Karen Topacio

Faces Behind the Brand

While waiting for the Filipino show to begin we overheard a group of ladies talking about a unique designer, who has an incredible designing skills that make women feel free, powerful and most importantly, elegant. We got very interested, simply because those ladies were from wide range of age.


So how come that one designer can make all of them feel in such a way? Having that question in mind we could not not contact Karen.  


Karen Topacio is a young Filipino origin designer, who was raised between Australia and Philippines, studied in Paris and now is running her own fashion brand from Paris. This multicultural upbringing is very well visualized in her designs: Asian love for harmony and nature combined with western elegance.



How do you perceive women?

Strong, independent, decisive but at the same time loving, carrying and nurturing.


In which way your designs fulfill women needs?

I care a lot about fabrics and cut. I think it is very important to make a design comfortable to wear.  On the other hand it also has to be elegant, hence the choice of fabrics is so crucial. Only this way one can go an entire day from one meeting to the other feeling fresh and confident. My designs fulfill that need, woman wearing them feels beautiful and relaxed. She does not need to worry about adjusting the outfit during the day or that it wrinkles. That is the thought that goes with my designs.




Where from do you take your inspirations?

A bit from everywhere. Paris is a very inspirational city. It is very discrete but chic at the same time. So it influences my designs a lot.  As a child, I spend a lot of time in Philippines where nature is so easily accessible and is a part of one’s life. Hence, nature also plays a big part in my designs.

Furthermore, I think how my designs can make women lives easier and I try to improve my gowns accordingly.

I have this one place in Paris, its called Le Pavillon de Canaux. I often go there to absorb its unique atmosphere and to get inspired.


What fashion and designing mean to you?

It it simply a way to express myself. Very cliché, but very true. I know. With fashion we can express so much and tell our story, show our views and interests, and even our mood. Designing on the other hand allows that self-expression. Thanks to my designs, women have the pieces that build their wardrobes. And I am very happy that I can be a part of someones life via my designs.




When you decide on fabrics, what do you take into consideration?

I like natural and organic fabrics. Such fabrics allow skin to breath and form a bridge between nature and body. I am also very considerate about fabrics production proses and where do they come from. So whenever deciding on fabrics for the new collection, I am guided by that principles.


How do you see Tokyo fashion wise?

Tokyo is an amazing city. It cannot be classified to just one particular style. This city is a styles dreamland, starting with very traditional kimono inspired on the suburbs, through high-end luxury fashion in Ginza and to end up in a Harajuku pop culture extravaganza. I love all parts, as everyone can find something there. It is also extremely fashion-open-minded so it is a perfect place to show your true self and moreover encourages discovering fashion and experimenting with it.




What is your biggest concern about fashion?

Quite a few. But let me say how I try make to make my brand more environmental friendly.


For my brand, I try to choose natural fabrics and most importantly try not to waste them. It can be difficult when making the prototypes because that pushes you to be more decisive and opinionated from the very beginning. Furthermore, we sometimes recycle fabrics from the previous season. I also care a lot about the wages of my employees and employees of the companies that I collaborate with.


Editorial Photographed by Anya Yakushima

Atelier Photographed by Raphaël Hilarion

Translated by Natsumi

Website karentopacio.com

Facebook @karentopacioparis 

Instagram @karentopacio