At the age of 15, karim started selling jeans as a summer job in a boutique in Germany...
Born in Germany in 1967, German-Egyptian born Karim Guest grew up in Germany, France, Italy, and Egypt. At the age of 15, he started selling jeans as a summer job in a boutique in Germany and, by the age of 16, he worked for a retailer as a buyer and freelance designer for their private label.
After graduating from German Gymnasium, he began medical school - following in his parents' footsteps as doctors. He soon recognised, even then, that his true passion was fashion, and moved to New York to pursue his studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
After graduating, HE workED for some of the fashion greats...
After graduating, he went to work for some of the fashion greats: at Donna Karan New York he was responsible for menswear global sales. He then moved to Paris to work for Group Alain Adjadj, at the time the largest private retailer of luxury brands in France, Monaco, and Great Britain. As head of new business development, Karim was responsible for getting labels like Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Kiton, Voyage, and Gian Franco Ferre to open their own brand-name stores in Paris, London, and Monte Carlo.
At the same time, the creative mind was constantly working on developing his own label and, together with Alain Adjadj, designed a private-label menswear collection that was sold in all of the group's multi-brand stores.
After returning to Donna Karan New York as Senior Vice President, it was still time for a new start after 15 years in the fashion business. In search of new inspiration and fulfilment, Karim turned his creative attention to interior and landscape design and art consulting.
after extended stays in New York and Los Angeles, he incorporated the influences of both cities into his fashion DNA.
Karim’s personal style changed over the years. Back in his fashion business days, Karim wore mostly made-to-measure suits and shoes. But, after extended stays in New York and Los Angeles, he incorporated the influences of both cities into his fashion DNA. Cosmopolitan New York and laid-back Los Angeles have both influenced Karim's style.
T-shirts, V-neck cashmere sweaters, chinos, and sneakers have become his chosen "work uniform." Most of the pieces were made by his tailor in New York. His requirements: comfortable and casual for his time on the road, while still making a statement, with pieces of the highest quality.
After being repeatedly asked by clients where he bought his clothes, he finally decided to launch the luxury Karim Guest New York label.
After being repeatedly asked by clients where he bought his clothes, he finally decided to launch the luxury Karim Guest New York label. His inspiration: translating comfort and a relaxed feel into a high-end, top-quality look, that was compatible with doing business. He launched his own knitwear collection, Karim Guest New York Menswear, in October 2018. The vision was that of a modern, clean, and sustainable luxury menswear line produced in Germany, using only the best luxury yarns available on the global market, combined with the highest standards of craftsmanship.
But this was not the ultimate goal. Karim, together with his business partner, Anton Schumann, wanted to create a platform for creative minds - giving them the possibility to design and realize their own authentic collections, which also follow his standards for quality and craftsmanship.
Thus, THE GUESTLIST was born.
All designs are washed to achieve an ultimate softness and luxury, with the wash itself being specifically developed for each yarn.
Creating the Karim Guest New York collections for THE GUESTLIST, Karim Guest had a very clear vision of the designs and the clients that he wanted to reach. As the knitwear is made using only the best Italian, Australian, Irish and Scottish yarns, it is imperative that only the highest standards of quality are followed. Each piece is 100% made in Germany, with 0 toxins used in the manufacturing processes, focusing on an ultimate goal of being 100% sustainable.
All designs are washed to achieve an ultimate softness and luxury, with the wash itself being specifically developed for each yarn. The most sought after pieces are made in cashmere, followed by super geelong wool, lambswool, and cashmere blends. For spring, his focus is more on cottons, linens, silks and summer cashmeres. Across the Karim Guest New York collections, you will find his signature stripe, a seasonless bestseller.
Clothing that makes you see the man, and not just the clothes..
Clothing that makes you see the man, and not just the clothes, is a quintessential characteristic to the collection. It’s as if a client wearing them would finish a successful meeting and leave their audience thinking that he or she looked great, without being able to specify that they were wearing something identifiable, like funny socks or a weird pattern.
“My collections reflect the impressions of mine. They are influenced by a lifestyle of traveling – I like to be comfortable in my clothes. I want quality in the products,” says Karim. “I design modern and clean luxury fashion. I am constantly on the move. I live in New York and also spend time in Los Angeles and Berlin,” he continues. “I love the urban clean silhouettes of Manhattan, the relaxed attitude of Los Angeles and the fantastic colours I see in the art galleries of Berlin.”
Karim’s no-attitude approach is not the only factor that sets him apart.
As much as the emphasis is placed on utmost luxury and absolute quality, Karim’s no-attitude approach is not the only factor that sets him apart. Breaking from the norms of the fashion industry, in a highly intelligent manner, is important to Karim. His clothing is made to be worn by all those who are interested in his designs, regardless of their size. His decision to offer everything from XS to 5-XL has proven to be a popular one, with the entire range of sizes selling well. This break-away is continued by his choice to not shoot with models. Rather, he has selected interesting men, ranging from older teenagers to those in their sixties. This age range is representative of, and therefore far more relatable to, his actual clientele.
Ultimate comfort is what gives the Karim Guest New York collections a distinctive edge.
A few boyfriend-ish styles were being worn by women who love his work, and the Karim Guest Womenswear Collection was launched in Fall 2019. This collection was designed by Susanne Kempf-Hartenstein. Karim felt that she spoke the same design language, and he knew he needed a woman to design clothing specifically for women.
With a natural eye for proportions, learnt while living in Japan, Karim’s clothing is intriguing. You’ll notice the subtle textures woven between interesting surface structures, developed by Karim himself through specific knitting techniques while working with the manufacturing team in Thüringen.
Exquisite quality and craftsmanship is involved throughout the manufacturing process, with everything being done towards the goal of ensuring that clients feel great while they look great.
Ultimate comfort is what gives the Karim Guest New York collections a distinctive edge - and it can be worn from the week into the weekend, and effortlessly transition from day to night. Everything is easy to combine - meaning that you don’t need to take the time to decide what goes specifically with what in your wardrobe. You can simply choose what you feel the most comfortable in on a given day, with the confidence that it will fit effortlessly with whatever else you choose, and move on.