It wasn’t until Carolina Lopez Cruz learnt what possibilities were open to her that she really found her creative path. She had grown up in Cali, Colombia and only thought you could go to university to study subjects such as medicine or business. However, on learning about fashion design, she not only decided to enrol, but chose the well-known Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy. “After I got there I realised something was not right, I was not very happy,” she says. “I did not feel it was where I was supposed to be.” Carolina thought this feeling might have been based on where she was living, rather than the course. After a year she applied to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia in the United States, and commenced her studies in 2011. “It has been one of the best decisions that I have made,” she says. While it turns out the fashion design course still wasn’t quite the right fit, she discovered the Fibers Department one day. “I knew that I had found the place where I belonged,” Carolina says. “And as I stepped back I realised that what I love most about clothes is not design, but what it is made out of, the different kinds of fabric, the pattern, the texture and the colours.” She changed her major from fashion design to textile - fibers design - and hasn’t looked back. In May 2015 she graduated and almost straight away gained an internship at Urban Outfitters, where she is currently working.

Which five words best describe you? Quiet, forgetful, passionate, hard-working, creative - and very patient.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I studied textile design in college and after graduating, which was just a couple of months ago, everything started falling into place. After graduating I was looking for a job like crazy, because since I am an international student here in the US, I have a special permit to work for a year, but I had to find a job within the first three months of graduating. I sent emails everywhere. And one morning I woke up and a friend of mine who was interning for free people in Philadelphia, had sent me a text message asking if I was interested in a print and pattern internship in Urban Outfitters Men’s department. I had always dreamed of working at Urban Outfitters and this was my chance. So I applied, had an interview and after a couple of weeks they called me and said yes! I have been interning here since July and we will see what will come next, because I have no idea what is going to happen next. But I am very excited.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Although I am very patient, I get very stressed when I can’t do something that I have been trying for a long time, or a problem that I haven’t been able to fix. And what I have learned is that, although it is really hard, try not to stress, because every problem has a solution and it will get resolved sooner or later. And when you can’t sleep at night because you are stressed about something, my father has always said, “You can’t solve a problem at three in the morning, so go to sleep and it will get resolved in the morning.”

What’s your proudest career achievement? I have been very proud of everything I have achieved. Graduating college with honours, my work getting into a couple of shows, interning at a great brand like Urban Outfitters. But something that I feel very proud and grateful for is being contacted by people that like my work. I just started my career, and knowing that people like what I do makes me happy and excited to continue making and creating new things. 

What’s been your best decision? As of now my best decision has been switching careers from fashion design to textile design. I am very lucky and happy to have found something that I am very passionate about.

Who inspires you? I am mostly inspired by my friends and family. Their support makes me want to continue making things and continue being creative. Also I am very inspired by my college friends, they are the most creative human beings I know and they are always making beautiful things, that inspire me to create.

What are you passionate about? Good design.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Lately I have been more than obsessed with Matisse. So if I could meet someone living or dead today I would say Matisse.

What dream do you still want to fulfill? To continue creating and making things back home in Cali, Colombia, next to my family and friends.

What are you reading? Right now I just started reading a book my cousin recommended called, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

images courtesy of carolina lopez cruz; photography paula sprenger (4)

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