Saturday, August 1, 2009

Local Designer Profile: Koa Designs/ Cristina Godette

I discovered Koa Designs through the 'Shop Local' function on I was immediately impressed by the vibrant colors, bold shapes and delicate painting of the pieces. The craftsmanship and detailing are consistent and the heart & soul of the designer are so obvious in the work, I was an instant fan!

Koa Designs was founded by Cristina Godette. She has graciously agreed to be the first Raleigh Street Fashion Featured Local Designer!

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Cristina Godette. I was born and raised right here in Raleigh, NC.

What first made you want to become a designer?

I can't say that I actually made a conscious decision to become a designer because I grew up in a very creative environment so designing just came naturally for me.

What kind of creative environment? Artists in the family?

Well when I was a child my mother was especially supportive. She noticed that I took a special interest in the creative arts (singing, drawing, dancing, etc.) and she would always find ways to keep me involved in related activities. My uncle was a professional dancer, writer/director and a Broadway actor and although he passed away in my childhood I believe that same creative gift he possessed lives on in me.

How long have you been designing/working as Koa Designs?

I actually started off as Cristina's Jewelry in 2005 and since then my designs evolved and I soon changed my business name to Koa Designs in 2009. I guess you can say it has been a four year work in progress.

Where does the name "Koa" originate?

Koa, pronounced koe-wah is Swahili for bold and attractive. I wanted a name that embodied the soulful, ethnic flair and the beautiful boldness of my jewelry.

What inspires you?

Many things inspire me but, what inspires me the most are all types of people, nature and the emotions of music.

Could you describe your creative process?

I guess you could say my creative process comes simply when I see shapes and colors in everything from a building to beautiful dress that grabs my attention. I never "think" I just do and the design ideas always flow.

How long does it take you to create a piece, from the inspiration to the finished product?

The time it takes me to create a piece from start to finish varies greatly. Sometimes I'll have instant inspirations and I'll complete several pieces in just a day. However, other times I may start pieces and get "designer's block" and I'll usually spend a day or two just doing color combinations in my mind, I'll daydream or listen to music and after a few days I'll complete the pieces.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?

I'm fortunate to be able to make a living creating things but, down time is always great and apart from designing I enjoy hanging out with my husband & my family. I have to mention that I'm starting a non-profit called 'The Koa Initiative', which will be a program dedicated to the education and empowerment of young ladies of all races in our community. This is a project that I'm deeply passionate about and I also see this as an opportunity to give back all that has been given to me!

What possession do you most cherish?

Believe it or not the possession I cherish most are the memories of my mom and dad buying my first coloring sets, it always sticks out in my mind.

How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is what I call, " urban funk". I'm drawn to rich and vibrant colors I LOVE crazy printed tees (dressy or casual), a great pair of jeans, cute heels and of course I love to wear pieces from my jewelry collection!

Can you tell me about the tee shirt you're wearing (in your photo)? The earrings are your own design, right?

The t-shirt I'm wearing in the photo is a store purchase but, I feel it definitely represents my bold style, my vibrant personality and my love for comfortable clothing. Yes, the earrings in this photo are one of my designs and you can see my favorite color is plum!

What is your favorite book, movie and musical group?

My favorite movie is the Notebook it's a great timeless story, my favorite book is Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston and my absolute favorite band is The Fray. Although I like most music, they're my all time favorite!

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