Unconventional Is the Norm | EDGE Talks to Alena Kalana

One thing I want to do is figure out a better way to leave less of a footprint. I am not at all interested in mass production. What I create is art. – Alena Kalana

Alena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha Hayes Alena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha Hayes

A high school fashion course led Alena Kalana to give fashion design a serious thought.  This award winning designer’s passion has grown into a discipline of creating a “why not?” ethos.  Her design principles are organic without any real structure.  She sketches after the garment cut-and-sew process, which is not typical.  “I don’t start with sketches.  I find the fabric first.  It’s the fabric that is going to dictate how it falls and moves, says Kalana.”  Her unconventional textile choices and experimentation are the basis of her designs.

Alena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha HayesAlena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha Hayes

Each piece in Kalana’s collection, Tibetan Transplant, inspired by Tibetan Nomads, demonstrates continual movement in both fabric and structure – a nod to the tribal nomadic existence of migration that permeates their culture.  A 45 slide presentation of striking images from a costume history class on the Tibetan culture fueled this innovative project.  “There are so many crazy colors, she says.  I liked the idea of mixing patterns, fabrics, and layering that other designers were afraid of.” Through the use of textile upholstery, layering, and her skill of draping, Kalana creates multi-dimensional sculptural ensembles.

Alena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha Hayes Alena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha Hayes

Kalana’s body of work spans multiple collections creating design excellence of timeless looks.  She is an engineer of fashion, utilizing a construction technique that harmoniously blends function and aesthetic.  Her collections are viewed as statement pieces of theatrical visions, as seen on the runway of Fashion Week and art gallery exhibits.  The audience is moved, evoking emotions of awe and astonishment.  “It’s gratifying to create something that people want to own and to wear, but most importantly to appreciate.  My hope is to create pieces that are unique now but will still have relevance in twenty years.”

Alena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha Hayes Alena Kalana Designs, Photo Natasha HayesCongratulations Alena Kalana!  Continue to create art with your bold designs.  I wish you continued success.

Selected work of Alena Kalana’s Tibetan Transplant is exhibited – Blurred Boundaries: Fashion as an Art; 21 September – 11 November, 2018, In the Annex of GraySpace Gallery, Santa Barbara, California.

For more information, click Alena Kalana

All images: Tibetan Transplant collection
Photos: Natasha Hayes @myinfiniteadventure; Stylist: Liese Victoria @bellablankxo; Models: Carla @carla.e.n.; Stephanie @sdelossantos; Agency: Portfolio INTL Modeling Agency; Hair Stylist: Megan @hellahotroots; MUA: Sandra @lilacbat



Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor