Kaliko is a natural-dye studio based in Berlin.
Founded in 2016 by Ania Grzeszek, a former architect turned textile artist.
Our mission is to spread love for natural textiles and educate about healthy processes of making cloth.
What we do
sell a selection of craft supplies for textile lovers—natural dyers, weavers and knitters
dye with plants and hand-weave for our line of handmade sustainable textile goods
teach traditional textile-making techniques by running in-person workshops, offering online classes and publishing eBooks
collaborate with international brands on art projects and offer small-batch dyeing services for indie businesses and fellow artists
We set up our business as a reflection of what we want to see more of in the world.
EMPOWERING TEXTILE LOVERS
We offer a curated selection of high-quality craft supplies and DIY kits. We also teach traditional cloth-making techniques to help people slow down and be more mindful of how textiles are actually made.
TAKING CARE OF THE PLANET
Researching and teaching natural dyeing helps us educate about non-toxic predecessors to synthetic dyes. We want to promote healthy alternatives to the conventional textile industry. We work with certified and natural fibers, which are beneficial for the planet and its people.
We choose to operate within our local economy and source all materials exclusively from EU-based small businesses. Local female freelancers support us in offering unique products "Made in Berlin".
DOING NO HARM
Using textile offcuts for small handmade goods and art projects helps us reduce waste. We source 100% bio-degradable paper packaging to minimize our environmental impact.
Why natural fibers?
Natural fibers are gifts of nature.
They come either from plants (cellulose fibers like cotton, linen and hemp) or animals (protein fibers like wool, silk and alpaca). Unlike synthetic fibers, natural fibers are bio-degradable and don't burden the environment. After their lifecycle is over, they can be composted, as long as the dyes used were organic too.
At Kaliko, we source unbleached fibers grown in Europe. We choose to work with GOTS-certified and/or local fibers. We source unbleached organic cotton from Turkey, natural linen from Lithuania, raw hemp from Belgium and pure wool from Germany.
Natural dyes have unique properties: they can be antibacterial, insulate in winter and help cool down in summer. They let our bodies breathe and make sure that our skin—the biggest organ of a human body—is feeling comfortable.
Why organic dyes?
Conventional synthetic dyes are one of the main sources of pollution in the textile industry. They are derived from petrochemicals and often toxic. Before their discovery in 19th century, all colorants were obtained from natural sources. But sadly, this ancestral knowledge got slowly lost during the industrial revolution. Synthetic dyeing on a large scare took over, causing harm to the environment and the people. Synthetic dyeing process requires huge amounts of water and releases toxic substances to our rivers afterwards.
Today, natural dyes are getting re-discovered, as a healthy alternative to synthetic color. Natural dyes can come from plants, insects and minerals. They need a natural fixative to bind with fibers.
In our studio, we dye our products by hand, using metal salts as pre-fixatives and natural dyes as sources of color.
Why locally made?
Our main objective for setting up a sustainable business was to develop a short supply chain. We reduce the environmental impact of logistics by choosing partners in our region. Working with businesses based in Europe also allows us to make sure that their processes match our standards.
We worked hard on building relationships with European producers, suppliers and manufacturers. Our fibers are grown and spun in Europe. We collect many dyes by hand, and even grow some of them ourselves. Our craft supplies are made with help from local family businesses. All sewing is done by Berlin-based freelancers.
We enjoy working with people we know and who we have a personal connection with. Kaliko's goal is to support our local economy and to have a positive social impact.
I studied architecture and worked as an architect for 5 years prior to pursuing my own business. I started Kaliko as a side hustle while still having my office job but quickly transitioned to working with textiles full-time in 2017.
As a former architect, I am deeply interested in the environments we live in. Instead of creating new environments, I create from and within the environment I find myself in. I started to work with plant dyes to explore this collaborative process. My textiles are created carefully, slowly, and with intention. I believe in conscious creativity.
In addition to running my natural-dye studio I also make art. Textiles are my language. There are endless possibilities and endless surprises. Materials, colours, patterns, techniques - their characteristics have a big impact on my work.