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Made in Britain

September 18, 2017

Spotlight on British brands: Kalopsia Collective

By: Luke

Dashes Graphic

It’s no secret, we have a passion for British talent and creativity. In our Spotlight on British brands series, we’ve already chatted about handmade childrenswear with KJF-From Scratch and woven accessories with Arra Textiles.

This week, we catch up with Kalopsia Collective – a micro-manufacturing company that creates sustainable Scottish textiles for brands and designers all over the world.
Along with their own work, owners Adam and Nina also host regular exhibitions that address the social and environmental issues faced by the textiles industry, with an aim to encourage the public to rethink their perception of textiles as an art form.

How did Kalopsia Collective start?

We started the company in 2012 as a textiles collective – a ‘kalopsia’ is a delusion in which things appear more beautiful than they really are.

Because textiles differ from other forms of art in terms of social status and economic reward,  we wanted to question the relationship between textiles and fine art – and demand a new dialogue around it.

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You’ve previously done some amazing temporary projects like your gallery and The Facility. Can you tell us a bit more about those?

We launched our first exhibition, ‘What is Textiles’, in Stockholm in 2012 and travelled around the UK exhibiting works by over 50 international makers. It was through this series that we were offered the privilege of opening our first ‘Kalopsia Gallery’ in Edinburgh. We exhibited some truly amazing works on nostalgia, identity, alienation, culture and death – all conveyed through textiles.

Kalopsia has also been part of other projects: making costumes for international circus performance groups, lecturing and teaching at a variety of universities, and running environmental feasibility studies.

We’ve been incredibly lucky to have been given so many opportunities to explore ideas of what contemporary textiles practice could look like.


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We love your goal – to raise the visibility of contemporary textiles within the art community. How did you go about achieving this?

We questioned it. We lectured, exhibited and wrote about it. And we got questioned, neglected and ignored. This fed into our goal inspired us to continue working. We continually examine the textiles and apparel industry through our work and we hope to create a new and higher standard of textiles manufacturing practice.

You define yourselves as micro-manufacturers, and have worked closely with Zero Waste Scotland. Why is ethical production so important?

Our goal is to minimise the environmental impact of our business by carefully considering everything and everyone who is affected by our manufacturing.

To us, micro-manufacturing means reducing the carbon footprint, producing high quality items in the UK and ensuring that the products are made ethically. All our products are manufactured in Leith, Scotland, allowing our clients to easily monitor the environment their products are developed in.

Working with Zero Waste Scotland, we’ve been developing resource-efficient manufacturing techniques that reduce waste. We work closely with our clients to make products as environmentally conscious as possible.

What is your next big goal for Kalopsia Collective?

The next big goal is launching Assemble Apparel – a production service developing womenswear in an ethical and sustainable way. We’re so excited to see what’s possible with this service.

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Do you have a unique brand or product you’d love to share?

Pop over to our Instagram and send us a message – we’d love to hear from you!

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