Would you pay £600 for a jacket made from recycled handkerchiefs? If you knew it was lovingly handmade by Dosa, Christina Kim’s ethical fashion and homewares label, then perhaps you would.
As many of her fabrics are special, they have been saving the scraps from one season’s designs and utilizing them in the next. As a new season rolls around, they sort through all the fabric, sew the pieces together and make new yardages to incorporate into the next collection.
First known for her simple slip dresses and pajama pants, the collection of recycled fabrics has allowed her to become more craft-like and customized in the design of her garments. It has changed the way she does business. Firstly it’s more physical as she herself sorts through the scraps. Secondly this way of working is extremely complicated and requires a team of staff that believes in the ethos of recycling.
Recycling is now so integral to Dosa, that 50 percent of its fall 2009 Traveler collection is made with fabric from the previous season. Each item is identified with a small plastic circle that bears the universal symbol for recycling.
Not only does it find new purposes for old material, it's also created a launch pad for new projects in developing countries. By utilizing craft traditions and women’s handwork she is able to create garments that are unique, beautiful and ensure that the maker is always intrigued and inspired by each garment.
Dosa collaborates with, for example, the craftswomen of S.E.W.A. (the Self-Employed Women’s Association) to transform tiny bits of Khadigram khadi (a hand-spun and hand-woven Indian fabric), Liberty cotton and African wax prints into colorful patchwork belts and bracelets. The women of S.E.W.A also created the aforementioned handkerchief jacket.
So, back to that jacket.
A project where every piece was not only one of a kind, but allowed the individual crafts-woman to bring their creativity to fruition. Procured on EBay the handkerchiefs, once they arrived Dosa’s muse arranged all the handkerchiefs into individual garments. They were then sent to S.E.W.A where they were basted, sewn and whipstitched to create the beauty of these garments.
Back they came to LA, where they were documented, garment stories written and finally, they were dispatched to a place where you could buy one, for what seems now like a very small price to pay.
image courtesy of dosa