Inspiring Women: Former SATC Stylist Sofia Karvela On Launching Her Own Brand, Wknd Nation

by Freya Drohan

Women’s History Month might have ended, but why should we stop shining a well-deserved spotlight on those who never cease to amaze and inspire us? Next up in our series is Sofia Karvela, the co-founder of new ‘stylewear’ brand (more on that later!) Wknd Nation. The Athens-native cut her teeth working for none other than Patricia Field, which propelled her own fashion styling career to dizzying heights. Here, the mom-of-two tells The Daily about this new chapter, and why the timing was finally right. 

What’s the journey been like up until launching Wknd Nation?
I’m originally from Athens, Greece. I worked as a freelance fashion stylist in New York City for many years—from editorial to wardrobe—but I always wanted to start my own business. A little over a year ago, I was set up on a coffee date with my co-founder Phuong Ireland by our mutual investor. Phuong and I came from very different backgrounds, but we hit it off and had an instant connection. I had the creative vision and Phuong has the business acumen that I lacked: we are the perfect complements to each other. When we closed our funding, I stopped taking on other jobs so I could devote myself entirely to Wknd Nation. I’m not going to lie, it’s been an insane year. Building a brand is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but also the most rewarding.

Sofia Karvela and Phuong Ireland (Courtesy)

How did you first get into styling? What are some career highlights?
Well, I moved to New York from Athens to become a movie star at 16-years-old, and soon realized that I was terrible! My backup plan was styling. I had always liked fashion and had a pretty good eye. Then I met Patricia Field. I hustled my ass off until she agreed to let me be her intern and I was lucky enough to get to learn from the best while spending time on set with her for Sex and the City and Younger. I continued on to work as a freelance fashion stylist after signing with The Wall Group for many years, until I co-founded Wknd Nation.

What are your favorite memories from working with Patricia Field?
Her impeccable attention to every detail and her ability to make a character come to life through clothing. She taught me how to not be afraid and to be bold. How to layer and the importance of going for the unexpected. She’s also a big fan of keeping it fresh and bright. She’s all about creating a trend rather than following.

 

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What one piece of career advice from your styling days will always stick with you?
Go with what feels right to you. Feel comfortable in your skin.

Tell us about Wknd Nation. What was the impetus for starting the brand?
Wknd Nation was designed to blend weekday to weekend—classic styles with a twist meant for all aspects of your life from home and work to social and everything in-between. As a working mother with my own business, I love to be comfortable and I had a hard time finding cool, inexpensive pieces that were appropriate to wear out but which still felt comfy and cozy. And since I come from a career in styling, the actual design and fit of each piece had to be perfect. I find the combo of style and comfort to be ideal but also hard to find all in one place.

 

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What’s your elevator pitch for it?
Wknd Nation is a new vision of dressing for home, work, and social, with a cool, comfortable lineup of not-so-basic basics that live up and brighten the 24/7 life hustle!

What does your new term #stylewear mean?
Stylish and Comfortwear. Because comfort has officially gone stylish!

You’ve launched with seven pieces—tell us about the offering and what we need to know.
All of our styles are made with buttery-soft fabrics in classic silhouettes with a twist—from pre-styled cuts to detailed stitching—and it’s truly comfort meets style. They’re all staples, but the Homework Social Sweatshirt and Power Tee are my personal go-tos. One thing we knew was that each piece in the collection had to be tailored to perfection. The Power Tee alone went through 12 fittings just to get the roll sleeve right. And you will not find a better Jogger! We fit these on multiple people to ensure the fit around all the curves would feel great on any size, and no matter how much you pull the drawstring, there won’t be any bunching. The button details on the cuffs of the Jogger allow you to wear it in two ways: flared to fit over a heel or snug to look great with a sneaker.

What’s one message you want to get across with the brand?
To like yourself …a lot. To not give up comfort for any trends that don’t speak to you. To accept the mess that life can be and to try to laugh at it as much as possible. Being comfortable in your skin is the sexiest, trendiest, most stylish look you’ll ever rock. Wknd Nation is more than just clothing: it’s a mindset. I want people to feel completely themselves when they wear the brand.

 

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Can you share some styling tips for the pieces with us?
Accessories and attitude will make or break a look. Decide what you are going for. And then do it unapologetically. The #1 tip I give my clients is to make sure you feel 100% you in whatever you wear.

What did COVID teach you about your own wardrobe, shopping habits, and personal style?
For me, COVID really didn’t change much about the way I dress, except my jeans keep getting tighter and my socks funkier! Ok…perhaps I do spend more on sneakers now! But I think it’s because I’m getting older and I run around too much to be in my Rossis [Gianvito Rossi] all day—not so much to do with a pandemic. I value timelessness more than ever and I care even less about trends. I feel like feeling good and choosing my personal comfort over anything is the only way I get to live my best life.

What does the future hold for Wknd Nation? What’s next for the brand?
So much! We have some exciting new drops rolling out over the next couple of months and we’re continuing to build out our styling hotline where we’ll eventually feature some guest stylists as well. I’m also trying to do more live conversations on Instagram—our community really seems to be responding to those. Stay up to date with us @WkndNation and at WkndNation.com!

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