12 years old, after my grand-mother taught me how to sew and cut a pattern.
KK: I guess I always knew I wanted to design - I started with doll clothes, moved into making my own clothes and just went on from there.
What designers inspired you early on in your career?
SR: Vivienne Westwood, Margaret Howell, Issey Miyake, Miuccia Prada, Nicole Farhi, Sonia Rykiel, Calvin Klein and Donna Karen.
KK: Jean-Paul Gaulthier, Donna Karan, Martin Margiella, Anne Demuelemeester, Marc Jacobs.
Do you design for yourself or do you have a muse in mind?
SR: Our customers are our muses...
KK: But we pretty much don't design anything we wouldn't wear ourselves.
What is your favorite part of being a designer?
SR: Creating something new.
KK: Sketching and/or pulling color stories.
How do you deal with feedback and find a balance between your own creative signature and the demands of new trends?
KK: - it's really about knowing and feeling your aesthetic well enough to apply both the feedback and the newest ideas to your style and always blending them together in the best way for your customer.
Favorite city for inspiration?
SR: Tough to answer as we are inspired by the world, colors of nature and life around us but I would say that New York and London inspire us more than other places.
Can you tell me about someone who had a big influence in your life?
SR: My maternal grand-mother who taught me to appreciate even the smallest detail as well as how to sew, knit and crochet.
KK: my dad - who taught me to be honest and to always be myself.
How do you recharge?
SR: Go to the ocean, it is calming, inspiring and invigorating.
KK: Go for a drive, travel somewhere new.
Can you tell us about one of your happiest memories?
SR: Probably any time spent with my daughter and hearing her laughter.
KK: Taking my daughter on a trip to NYC for her graduation - she. loved it all!
What are some of the most important lessons you've learned in life?
SR: Treat other people fairly, be honest, work hard, stop to look around and enjoy moments, be in your life. Live it and be joyful!
KK: Be a good person and you will attract good people to you.
What are two of the most satisfying accomplishments in your career?
SR+ KK: Having my own business and trying to do good for our planet
What is your favorite book growing up and why?
SR: Little Women, I wanted to be Jo.
KK: The Nancy Drew books - I was given an antique set that had been handed down in my family and I just loved them!
Tell us about the last time you did something for the first time.
SR: Learning a Tik Tok dance with my daughter!
KK: Bought a home all by myself.
What is something you think every person should experience at least once in their lifetime?
SR: JOY, complete and utter joy!!!
KK: The love of a child, whether it is your own, a foster child or a relative.
The best part of designing together? Do you split responsibilities?
SR: We inspire and support each other which is a great combination! We work together to create the concept/direction each season and design the line but we split production, pattern-work, fittings, sales, QC, shipping and customer service.
KK: That we became even better friends after working together for so long. We just naturally took on different roles in the business and it worked!
Do you "talk shop" together often? Share ideas?
SR: All the time! :)