The Calla Collection is (1) a fashion line, made up of high-end cotton coats and shirts from Thailand, and (2) a set of stories, each of which is paired with one of the designs in the collection.
A portion of revenue will go towards funding a short film based on one of the stories. The rest goes to funding other artistic projects at Sightline Arts.
For detailed info on how it works, please go here.
The Calla Company strives to delight people with beautiful products while cross-funding art: all profits from our merchandise are put toward the funding of artists and art projects. But beyond simply bringing clothing and art together into one business model, the Calla Company also proposes a new way to think about how art and commerce intersect, and a new paradigm for how we might shift the ways in which we value tangible vs. intangible goods.
This is our big, audacious thought experiment. And we want you to participate in it.
Our question to you: What price would you pay to own a physical object of great beauty and obvious utility? What price would you pay to experience a story of great beauty and less obvious utility? Are you more willing to assign value to the story when it comes bundled with something more physically tangible?
For the past three years, I’ve worked in business strategy within the media industry. I’ve become obsessed with how the internet, and the dynamic of digital economies, have wreaked havoc on artists’ ability to make a living directly from their art. As the long tail of content becomes increasingly commoditized, I’ve seen corporations draw, redraw, and redraw again, the lines around what “people are willing to pay for,” succumbing to downward pressure on consumer pricing and, as a consequence, obfuscating the “real” value of story. I’ve seen artists, for the most part, absent from the rooms in which these decisions are made about how their work is sold, and at what price.
We need to reframe this equation. And, in parallel, we need new ways of funding artistic work.
When we buy things, we also buy stories. Usually, they are covertly embedded within a brand, or found inside our journey to finding the thing, or they become part of our lives when we use or exhibit the thing itself. What if we allocated a part of the value of the thing to the value of its story?
Perhaps we would alight upon an entirely new business model—this time, one that is economically equitable because it has been forged in large part by artists themselves. Perhaps we would reinvent the ways we experience, tell each other, and tell ourselves…stories.