Madison artist Aliza Rand has launched Pikku Takki, a new kids’ clothing line, as an alternative to fast, throwaway fashion.
“It’s important to appreciate clothing and what goes into making it,” Rand says. “Back in the 1920s or ‘30s kids would each have one pair of boots of really awesome quality, and one or two awesome dresses. Everything that was made was very special and to be appreciated.”
As a mom herself, Rand understands the qualities necessary for long-lasting children’s clothing: It must be practical and durable, as well as beautiful and affordable.
Pikku Takki means “little jacket” in Finnish. The first run includes reversible t-shirts and kimono-inspired jackets for children of six months to five years. The shirts and jackets are unisex. The shirts are reversible and may be buttoned from both sides. The kimono-style jackets can be worn for about a year as the child grows.
“Color is really exciting for boys and girls,” Rand says. “As a parent, when I look in the boys’ section of any store, it’s just very drab: browns, black, green, blue. It’s sort of repetitive.” She concentrates on vibrant colors for kids of both sexes.
Rand is partners with her mother-in-law, Sabine Kaipainen, a couture designer based in Switzerland. The two launched their first clothing collaboration in 2011 at an art show in Berlin. Soon after, they discussed their vision for a children’s clothing line that would promote ethical and social awareness.
Kaipainen designed the clothes and sourced the vibrant textiles using her connections in Paris fashion. The textiles in the first run originate from the Netherlands, the UK and Africa.
Kaipainen sewed the initial samples in her studio, and the rest of the 600 pieces were made in a factory in Los Angeles.
Rand is seeking to expand Pikku Takki by collaborating with textile designers from different parts of the world. Her first collaboration is already underway with Meeta Mastani, the fall 2016 Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence at UW-Madison.
Mastani is co-founder of a fair trade craft and textile business based in India. She employs local women to create textiles using traditional methods, including dying and rubbing the fabric with mud, and fixing the pattern with herbs. Rand has ordered six designs and plans to have the fabric shipped to Madison to be sewn by local independent seamstresses.
“This is affordable, but it’s not cheap clothing,” Rand says. “It’s not throwaway clothing. It’s the kind of thing you can have one child wear, and the next child wear, and then it could be passed to a friend.”
Pikku Takki’s shirts and jackets are available at its online store pikkutakki.com. Prices for shirts range from $35-48, and jackets are $75-90.