Designer of the week - Kallio

Good morning, and thanks for stopping by! It’s with great pleasure today that I introduce the lovely Karina from handmade label Kallio. Karina is an Aussie, living and designing in NYC, and today she’s sent us one of her impeccably crafted and sustainably styled children’s shirt dresses to review.

Kallio Upcycled Handmade Children's Shirt Dress

The Product Review

I’ve always loved items of clothing with an artistic flair and a creative story, and the Kallio shirt dress has a little of column A and a little of column B… or should I say, a lot! Each dress is crafted from 100% reclaimed cotton shirting, pulled from one of Dad’s business shirts. The result is a serious dose of style, but with a laid-back attitude that quite frankly makes me wish for one in grown-up size!

My tester this week is 3.5 year old Danika, who rocked her Kallio dress with a pair of saltwater sandals and a swanky fedora that I picked up at the Art & Craft Market while cruising down the coast. Her mum remarked, “I think this is now the coolest outfit in Dani’s closet, I’m kind of jealous”.

Things to love about this dress are many, but let’s begin with the stylish silhouette. The tie up sash ensures a perfect fit, the pockets add a touch of whimsy, and the curved hem adds modern flair. The details, such as contrasting bias around the sleeves and the tiny splash of red on the belt loops, finish off the garment in true artisan style. I also like that the dress is easy to care for (machine washable) and has room to grow (easy to layer to take you through the seasons).

The Verdict… Beautifully designed and exquisitely crafted.

Kallio Upcycled Handmade Children's Shirt Dress

The Indie Label

Karina launched her label Kallio in July 2012, in response to the huge amount of “waste” produced by the textile/fashion industry. Karina explains, “By re-imagining vintage garments into new clothing for a new generation Kallio hopes to create a sustainable option that offers one-of-a-kind, quality and classic clothing that is bound to become an everyday favourite”.

Karina’s business name, “Kallio”, is also her surname, but she notes its importance in capturing the spirit of the label, and more importantly, her inspiration, “Kallio is the name of my husband, who is one of the most inspiring people I know, and without his loving support I would not have started this adventure. So in many ways it is a dedication to him and our life together”.

The Creative Mind

Karina is an Aunt of 6 (soon to be 7) nieces and nephews ranging from 14 months to 14 years, who provide ongoing inspiration for her designs. She embraces their free spirits, honest, funny and totally unexpected whimsy to design comfortable clothes that reflect this same spirit. Her emphasis is on providing clothing that is easy-to-wear, classic, made-to-last and styled more for comfort and practicality than trends.

Karina explains, “The Kallio design process is quite a challenge and therefore so much fun. The current collections focus on vintage men’s shirts. I drape the men’s shirts on a kid’s dress form with an idea in mind and then cut, gather, pleat, tuck and stitch the fabric into whatever is being designed; sleeves become pants, collars become pocket flaps, shirt tales become skirts, and mismatched fabrics are fused together to create one-of-a-kind designs”.

The Whimsical Spirit

Here’s three fascinating facts about Karina (in her own words):

  1. I’m an Aussie that’s been living in the US for almost 10 years but when ever I have guests from home visit and they ask me if I need anything from OZ I always reply with a resounding “Tim Tams, PLEASE!!”

  2. I love people watching and luckily live in one of the best cities for it… New York City.

  3. I love to start the day by practicing Yoga.

The Handmade Collection

Kallio offers a OOAK collection of children’s garments, re-imagined from 100% cotton reclaimed shirting fabrics. You can purchase a gorgeous garment online through the Kallio Etsy store, or visit Karina on facebook for all the latest news and special offers. Custom orders and international shipping are available.

Kallio Handmade Children's Dresses, Clothing, Upcycled


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