Artist Michael Kalish is joining the apparel industry. Kalish, who is best known for his large-scale work made from reclaimed objects, will launch a men’s wear lifestyle brand, Kalish & Sons, on Kickstarter today.
“The art world is an interesting place,” said Kalish. “It’s been very good to me but it’s been very limited. I wanted to create a new form of art with this collection.”
The project comes after five years of research that included Kalish traveling to meet with manufacturers across the country, which he is utilizing for his Made in the U.S. collection.
The line includes a classic chore coat, which retails for $225, that’s made from a breathable duck canvas and is lined with hand-screened original prints; a utilitarian duffel bag, which retails for $225, and limited-edition canvas prints screened on U.S. mail bags, which retail for $399. For the limited duration of the campaign, which ends on Nov. 1, backers can purchase these items at a reduced cost. A candle and a mug are also available.
“It’s a starter kit for men or pieces that can easily fit into your collection,” said Kalish, who added that the collection will grow and include more men’s wear staples and home items.
These pieces will also come with additional products. The coat will be sold alongside a handmade wooden hanger, and the bag will come with a classic leather journal.
Kalish is using Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site that lets customers back a cause and essentially pre-order items, in order to prevent excess inventory. In order for the pieces to go into production, backers must raise $50,000.
“It’s kind of like selling shares. It’s not just about a coat or a bag or a mug. There is a story behind each of these pieces,” Kalish said. “I didn’t want to collaborate with great makers and sit on thousands and thousands of units. If I sell a thousand coats, I will make a thousand coats.”
According to Kalish, he will not abandon his art career and he doesn’t think this endeavor will decrease the value of his work.
“I asked my traditional collectors how they felt about me building out a line of products and everyone’s answer was, ‘If you go at it the same way your create your body of work, then I don’t think any of us are worried,’” said Kalish. “This is a wonderful extension and a way to offer my art to many people.”