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Meet The Team 
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Kristjana Curry

The founder of Karahkwa Designs, Kristjana Curry, is native decent from her grandmother’s side, the late Dolores Diabo. Kristjana’s relationship with her grandmother was one of real closeness, greatly influenced by her loving, kind and generous soul. “She just loved everyone and treated everybody with kindness and respect”. Kristjana strives to continue on with her legacy by ensuring Karahkwa Designs promotes and exhibits these same values.

After graduating from the International Academy of Design with a diploma in Fashion Design, Kristjana gained valuable experience in the film industry, launched her own swimwear collection, and worked on the design team at Christina America. Furthermore, she grew her business knowledge over the years in sales, marketing and distribution. Kristjana also has an athletic background in competitive swimming which started at an early age. Her dedication and commitment to the sport continued until she reached varsity level. Even in her later years, she continued training and joined a Master’s swim team. 

Kristjana was fortunate to have lived in many places including Whistler, Toronto, Florence, New York, and she explored numerous cities throughout Europe, South East Asia, Oceania, North and Central America. Following some widespread travels around the globe, Kristjana came back to her roots. It was an ideal time to combine her business experience with her background in fashion and competitive swimming to create a collection of fashionable swimsuits and performance-based sportswear. Through a family connection, Kristjana had an opportunity to move her equipment to an office space in Kahnawake, where she began to engage various students and graduates in the community. “Through a collaboration with Tewatohnhi’saktha’s workforce development, Karahkwa Designs is able to inspire and install confidence in young entrepreneurs which provides a win-win setting for everyone involved”. The purpose is to provide a training field where the students can gain practical business knowledge by having hands-on work experience in addition to help grow the business. “The idea is to give these students and graduates some freedom and autonomy in their work so that they feel apart of the whole business. I’ll set some parameters and give then direction. Afterwards, they can use their own creativity to carry out various projects along with some guidance and support”. 

The first collection under the name Sowilo involved a line of sportswear geared towards selected sports categories which encompasses the team’s athletic training apparel. The rune name literally mean ‘Sun’, and is figurative to guidance, goal setting, confidence and success. It governs thought into energy for action, which are excellent traits applicable to athletes. In the early stages of the pandemic, Sowilo Sportswear was put on hold due to the closure of schools and athletic clubs. Kristjana heard about the need for hospital scrubs and she volunteered to make sets for the nurses and caretakers at the Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre. 

It was the beginning of the 2020 Summer season and time were trying. “We wanted to try and have a fun summer despite everything that was happening. So, a summer student and I dug out an old swimwear collection that was stored in bins and we decided to revive the line that was created two decades ago”. The launch of Karahkwa Designs started with coming up with a name (also meaning Sun) and logo. A Facebook and Instagram page was created and then some pictures of this vintage collection were posted. The swimsuits received a lot of attention on social media with instant likes and the following started to grow. The philosophy behind the brand was intended towards having some FUN IN THE SUN!!!

”Here we are a year later, ready to launch a new summer line. It was certainly been a challenging journey, steering the boat around the obstacles that the pandemic caused throughout the year. We would like to give a big thank you to all our followers and for everyone’s love and support.”

As a highly motivated and driven person, Kristjana’s fundamental principles and core values by which she operates her business are integrity, respect and hard work. Last but not least, she consistently has a mindset of always putting the customer first. Doing one’s part with respect to sustainability in the fashion industry, Kristjana is conscious of choosing fabrics made from recycled goods for future collections. As a proud business in Kahnawake, Karahkwa Designs and Sowilo Sportswear aims to continue engaging the community (as well as surrounding communities) and collaborate with other local businesses. 

Kendall Horn 
Marketing Assistant

Kendall, 20, is a soon-to-be mother of two, studying at Concordia University where she is majoring in Human Relations. Her interest in entrepreneurship and marketing has brought her to Karahkwa Designs. Kendall is responsible for the sales communication, as well as managing the social media platforms. She is also the creative director and project coordinator where she implements the brand’s image into reality. “I really love collaborating with other artists and local businesses on our projects to showcase everyone’s specialties. This position is a great way for me to demonstrate my creative directing abilities, while learning new business skill sets alongside many intelligent individuals.”

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Thea Thomas
Production and Marketing Assistant

Thea, 25, is attending Alberta University of the Arts, majoring in Fibre and Textiles. She enjoys designing and sewing her own clothing pieces. She also enjoys the technical aspects of garments construction which lead her to Karahkwa Designs. The is involved in the production side of the business, where she cuts graded patterns and creates new prototypes. She transfers vinyl logos and images to the material for pressing, ensuring the quality of each finished product meets company standards. She is a great help to the Karahkwa Designs team with her creative input within production and marketing projects. 

“Together everyone achieves more!!”

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