To the initiated (and obsessed, like us), designer Christina Kim's Los Angles-based fashion company Dosa is an eternal source of inspiration. Her tiny, under-the-radar home line, produced by hand the world over, has set new standards for the use of natural and recycled materials (many of them fashion off cuts—not a Dosa scrap goes to waste). Dosa has also led the current movement in celebrating age-old crafts and honoring the maker by woking in close collaboration and paying fair wages—which are reflected in the prices (Dosa's wares are made for the person who lives with a choice few things.)
"All of my home designs come from my own needs and reflect the way I live," explains Christina. "The first pieces were poufs stuffed with Polartec scraps because I didn't have any furniture and only wanted pieces that are easy to move. I grew up in Korea, and my work is influenced by my heritage. We didn't have a lot of space so rooms had to have many functions. We always folded up our bedding and put it away. We shifted things around, and the table we ate at was also my desk. I feel comfortable living with very little."
Just back from creating a window installation for Hermès in Ginza, Tokyo, and hosting Dosa Mercantile at Arts ReStore LA at LA's Hammer Museum, the nomadic designer showed us a sampling of what she's been up to.
N.B.: All pieces shown here are available through Dosa, which has an LA store and showroom in its factory, open by appointment, and a New York boutique. To place an order, email DosaLA@Dosainc.com or DosaNYC@Dosainc.com. To visit the LA showroom, call 213-627-3672 ext. 114.
Above: Dosa's handblown glasses are made in Oaxaca, Mexico, at a studio started by an American glassblower who has created an energy efficient setup that uses recycled glass bottles and is powered by biodiesel (from household cooking grease). The studio is staffed by young locals who are trained in the art of glass blowing. The glasses are made in three sizes, approximately 4, 6, and 8 ounces, and sell for $265 for a set of six (two in each size). Two sets are shown here, photographed against Dosa's pattern paper.
Above: Modeled after jellyfish, these sand-formed glass paper weights, $90 each, are made at the same Oaxaca studio as the glasses. "They're a beautiful smoky color and have air bubbles," says Christina. "I love the structure and translucency of jellyfish, and I keep all my windows open, so I need paper weights."
Above: Inspired by the hearts sold outside the Basilica de la Soledad in Oaxaca City, the Dosa Corazon Milagro project was founded as a way to offer employment to women in the nearby town of Ejutla de Crespo, and to make use of the smallest scraps from the company's fashion production. Each heart is hand stitched and hand decorated with beads. A six foot garland (shown here wrapped around handmade paper) is $70 each. Christina reports they look great hung in rows on a wall en masse—stay tuned for an exhibit at the Dosa New York store. She says they've been especially popular as baby, wedding, and housewarming presents, and gifts for people in the hospital. To date, over 66,000 hearts have been individually made using more than 350 pounds of Dosa remnants.
Above: The slightly larger version of the Corazon Milagros are presented individually in boxes handmade of cochineal-dyed paper by paper workshop Taller Arte Papel Oaxaca. "I liked the idea of creating a house for the heart to live in. They can be kept as relics," says Christina. A set of 12 is $70.
Above: The Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, makes these notebooks for Dosa using shredded cotton as well as Dosa fabric scraps. The handmade paper is dyed with tea and hibiscus flowers (some of the interior pages are a pale lilac) and the heavier cover stock is embedded with bits of mica and sequins leftover from Dosa production. The orange tassel is a book mark. A set of six notebooks is $75, and contains an assortment of subtle colors and decorations.
Above: When cookbook writer and anthropoligist Niloufer King gave Christina a favorite old towel of hers, the Niloufer Towel was created—modeled after the textured weave of the original, but detailed with hand-knotted fringe inspired by a Bosnian textile. The khadi cotton is woven on hand looms in villages near Kolkata, India: Dosa reports that hand weaving is the second largest source of livelihood in India's remote and semi-urban populations, and supports 7 million families. "The textured weave of the towel makes it very absorbent, but it's also quick drying," says Christina. She's used organic cotton for the design, but has found that it has a natural waxy finish that takes nearly a dozen washings to remove. The hand size (24 inches by 50 inches), shown here, is $180 for a set of three.
Above: The Niloufer Bath Sheet (42 inches by 94 inches), $100, is available from Tiina the Store, one of the few online sources for Dosa home and clothing designs. Word of advice from Christina: "A towel doesn't have to be just a towel—it can also become a sarong, a tablecloth, a bedcover, a window shade, or a room divider. I'm all for being creative with what you have."
Christina's Kim's Los Angeles live/work loft is featured in our new book Remodelista, A Manual for the Considered Home. And don't miss her novel solution for hiding her kitchen washing machine and dryer on page 290. Also don't miss our past post Shopper's Diary: Dosa 818 in Los Angeles.