Inspired by underwater fantasies and flower arrangements, made with a lot of love and the best natural materials – these are the dresses, jackets, trousers and tops from the Hungarian fashion brand Kamorka. Klaudia Dömény’s small label offers its big and small clients durable, chic everyday fashion that is free from chemicals, ecologically responsible and fair traded. We asked her why all this is so important to her.
Something changed in the consumers’ minds. More and more people think that “bio” is more important than “cheap”. This is not only valid for electricity suppliers, cleaning agents and tomatoes at the supermarket, but also for the fashion world. If you are thinking about muesli fashion now, you have missed the developments of the recent years.
The image of a person dressed in Birkenstock and linen shirt corresponding to the term eco is passé. Fair and ecologic clothing appeared in contemporary design. The Hungarian designer Klaudia Dömény is one of those who have joined the green revolution with their collections. She opened her first shop for organic children’s fashion in September 2015 in District XIII of Budapest, and it looks like she hit a nerve with this move.
Why bio-fashion is especially important for people with allergies
Dömény rethought her work with regards to bio-fashion about five years ago: “I was a babysitter for the children of my friends quite often. The little ones were suffering from bad eczema, and that is when I realised that allergies and skin problems can present real challenges in our everyday lives. It’s not enough to use special shower gels, body lotions and washing agents; the clothing also plays an important role.”
As Dömény explains, traditional clothing contains a scary amount of residues from certain chemicals used during the production process. These can be absorbed by the skin when wearing the clothes and can lead to irritations, especially in the case of children and people with allergies.
After some research it became clear to her that the topic concerns far more people than she first thought. Almost 20% of children suffer from such skin irritations. This is why the young woman, who finished her studies in 2014 at the Mod’Art Budapest Fashion Academy, decided to found Kamorka, an ecologic clothing brand.
From economic standards to knitting grandmothers – the magic behind Kamorka
At first, Dömény designed children’s fashion for Kamorka, which she started to sell in her own boutique from 2015. She was very successful with the new label right from the beginning. “Our bio-materials were unique in the Hungarian market. We were one of the first ones to produce such materials,” the designer remembers.
Dömény buys the majority of the materials from German producers, but also from other EU countries where the strict conditions of the Global Organic Textile Standard, or GOTS in short, are applied. The standard guarantees that the materials suit the highest economic standards all through their production chain.
This means for example that certain pesticides are not used during cultivation and no chemicals are used during processing. This is valid not only for bio cotton, from which the major part of the Kamorka collection is made, but also for sheep wool, which comes from animals raised in a bio farm and appears in the form of hand-knit pullovers and jackets in the Kamorka lines.
As Dömény further explains, besides the sustainable quality of her base materials it’s also very important for her that all her pieces are produced in Hungary and among fair conditions. She consciously wants to show a contrast with the sweatshops of the “fast fashion” brands produced in the Far East, since “we all know the horror stories about these production conditions from all kinds of media”.
For this reason the knit articles of Kamorka are for example prepared by hand by pensioners at Dömény’s home town near Paks: “The old ladies are professionals in knitting and they love their work. In addition to that, they can make a little extra from this job. Furthermore I think that the clothing pieces attain a special value through being prepared this way. They are not produced by machines in mass production but made by hand, each one unique and completed with a lot of love.”
From children’s fashion to a label for the whole family
After Kamorka first opened for business offering only children’s fashion, it quickly surfaced that the demand for lovely designs and the ecological materials went beyond this sector. “Our largest children’s sizes correspond to a tight XS size and more and more grown-up women tried to force themselves with more or less success in the outfits designed for children,” Dömény tells us with a suppressed smile. At some point the creative mind behind Kamorka gave in to the wishes of her clients and began producing clothing for women too.
The common feature in her designs both for small and big clients is that they are all comfortable clothing pieces made for an active day. “When I am designing new pieces I always imagine a family on the way to the playground or on a walk in the nature. Clothing designed for these activities needs to ensure free movement and it must be durable. Furthermore, Kamorka fashion should always be something special,” Dömény, who has had a talent for drawing since her early childhood explains.
The specialness is achieved by applying elaborate embroideries for example, but also unusual cuts and patterns. The templates for the latter all come from the designer’s styling pen and are popular with all sizes of customers.
Although Kamorka also offers clothing for boys, the fashion label has nothing to offer for the environmentally and fashion-conscious men as of yet. Demand from the masculine part of the population has not proven especially high. “Men simply don’t care so much, or if they do they are looking for basic pieces such as shirts. However, that does not fit in the concept of our brand.” Still, Dömény is dreaming about Kamorka becoming a label for the whole family in the future.
The Kamorka label has just officially presented its fourth collection. As with past ones, this collection is also inspired by motifs from nature, or more precisely from gardening. The garden is a place for the family, according to Dömény: “In our family the garden and the garden work always played an important role, my sister is even studying horticulture, and I am also dreaming of owning a house with garden.”
So it’s no surprise that in the new collection there are many green tones and the patterns show leaves and fictitious fantasy figures invented by Dömény, such as the grass fairy and the poppy damsel, and even the cuts remind us a little bit of garden aprons. She feels sure the range will be just as successful as the earlier collections.
As for the future, the designer, who at 26 years old is still at the beginning of her career, hopes the sustainable designs of Kamorka will also be available at shops in other Hungarian towns and maybe even abroad. As the first step in this direction Dömény opened her second boutique in Fashion Trend Center Budaörs, which is a transhipment destination for retailers from all around the country.
Are you also critical of “fast fashion”, are you looking for more environment-friendly and socially responsible solutions or simply more unique and quality-crafted designer clothing from Hungary? See www.kamorka.hu or check things personally in one of the young fashion label’s boutiques: Budapest, District XIII, 20 Pozsonyi út; Budaörs, Fashion Trend Center, 1 Gervay Mihály utca.