Upstate & Shibori


This is a post I kept meaning to write, and now it feels like the perfect follow up to last week and Art Therapy. Earlier this year, I went on a trip to Boston and New York – Boston is one of my favourite places, and feels like a second home to me. In New York I got to spend some time with my cousins in Brooklyn, which was amazing because I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like. On my last day in New York, we had a breakfast picnic in Prospect Park and my Cousin Lily pulled out the most beautiful pieces of fabric from her bag which had been created using natural dyes; she had been working for a company called Upstate. Ever since, I’ve fallen in love with the pieces they create and shibori.

Upstate started as a shibori scarf store,  after the creator Kalen Kaminski discovered a great vintage wrap at a thrift store in New York. It inspired her to start designing scarves herself, teaching herself the hand-dyeing technique of shibori:

Yes, the scarf that originally started the idea was found upstate,” Kaminski explains, “but it also alludes to the idea of escape—this very special state of mind.” Think vibrant, versatile, effortless shapes that you can wear from “out in the woods to evening in the city,” she says. It’s a look that’s “Boho south of 14th Street. [1]

All their stuff is designed and manufactured in the US; silk dresses, throws and kimonos using natural plants and even avocados! If you’re lucky enough to live in New York, they often run workshops with Jill Lindsey.

I love how Kalen describes the designs and pieces, as having a story behind them:


I’ll go to vintage stores, thrift stores and shop on Ebay for inspirational pieces. Once I pull all of my inspiration together, I’ll sketch and make collages of what I like. Simultaneously, I’ll experiment with different hand dyed techniques and colors. Even our solid fabric has a story behind it. Maybe it’s stonewashed, sandwashed, organic, woven in a particular way… [2]

It’s definitely worth following Upstate’s Instagram page which shows off some of their collections and recent workshops. But if you don’t fancy the international shipping price or live on the other side of the pond like me, you can find natural dye pieces of Etsy too. My favourite Etsy store for this is FlamingoBaby.


Sources: [1] [2] [3] 


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