Designer Interview: Kalivoda

As I promised you last month, here's February's interview, this is the time of a lovely girl, who owns a brand named Kalivoda. I'll let you read the rest for yourselves! Enjoy guys!

Tell us a little about yourself, and of course your brand

My name is Lacey Kalivoda Wheatley and I design a line called Kalivoda. I'm a maryland native and sota resident artist (www.sotaspace.org) with a degree in apparel design. The line itself  is named after my maiden name and features feminine softly tailored garments and accessories. I love primarily using recycled, vintage, and eco-friendly fabrics in my work.

    When did you decided to start the brand?

I've been making and selling things under the name "Kalivoda" on and off casually for fun for at least the last ten years. Within these last 2 years though, I've actually gotten more focused and serious with my work, realizing that I really want to do this full time because, frankly I don't think I'll ever stop making things!

    What are your favorite pieces to design?

I love dresses. tops, and headpieces right now, as well as always having my list of experiments that I want to work on for fun, which will then lead to some of my new favorite things to make.  Some things on my list would be working on some fun textile designs to handprint on leggings and scarves, making pillows, recovering a couch, trying my hand at some dying fabric with plants, making some really interesting activewear, building a table... the list is endless.

    Do you have some kind of ritual before starting a new collection?

I give myself time to observe and absorb everything, making note of things I like in books, in nature, in people, on the street, in fashion itself. From about 1997 through 2007, I used to make inspiration books by cutting out things I liked from magazines, letters, books, photos, anything, and collaging them into a notebook. Flipping through these books would always spark fresh ideas. So surrounding myself with new inspiration has probably been the best ritual I have before starting a new collection. It was a really time consuming task, and in recent years 2008-2011, I would just make 1 page collages. Now there's Pinterest so that makes for a quick and easy way to catalog inspiration. Although I wish there was some way to make a pinboard private, so as to hash out a concept without an audience.

    I see you got featured on Refinery29, how was it?

What a treat! They featured my work twice and I got some really great feedback. I actually had someone order the golden headpiece in white for her wedding because she saw it on Refinery29. I hadn't planned on putting it online for sale, but after getting such great feedback about the headpiece I designed, I added it online for sale.

      I just love that you are eco friendly, where did this idea came from? Were you eco friendly from th begining or was it something that you decided from the start?

I come from a family who have always recycled and repurposed objects, made them from scratch or thrifted them. So from a young age, I saw possibility in anything. When I started making things, I began with redesigning thrift store clothing and making up my own patterns from scratch (sometimes they worked, sometimes they didn't!). I would sew things out of vintage fabric or recycled materials just as an affordable way of making things as well as a way to source really interesting fabrics. I have always valued reusing old fabrics over new fabrics, and eco-friendly fabrics over new fabrics. Though from time to time, I may use just a normal new fabric for certain projects here and there.

    Would you like to tell us a funny story about the perks of being an independent fashion designer?

Not sure if I have a funny story per se, though we do try to keep a good sense of humor around here, that is, my husband and I who are both independent creatives. Being self-employed is like the wild west, and I can definitely say cowboy training isn't for the faint of heart. On the upside, having weekly coffees with a tribe of creative local women is fun, getting to design our own schedules is great, taking off a whole month to travel when we can afford it is a blast, having a reason to keep meeting and collaborating with other individual creatives/businesses/non-profits is nice, and dropping everything because the swell looks good to surf is REALLY nice. I guess freedom in my schedule and projects is both the best thing and the hardest thing all at the same time.

        What's your biggest inspiration when it comes to designing a new line?

Exploring a concept that interests me. For example, the last collection was about this concept I unofficially call The Charlie Brown Wardrobe Project. The idea is that cartoons, super heroes, etc. have one outfit, their "go to" and it's less about thinking about what to wear than simply getting on what they've decided is "their uniform" so they can get to the action, the story, the event. I'm always thinking about, "what would my uniform be?" When designing for the Spring 2012 collection, I decided it would be a simple tank shift dress that I can layer easily year round. From that basic pattern I designed, I then started to explore more than a dozen different variations of "my uniform". 95% of Spring 2012 was built off of that pattern and making simple yet pretty garments.


Do you think your personal style influences your designs?

Definitely, my personal style and aesthetic influences my designs heavily. From a young age I've enjoyed the expressiveness of clothing and when I first started making things, I made the things I wanted to wear but couldn't find or couldn't afford. My early work tended to be bold, bright and voluminous, and now I've been in a softer, muted, more subtle phase. It's all personal, what I explore and create.

     Francesco from INVERTED COMMAS (January's Designer Interviewed) wants to know:

Is your business online only? Are you planning to make a real shop in your town?

My business has been stocked at various shops on both the East and West Coast, but as of this year I'm solely online. I think I'd like to partner with some local shops and have them stock my line. It's always so good for a person to experience a garment first hand. I'll probably have my work hosted at an Annapolis boutique called Oliver's later this Spring and perhaps some other shops in DC and VA. Fingers crossed!
    What would you like to ask our next designer featured in here?

Currently, what's your favorite thing you've ever made and what's your favorite thing in your personal wardrobe (not something you made)?

Want to see more? Go to Kalivoda

I really hope you guys liked this interview as much as I did!!



  1. Great interview! Love the designs!


  2. wow me encanto la entrevista
    estan bonitas las fotos.
    besos bye

  3. Que interesante entrevista y que hermosa colección.Buen trabajo Ella.Kisses from www.stylepicture.blogspot.com

  4. lovely interview - her designs are great. Your blog is a delight


  5. Thank you for featuring me and chatting it up! Love the blog!