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NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE - FOCUS ON: DESIGNER KRISTINA MAK

   

By Debbie Dickinson

Designer Kristina Mak’s latest 32-piece luxury resort wear collection features feminine flair for “the modern woman who feels independent and powerful.” This collection is ablaze with energetic, colorful prints, channeling the glamour of luxurious Monte Carlo, and radiating a vibe empowerment.

The designer’s passion for art also serves as a well of inspiration for her designs. She is especially enamored of the colors and design used in the Arts and Craft Movement, which begin in the second half of the 19th century and featured traditional craftsmanship often drawing on medieval, folk or romantic styles. In today’s modern time, she admires the contemporary work of jewelry designer Robert Lee Morris, who’s known for his organic methods influenced by nature.

THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED


The designer truly defines the word “independent.” While many aspiring designers start out seeking mentors or designers to work with to hone their skills, Mak says she has always relied on herself, experimenting with art influences and honing her instinctual design skills to forge her unique style. “I listen to my voice, feeling fearless, sometimes realizing I am far ahead of my time in designs.”

Growing up in Lithuania, her love of fashion began during a childhood spent playing, and subsequently working, in her grandmother’s local store. But a love of adventure, an active nature, and a strong work ethic finally led her to a career as a model during which she discovered the distinctive, brightly colored European designs which would influence her unique style.

It was this background as a model, and her deepened exposure to fashion, which led her to the world of design. But making it in the competitive world of fashion can be tough. So what did it take for Mak to start her label and make it as an independent designer?

Although she credits her family for supporting and encouraging her, Mak also notes the importance of having a business plan—one that can be modified along the way to accommodate bumps in the road such as unexpected changes in the manufacturing process. And, one of the most important things that went into building her brand, she adds, was the ability to understand the intricacies of the design process and its necessary techniques.

That’s not to say there were no other obstacles along the way to success. As every emerging designer comes to learn, pitfalls and challenges await, and for Mak that sometimes resulted in trial and error to discover the best quantity and fit for her collection. Another challenge that still exists is “there are not enough hours in the day!” she says. No banking hours here—and there’s no such thing as a typical workday. Mak says she doesn’t stop until what she needs to do is done. And while there is always something more to accomplish, music and coffee help get her in the “zone.” It also helps to have a work ethic that includes being highly driven and motivated, she says.

THE FUTURE


And what does a busy designer do when she isn’t working? Mak says she is happy being a homebody and spending quality time with her fiance. “Quiet time brings me peace.” And when she wants to treat herself she likes to indulge her sweet tooth now and then. “Meeting my girlfriends for lunch also is a great treat!”

For now, Mak says she will be staying at home in Florida, working on her next collection, but plans to travel in the future. And her business goals for the future? Mak aims to not only increase sales online but also to work with new retailers around the globe. She’d like further recognition of the Kristina Mak brand name by seeing more people on the streets wearing her clothing line.

For more information on Kristina Mak, visit kristinamak.com.