Leon and George Kalajian, and the art of pleating.

source International Pleating



In this article:
September 26, 2017

Fashion is kinetic art, it is also a collaborative art. Fabric, stitchery, proportion, and line, a garment only truly comes to life when worn by the person it was made for. This is when all of the draping, all of the fitting,​ and​ all the materials used ​come to life.

For me, one of the most magical and mysterious elements is when a garment uses pleating; the architectural marvel of a crisply pleated skirt, dress, pant or jacket is hard to beat. When it comes to pleating, there is the one and the only destination: International Pleating – a shop located in the very heart of NY Fashion District and run by father-and-son team, Leon and George Kalajian, who have just launch their first book, and the only practical book on the market, on the art and science of pleating.

George Kalajian is the latest generation in a family which has specialized in pleating for nearly 120 years, and may be the first person to ever write a book about the art, in collaboration with his father Leon Kalajian, whose knowledge is encyclopedic.

The ​result is the ​book, PLEATING Fundamentals For Fashion Designers, (​by ​SPF, a division of Schiffer Publishing, Ltd.), which i​s available​ ​​in ​store​s and online, such as Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

For George and Leon this book is meaningful and multi-layered. On the one side it’s a must-have teaching guide, infused with practical diagrams and an endless source of inspirations for any aspiring as well as established fashion designer, stylist and fashionista. On another hand it’s their family’s legacy, which they have kept alive over the generations, filled with insights on fashion, evolution of pleating technology, personal journey of the founders, professional quest for perfection and integrity, iconic looks they have helped to create over the time for some of the most wonderful fashion houses, and much much more.

Jack Sauma, a dear friend of the Kalajian’s family, who you would know as a founder of Mood Designer Fabrics, a treasure trove of most amazing fabrics and a household name thanks to their recurring role in the Project Runway, wrote a foreword.

The information within these pages both educate and preserve the art of pleating. Years and years of knowledge and expertise are at your fingertips. All you have to do is dream up the ways you are going to use it.
– Jack Sauma, Founder of Mood Designer Fabrics

SPIRIT & FLESH had the pleasure of working with the Kalajians for The Language of Fashion, a project which brought to life a series of couture dresses created by graphic design students of the School of Visual Arts, and curated by style icon Linda Fargo. It was during this experience that we appreciated the mastery of these artists, Leon and George Kalajian at International Pleating, up close.