“I want to inspire people to discover the beauty of our planet and to interact with it consciously.”
At the beginning of something magnificient there is a deep passion and a vision. This is also the story of Katharina Khadjavi, founder of the sustainable label KINTANA. Inspired by the vibrant evenings on the beach and colors of dusk, her new collection is an ode to timeless design, comfortable cuts with eco-friendly material and the beauty of nature with a sense of nostalgia.
All Kintana swimwear provides UPF50+ and is made from ECONYL®, a regenerated nylon sourced from nylon waste otherwise polluting the earth, like fishing nets, fabric scraps, carpet flooring, and industrial plastic. We had a very interesting chat with Katharina about her journey of becoming a designer, her definition of sustainability and growth, and the new collection.
What was your journey to becoming a designer and creating the brand KINTANA?
I actually do not have any design background but dove into it when I couldn’t understand why most wetsuits weren’t made of a more sustainable material than classic neoprene. From there, it turned into a few sketches and a home-made wetsuit – which wasn’t very good. I then began collaborating with designers that had experience in the field to develop something that was functional, but more feminine while keeping the search for a more eco-friendly material at the core of the project. I always had a vision of what I wanted to create, but it was a big learning curve and continues to be one every day.
With KINTANA I feel the incredible love for nature and animals, for the element water and the exciting underwater world but also for femininity. Where does this love come from?
I have a true love for nature, especially the ocean and have spent quite a bit of time below the surface so to speak. I want to inspire people to discover the beauty of our planet and to interact with it consciously, as I believe the more connected we feel to our surroundings, the more motivated we are to protect it.
“I believe the more connected we feel to our surroundings, the more motivated we are to protect it.”
Besides that, what are your main sources of inspiration?
That’s difficult to pinpoint, I think inspiration can come from so many things: friends, artworks, cultures, a good book. Currently, I find a lot of inspiration from 80s/90s movies. That can range from Princess Mononoke and the spirit of the forest to the styling in Austin Powers. It always depends on what you are looking for.
From women for women. What does that truly mean to you?
We are an all-female team and do our best to create pieces that are made with fellow women in mind. We thereby focus on making comfortable styles that look great while keeping functionality at their core.
Sustainability is the big issue of the future. Therefore, the eternal “growth question” will probably also have to be questioned. A system built on growth is – in my opinion – absolutely not compatible with sustainability. What do you think about this and what needs to change here as soon as possible?
I think that growth could be more sustainable if brands become more circular and follow the life cycle of their products. That’s easier said than done, but if we can create closed loop productions, growth does not need to necessarily be a bad thing.
“If we can create closed loop productions, growth does not need to necessarily be a bad thing.”
What are your efforts to ensure that all individuals who are working for and with you are connected to the brand and their values?
I think sharing values is essential to a good work relationship, but usually this is something that aligns naturally. In terms of brand connection, I believe in giving autonomy and creative freedom. I love seeing our pieces interpreted in new ways and through other people’s eyes. Creative trust creates the most authentic collaborations and I think our community appreciates that.
The new collection is called “Sunset collection” and is designed and produced in Europe. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
The Sunset Collection was inspired by the colours of dusk and introduces sun protecting (UPF 50+) rashsuits and rashguards together with bikinis and swimsuits that work in harmony with our wetsuits. The new styles are made in Italy using ECONYL® regenerated nylon. Together with our wetsuits, which we are introducing in two new colours, (Forest & Mulberry) we extended our modular system so that our collection can be an even more versatile partner across different water sports.
Your personal favorite piece of the collection?
Hmm it‘s probably cheesy if I say I love them all, but I have to say that each piece has so much effort in it that it‘s difficult to pick a favourite. Ultimately, I would probably choose the Ala Longleeve, I love the fit, it has our signature back stitching and it keeps me from getting sun burnt when spending longer times in the water. It’s just a fantastic allrounder.
Check out the collection on wearekintana.com
KINTANA on instagram: @wearekintana
Photographer: Isabel Hayn
Models: Tilda Elfsson, Dailirelis Perez Lopez, Christen Rhule