Jessica Hemmings

Textile Writer

Dosa: deliberately different



From her sun-drenched studio and showroom high above the crush of downtown Los Angeles Christina Kim, the woman behind the women’s clothing and home accessories label dosa, cultivates a unique aesthetic. With its strict diet of ethical production and thirst for obscure traditions, dosa has become synonymous with a desire to value the production of an object as much as its outcome. At the helm is Christina Kim, a woman blessed with an ability to synthesize inspiration from far-flung corners of the globe. A passion for the textile – a weaver’s love of cloth, a knitter’s love of fibre, an embroiderer’s love of stitch – is palpable throughout each collection.

The artisans’ hand is evident throughout dosa’s collections, but it is thoroughly international one that traces Kim’s own exhaustive research trips: China, France, India, Chile… the list is a long one. Part of dosa’s mission involves a revival of textile crafts to the very highest standards of production. “Sharing hand skills,” Kim explains, “is a beautiful means of communication.” Interpreted through the distinct voice of dosa, this means that every fibre, stitch and hand carved button or bead is counted and considered. Production takes place in Los Angeles, in a vast hybrid space, which doubles as factory and showroom. When production ties are established with craft communities overseas, such as the delicate resist dye work of northern India, elements of the work are subtlety incorporated from the regions output into each collection to ensure continuity for the communities’ livelihoods.

But dosa could also be considered a bit of a textile maverick. The textures of hand spun wool and rough-cut diamonds are set against ephemeral silks, delicate beading and – just in case you thought everything was understated – even the neon coloured prints of the Hawaiian Islands. The style is utterly contemporary, but dosa returns to dress an attention to detail that has been absent for generations. It is the outstanding detail of the work, easily overlooked in today’s race against time, which is both the signature of this label and the ethos that drives it. “Labour rather than resource intensive,” is Kim’s description of the exquisite work dosa celebrates.

Selvedge magazine (issue 1, 2005)