KA WA KEY – Exclusive Designer Interview

Name Brand: KA WA KEY
Established: 2016
Instagram: kawakey

1. Please describe yourself and your brand and its evolution in the past seasons.

KEY CHOW: A designer who likes to tell his love or fucked-up stories with his home-made fabrics
JARNO LEPPANEN: Real life Peter Pan, twink at heart searching his lost boys, lost in Pan’s Labyrinth. I truly believe in the power of imagination and emotions.
KA WA KEY (the brand): KA WA KEY was founded two years ago in London and since then KA WA KEY has evolved and developed season after season. KA WA KEY re-imagines every day casual and streetwear with soft masculinity and twinks in mind. KA WA KEY builds its collections around romantic stories, textures and fabrications. Our signature fabric treatments include devore and printed coating, which we call crack. The brand has been lucky to be able show during several fashion weeks in forms of showrooms, presentations and catwalks; London, Paris, New York, Shanghai, Tokyo and Hong Kong. KA WA KEY collaborates with other artists to create content such as presentation, imagery and performances.

2. Best and toughest part of designing a menswear collection.

KEY: Best : To dress the boys and make them sexy, hot, cute and irresistible.
Toughest: Some of the mass department stores may not be ready for the soft masculinity aesthetics in what we believe in in menswear
JARNO: BEST: The creative proses when imagination is only limit. And of course the romantic stories (partly imaginative) of young beautiful guys. TOUGHEST: When you start doubting yourself and your work.

3. What sources of inspiration are your biggest influence?

Beautiful boys, twinks. Our muses includes Olly Alexander, Troye Sivan, Timothee Chalamet, Cara Delevingne (the ultimate female twink) a few to mention. It is the way they dress, blending gender limints, their aesthetics, their art and mentality. And of course films, music, art etc.

4. What was your favorite collection so far?

KEY: Spring Summer 17. It is called “turn my nipples to water lilies” – the story about an Asian twink who painted himself like a Monet’s impressionistic painting in his own aesthetics to hide himself from the guys who fetishize him just because he is an Asian. I love its sensuality and softness with our signature fabric technique devore on everyday items like denim jacket, polo shirt etc.
JARNO: AW18 collection which is called “Trashy Boy” – it’s a story about a young guy who escapes during night time to party in night clubs and dresses himself in trashy and “ugly” 80’s and 90’s clothes. It is also probably the most mature collection so far.

5. How much of your success do you credit to the education you had?

KEY: 60%. At RCA our tutor did question and challenge me a lot as a designer. This helps us find who we are and our unique language
JARNO: It depends on the day and how I feel, but education is always important, it makes us think, think and then again rethink.

6. What genre of music best describes your collection?

Sigur Ross, Meredith Monk and Florence Foster Jenkins


7. How do you choose your models for your shows and campaigns?

Some of them are our friends and some of them in the street, in clubs etc.

8. Do you have any favorite male models?

KEY: I don’t prefer commercial male models
JARNO: I think they all look great, for a reason. I think there is one I had crush on… Lucky Blue Smith

9. Where do you plan to take your brand next?

More cross-artistic collaborations and more beautiful nude boys. The next concrete steps are to design our next collection and present during London and Paris Fashion Weeks.

10. Beside fashion – do you have any special talents?

KEY: Cooking Risotto
JARNO: I love cooking and photography