Based in Thetford Mines Quebec, KQK is a creative studio for clothes and ceramics entirely handmade by a local team of artisans; the fashion collections are a meld of classic tailoring with creative techniques, the ceramics explore the boundaries of rigidity in their nature.
Inspired by the contrast between brutalist architecture and nature romanticized, KQK’s founder and designer Karen Quirion constantly redefines her craft through the deconstruction of shapes and the experimentation of colors and material to translate emotions.
Karen Quirion graduated in fashion design at the campus Notre-Dame de Foy in Quebec before obtaining a master’s degree in fashion communication and public relations from the Istituto Europeo di design in Milan. She debuted KQK in 2012. The collections are sold online at http://www.kqk.ca, at the atelier in Thetford Mines, her studio annex in Montreal and at DAAD in Milano.
Intricate furrowing and weaving, handmade fabrics made of threads and scraps, painting and ceramic works, Karen Quirion upholds her artistry and the craftmanship of KQK as the lead character of her newest story. Karen’s ceramic works are now an integral part of the brand. The dialogue between her fashion and ceramics flows naturally and reinforces the organic language of KQK. Their Fall/Winter 2022 Collection dialogues with circularity: the circularity of nature, a circular way of thinking and a sustainable circular economic model for its brand.
Quirion finds beauty in the relationship between nature and brutalist architecture. Greenery flourishes and collapses in nature’s cycle, creating a poetic conversation with the buildings it invades. KQK innovates with techniques to convey the implicit poetry Karen sees and cherishes. The subtle balance of blacks, browns and greens with labyrinthine leather & nylon furrowing and tortuous wool & cotton weaving convey the befitting emotion.
On her path to uphold higher operating standards for herself and her brand, the concept of a circular lifestyle sparked Karen’s interest: collections show linearity and the waste KQK produces is reused and remade into new fabrics and products. This is demonstrated here in handmade thread pieces and handmade separates fully conceived and realized with fabric scraps.
A sustainable circular economy involves designing and promoting products that last and that can be reused, repaired and remanufactured. This retains the functional value of products, rather than just recovering the energy or materials they contain versus continuously making products anew. KQK is built upon these values: all of what it creates is unique, one of a kind, and made to last a lifetime; it focuses on true sustainability – closing the loop and bringing circularity into purchasing and consuming behavior.
Karen Quirion designs materialize her ideals, esthetically and meaningfully, and her collections stand strong for it. Her newest collection is affirmative, and captures the reflective values of her studio and her team.
All images courtesy of KQK
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