by Tania Ginoza on July 1, 2014 · 6 comments

Don’t you hate it when people say (or write) “I die”? Me too. Yes Rachel Zoe, I’m talking to you. However, when I stumbled upon the Spring Summer 2014 line by Upstate, those are the exact words that ran through my head as my jaw dropped to the floor.

Kalen Kaminski and Astrid Chastka founded Upstate out of Brooklyn in 2010 based on a mutual love of making things. They were inspired by the Japanese textile art of shibori. Shibori is the binding, pleating, wrapping or stitching of fabric prior to dying to create patterns, both simple and elaborate.


I’ve always loved a jacket that get its bones from the traditional kimono or happi. Although the kimono inspired cardigan or jacket has been a hot trend the past few summers at all price points, it is by no means a new shape. The soft flowing shape is a classic. Designers in Hawaii, Asia and beyond have created pieces inspired by the kimono or happi for decades. My own wardrobe includes jackets from Winter Kate as well as vintage happi from Japan. Another favorite is a cropped army trench by Atsuro Tayama with kimono like sleeves purchased on a trip to Hong Kong a decade ago.

The hand dyed creations by Upstate are tempting long-term additions to my collection. Their unique pieces can be worn over a casual day outfit, as a touch of boho flair for a night out or as luxurious lounge wear. I covet the kimono jacket on the bottom left but would welcome any item from their offerings which range from sarongs to elegant jumpsuits.


Upstate also wants to dress your home. Linens and throw pillows in their shibori patterns are an easy way to add interest and a touch of art to your space. They also make slouchy totes and envelope clutch bags.

All images via Upstate.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Roxanne Darling July 2, 2014

I have been a long term fan of shibori indigo patterns. :-)

I think it is time to bring some happi coats back into my life too. Thanks Tania!


Tania Ginoza July 23, 2014

You can wear the happi coats to the Bon Dances! Have you been? I’ve been meaning to attend and glad I didn’t give up all of mine (I have a black silk left).


Duckie July 2, 2014

That bottom left kimono jacket – I die! I’ve already got several kimono/happi style jackets in my closet and I’ve even started creating one myself. I can’t get enough of them, and they’re really perfect for the warmer areas like Hawaii and Guam since they’re so light and easy to wear.


Tania Ginoza July 23, 2014

Oh you sew?! I’m a novice and am still learning. They are perfect since other jackets are so fitted under the arm. Kimono gives a more airy coverage.


save. spend. splurge. July 15, 2014

For some reason Shibori / tie dye makes me think too much of a hippie culture. Or maybe it’s just that it’s too.. random for me. I like stripes, squares, lines…

Still, I’d LOVE a kimono jacket from them.


Tania Ginoza July 23, 2014

I think of it as bohemian and arty but I do think it depends on where one lives too. That’s why I love that they have home products, would look lovely in a modern home if it’s not one’s thing to wear it. Kimono jackets also make nice lounge or resort wear too (over a bikini or pjs). I think where Upstate used the Shibori in the more structured tailored pieces would easily pair with boots and a black jacket in a city. I love strong & uniform graphic images too and in a city, working downtown, it was more prevalent in my work wardrobe.


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