Known for her androgynous and offbeat designs, New Zealander Karen Walker first launched her label in 1989 but rose to prominence in 2000, when she debuted at New York Fashion Week. Having launched her label at age 18 with just NZ$100 and two t-shirts, she now presides over an international fashion, jewellery, and accessories brand. She trades on a punchy, tomboyish edge, pairing neons with pastels and floral prints with military touches.
She has been called the designer for anti-‘It’ girls, with a particular cult following for her funky sunglasses, favoured by bloggers and celebrities like Lady Gaga. Walker’s 1998 debut at Hong Kong Fashion Week increased her visibility dramatically, with Barneys picking up the collection of reworked business suits, entitled ‘Daddy’s Gone Strange’. Since then, she has steadily grown to be New Zealand’s most famous fashion export, with over 250 stockists all around the world. The Karen Walker label is a collaborative effort, with the designer’s husband, creative director Mikhail Gherman, involved in marketing and production.