It was on the beach – the ocean, actually – that dawned on me once again, gripping the sail against the ocean’s wind, my hair filled with foamy surf, returning ashore, how vast and fluid can the concept of beginning be. When the brand INA KOELLN was created, on a hot and sunny day in Lisbon (as the days here usually are) in 2013. I thought then that was the true beginning of my life’s journey – being able to start making a living by doing the only thing I chose to do with my life, which was creating and designing things as unique as the way I perceived the world.
But, of course, that wasn’t really the beginning: it actually all started when I arrived in Portugal, running from something uncertain while chasing other uncertainties, as lost as I could ever be and more than ready to seize the day and start anew. But before Lisbon there was Australia, and before that there was London and Paris; maybe the true beginning could be traced back to that time where, as a child, watching the treetops dancing slowly in the wind, on the outskirts of the blackforest, I first had the sudden realization that nature was something far more beautiful and immense that I ever realized it could be, and should be preserved, revered and reclaimed. And then there I was, back to the present, surfing the waves, blinded by the sun reflected on the Atlantic, feeling like everything was beginning again.
The notion that nature should power our sense of fashion has always been the cornerstone of INA KOELLN as a brand, and it has been with us since the beginning – whenever the beginning was. Of course we, as humans, constantly need to create stories and narratives, so our existence can be provided with a context and our lives with meaning. But, really, that seems to matter little when you’re surfing on a deserted beach and have to be back ashore in ten minutes, or you’ll be late for your meeting.
On the beach that day, ready to change clothes and hop on the car to visit the workshops that will be manufacturing our brand new collection, it actually felt like everything was starting over, from the top. Maybe it was the vast emptiness of sand and sea or that unique rush surf provides, but it really felt like a new beginning, almost whether I wanted it or not. And it felt good. It felt that, since that warm and sunny day in Lisbon, when INA KOELLN was created, it has never stopped growing, changing, evolving into something better and new. And I’d like to think that, once again, this is only the beginning.