Kalen Kaminski and Astrid Chastka Make our Shirts
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.
Astrid: These are part of the resist. The fabric is smushed with a clamp up against these, and that’s where it stays white. I think they’re really beautiful. We cut these especially for our patterns.
Kalen: Astrid used to be an architect, and she has access to a CNC router, which cuts shapes that she draws with AutoCAD. We’re going for a more a graphic-geometric theme rather than psychedelic for our next few seasons.
Astrid: The piece of fabric is 55-by-29-inches. It shrinks in the dry process—and it gets so much softer.
Kalen: This folding pattern is an accordion fold, which you do for pretty much every shibori piece so the dye is even throughout the whole thing. Then we clamp the wood pieces to it.
Kalen: The dye bath is in the bathroom—studio number two. We have to put gloves on. Our families have expressed concern for our skin. We shake up the soda ash and salt for a while, pour it the bucket, let it soak for 30 to 40 minutes, and then put the dye in and the fabric.
Kalen: We use gray dye here. When we first started, I got so nervous. I would agitate it every ten minutes.
Astrid: It sits overnight usually. This is a composite dye, so when you don’t constantly stir up the water, it breaks down into separate colors. When we take it out, we unfold it and run the shower to rinse it. And then we take it to the laundromat and wash them. It’s really funny because everyone else has their laundry and we just have giant shibori. Then our amazing tailor makes the fabric into shirts!
Kalen: We had so many pieces that we were like, what is happening here? And where is the pink coming from?
Astrid: It’s really funny too how it takes us awhile to get used to change.