From Graphic Designer to Fashion Designer
Living in a country with a struggling economy, where jobs are few & far between, can be pretty disheartening. However, facing the recession’s ax in the world of the working doesn’t indicate an ending. For Karen Crawford, it was a beginning. Having spent an entire career moving up the ranks in movie advertising at 20th Century Fox, the Spanish Harlem born designer decided that she’d leave corporate America (and New York) behind & face her future in fashion. Karen & her husband headed out west, to the laid back lifestyle of Los Angeles, where she recreated herself from graphic designer to clothing designer.
“I tried to find another job, then I thought—‘You know what? I’m going to put my energy into my T-shirt line because it’s so personally satisfying.’ So I did,” Karen admits of her blossoming line of Latina-inspired tees. KC Tees are filling in the missing gap of proud Latina clothing. “It’s a niche that I am happy to fill because there are & probably have been in the past, lines that were geared towards Hispanics; I just found them to be stereotypical & that led me to do this,” Karen explains of her meaningful T-shirts. Growing tired of seeing shirts claiming, “Sexy,” “Spicy,” or “Hot—“ Karen wanted to go deeper.
She started making shirts for her friends & family, detailing uplifting messages like, “Hope,” “Peace” or “Faith” in Spanish. Karen’s tees are always influenced by something meaningful to her. Karen explains, “Right now, I’m doing a breast cancer shirt & donating to the Susan G. Komen Foundation & that’s personal to me. I have a lot of friends that have been afflicted with breast cancer; my mother-in-law’s a survivor. I also did a shirt for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention in honor of my brother who was young & committed suicide in March.”
Not only do Karen’s tees inspire & encourage, but they give back. Karen founded the Para Los Niňos Foundation & 10% of every sale goes to them. “We’re a family service organization that helps families & children from underprivileged communities here in L.A.,” Karen says of her charity efforts. “The first shirts that I did way back when for the Tsunami Relief Effort, they were these baseball tees and they said in Spanish, ‘Love,’ ‘Beauty’ and ‘Unity.’ Now, I’m branching off into things that inspire me—whether it be political—like the Sonia Sotamayor T-shirt [I did] back in June. Because of her Sonia Sotameyer T-shirts, Karen’s charitable efforts & positive fashions gained the attention of the press & Karen was able to share her purposeful duds with the world. “I never really thought I would end up doing this, but it means a lot more to me than most of my professional career,” Karen concludes with a smile in her voice.
What else can this ambitious designer tackle? Try, more causes. “I feel like every little bit that you contribute to something important, counts,” Karen reveals. She plans to make shirts for Cinco de Mayo, Hispanic Heritage Month, Earth Day, the Puerto Rican Day Parade & so many more. Karen will never stray from celebrating Hispanic culture, explaining, “The shirts will always go back to that. That’s my mission, my core, my theme.”
Check out Karen’s T-shirts at http://www.KCTees.com!