How to Fit Colorful Prints Into Your Everyday Outfit With Calaphya

Calaphya strikes a perfect blend of sophisticated chic, wearable fine art and literary inspiration create one of a kind bespoke wearable masterpieces. Check out a few of our favorite pieces.

One of the truly wonderful things about fashion is a designer’s ability to cross the line between art and life. There is perhaps no better example of this than with the new high-end fashion brand Calaphya.

Founded in 2012 and launched in 2013, Calaphya is a collective of artists and designers who focus on bringing fine art and design into everyday life by incorporating them into wearable works of art.

The California-based company based its namesake, logo, and much of its early inspiration on the 15th century chivalric romance novel “The Adventures of Esplandian.” The novel, penned by Garci Rodriquez de Montalvo, depicts the fictional island of California. In the novel, the island of California is inhabited only by a tribe of warrior women, and is ruled by a queen called Califa. The story has served as inspiration for the founders of Calaphya, and also originally inspired the name of the state of California, where Calaphya is currently headquartered.

What makes Calaphya so unique is the bespoke nature of their processes in creating these wearable works of art. Each and every accessory or piece of clothing produced by Calaphya represents the vision of the artist responsible for the original work of art on which it is based. Only the best materials are used in production, and each garment or accessory is hand-crafted one piece at a time by one of a number of Calaphya’s consigned artists, photographers, seamstresses, or tailors

One of the most interesting things about the Calaphya line is their aptitude for very illustrative and conceptual branding via their artwork. The company has extended the influence of Garci Rodriguez de Montalvo’s inspiration beyond their moniker and has created a mission statement of sorts on which they base their current design offerings.


The concepts of nobility, luxury, exclusivity, and premium quality are what they claim to be their founding principals, and these core values do indeed resonate throughout their product line. This is particularly apparent in their current tee shirt designs.

The rich color and unique patterns of the prints used in their designs harken back to the 15th century writings of de Montalvo. Of particular interest is the strong feminine presence in all of the printed designs; it would seem that Calaphya is invoking the spirits of the female warriors of de Montalvo’s fictional island of California and bringing them to life in a modern day form.

The Calaphya tee shirt collection is a stunning example of this marriage of art, literature, and modern design. Within the collection, there are three design lines: Leonorina, La Reina, and Esplandian. Each of these lines has a unique conceptual thread, and although all three certainly boast a riot of colour and pattern, which is a feast for the eyes. They are all quite different from each other.

#1 Leonorina


The Leonorina line is an excellent balance of imagery that manages to be both gothic and light-hearted at the same time. There are seven conceptual motifs in the line – all created to capture the spirit of freedom and rock.

At first glance, the artwork on the tees looks almost breezy on its light background set onto a white genuine Supima cotton tee. According to the company, the color story of the Leonorina line is meant to bring a bit of fantasy, youth, and energy to the women who wear it.

#2 La Reina


The La Reina line of tees is a richly-hued collection of seven motifs designed to attract the romantic artist in all of us. Once again, there is a strong element of femininity that is balanced by the deep, bold hues of the collection. Created on a black background, the La Reina collection has a dark sophistication to it that is both compelling and elegant.

#3 Esplandian

The eye-popping Esplandian collection makes a bold statement with oriental florals mixed with baroque elements and neon accents superimposed on a black background. The Esplandian collection is intended for the self-assured woman and boasts the most saturated colors of all of the collections.

In addition to being stunningly beautiful, these unique Calaphya tees are also an incredible wardrobe extender. Worn under a blazer with a pair of skinny jeans and heels, they take on a sophisticated kind of French fashion editor vibe. Worn with a dressier skirt, you can wear them for cocktails or more formal occasions and be pretty much assured that you will be the only person in the room rocking your unique look.

The unique color stories and hypnotic prints that are inherent in the Calapya tee shirt also minimize the need for a lot of accessories, making them a perfect choice for packing for a journey when you are looking to travel with minimal fuss.

Because Calaphya guarantees their clothing by exclusive agreement with the artists with whom they work, many of these garments are produced in very limited editions – some are even numbered and registered.

Calaphya has big plans going forward, and you can read all about the artists and craftsmen that make it possible for you to have these gorgeous works of wearable art on the Calaphya blog.

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About the author

Kristin Buchholz-MacKillop

Kristin is an American writer based in the Scottish Highlands. She is a saxophonist, an obsessive tennis player, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and holds a Master's degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is the author of the online style blog

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