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astrid chastka and kalen kaminski

OF upstate

When Kalen Kaminski (left) and Astrid Chastka met—they were introduced by a friend about four years ago—they had a “love at first sight” encounter, as Kalen puts it. One of the first things they bonded over: “We both have a huge appreciation for shacks—little shack houses,” explains Kalen. The second: a drive to create. “We both love working with our hands, and we both had a lot of down time with freelance.”

Soon enough, after unearthing an amazing vintage wrap at a thrift store, they were exploring shibori processes, mixing dyes, and figuring out how to clamp wood shapes cut with a CNC Router (a skill acquired from Astrid’s architectural training) to fabric. Their dabbling was the start of what would become their line of striking dyed textiles: Upstate. The name for the line comes from the idea of getting away. “When we were working with our hands in our studio in Brooklyn, and it was a way for us to

instantly escape from the city. I think a lot of people with creative outlets can relate to that—that it can transport you somewhere,” Kalen adds.

The demand for their handcrafted creations came fast, and they were faced with the big question: What’s next? “Everyone’s like, ‘What’s your expansion plan?’ We’re like, ‘Buy more buckets?’” Astrid says. “It’s so hard to think about what we want to make for next season when we have to process orders. We’re starting to look at dye houses so we can do more. But dyeing by hand is really fun—I find it to be really therapeutic.”


Behind The Scenes

  • Profile_tumblr_lozwckposn1qazwkm
    Kalen Kaminski and Astrid Chastka Make our Shirts You’ll dye over how good they look. (Yes, we made that joke.)Dye supplies In the time that Astrid Chastka and Kalen Kaminski have spent standing over dye buckets and folding fabric just so, they’ve learned that it’s pretty tough—okay, impossible—to predict exactly what a shirt, scarf, or poncho will look like. But they’ve also developed some tactics to ensure that each piece is something damn special. Here’s how the duo created the 31 singularly unique tops they made just for us. Scoop ... READ MORE »
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    Kalen and Astrid Think Big in a Really Small Space Don’t worry: The bathroom serves as studio #2.Kalen (left) and Astrid in their workspace.A lot of the designers who we come across work out of their homes, but few have embraced tight quarters as enthusiastically as Astrid Chastka and Kalen Kaminski, who dream-up and dye their line, Upstate, from a nook in the Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, apartment that Kalen shares with her boyfriend (Jeff Thrope, the man behind the blog Cold Splinters). Here, the twosome shows us what they’ve done with the ... READ MORE »
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    Kalen Kaminski and Astrid Chastka Let the Dye Move Them The twosome has learned that they can’t always control the outcome—and that’s a good thing.If the dyeing process was a novel, the rinsing out stage would be the climax. “There’s all this dark, murky water, and you’re like, ‘What’s it going to turn out like?!” explains Astrid Chastka, one half of the vibrant Brooklyn-based line Upstate. “You can take the same fabric, fold it the same way, and use the same dye—and still, they’re all different.” That means Astrid and her partner Kalen Kami... READ MORE »