In Book Review Fashion Pleating

An Artistry Folded Into A Box (Pleat, That Is): Pleating - Fundamentals For Fashion Design by Kalajian & Kalajian

I often wonder about some things when I see an old black & white photo versus seeing a photo today?  For instance an old photo took minutes to develop and cameras were such a high luxury that they were owned by only a select few who chronicled what they saw fit at the time.  Today, pics of everything from a rising celebrity shopping at Barneys to a student's first time at Machu Picchu is not only captured, but can also be teleported around the world by anyone in seconds.  While both older and modern photos can hold a lot of depth, there's something about an older photo that I hold in higher regard since I know that it has not been subject to a world of technological deceptions and altering.  When you see an old photo you get to see a wonderful tear from history's magazine, unadorned, unfiltered and raw.  

In the rear 'My Family History' section in Pleating: Fundamentals For Fashion Design , Leon Kalajian and George Kalajian, (2017) Schiffer Publishing, you shown a old sepia photo of three ladies dressed fashionably dressed.  What comes to mind is who they were or where they were going.  What you learn is that the authors' sharing of this photo aims to focus on the apparel of the ladies and not so much the ladies themselves.  The photo showcases a piece of history that highlights a unique talent and opens up a larger dialogue to a family's legacy and the preservation of it.  

See what the photo showcased was the work of Rosa, the grandmother of George and mother of Leon Kalajian.  She was a master seamstress who trained other women in her craft in Lyon, France in the early 1900s.  Once introduced to pleating by her uncle, Rosa took the art-form and perfected it into a lucrative division of the family business operated by her and her husband Thomas.  There the artistry got handed down to Leon who made the company Tom's Pleating into the worldwide pleating go-to that it is today.  However, as with any great art-form, the work must precede the artist.

That is the premise of this book.  Who's done the work is cool, but George Kalajian's aim here is to preserve and continue the legacy while paying homage to his family's generations of ideas and craftsmanship.  So in the pages of Pleating: Fundamentals For Fashion Design you will find lessons as to what pleating is, the types of pleats, how pleats are made, pleat shaping and panels for pleats.  Then the text delves further into fabrications, variations on the basics and various design room conundrums for the designer to consider.  This is all laid out with carefully drawn diagrams to illustrate points and descriptive color photos that highlight pleats on finished items in fashion, home decor and while still in the studio production.  The text even goes further to highlight industry-standard methods and suggestions to make working with pleating and pleating companies more cost efficient and hassle-free.  In my opinion, this a book for any designer who seeks to know more about a wonderful design aesthetic in a way that plainly and accurately informs in an easy to comprehend manner while encouraging design-thought.  It is also a nice book that borders on a text/coffee-table book where anyone who picks it up can learn something fresh about an aspect of fashion many don't know enough about.  Pleating is far more than just parochial school skirts; they are an important element of fashion history that has sustained livelihoods, driven trends, pushed textile creativity and in the case of the Kalajian's, kept a family together.  Don't just take my word for it though since Pleating: Fundamentals For Fashion Design , Leon Kalajian and George Kalajian, (2017) Schiffer Publishing 176 pp. is available now at

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