CHRISTINA KIM works on the curtain for the Berlinale International Film Festival, Berlin. Patchworked and recycled from industrial mesh Berlinale billboards, 2010. Photograph by Dirk Michael Deckbar.
Christina Kim

Sustaining A Vision

Stepping into the Dosa factory in downtown Los Angeles quickly uproots any preconceived notion about what a factory might look like. The expansive, wood-floored space feels more like something gracing the pages of an architecture magazine than a place for manufacturing a global clothing, accessories and house wares line. It is what designer Christina Kim calls a “deliberately democratic” space—an open, communal kitchen, a sewing factory and showroom sharing a large, natural light-flooded space. Workers laugh and talk against the backdrop humming of sewing machines.

This concept of a democratic space mimics the way Kim structures the entire operation. There are no tangible hierarchies, and departments can openly interact in the generous shared space. If there is any question that this is an exceptional business model, the particulars of the business prove it. Kim directly employs some thirty to thirty-five employees at any given time, with low turnaround—workers remain in this gorgeous space on average of twelve years. Roughly fifty percent of all the merchandise comes out of this picturesque Los Angeles factory. The remaining product is made in other countries, largely in keeping with regional handwork techniques, and through partnerships with organizations like India’s SEWA, the Self Employed Women’s Association.


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