Arta Kallaba-New York Not Only a Fashion Statement, but a Symbol of Empowerment

Film/Theater Director and Fashion Designer Arta Kallaba. Photo by Liridona Gjokaj and Nik Morina @donaphotography, @dona_nik_photostudio

Arta Kallaba is a prominent Albanian Theater director, film director and a fashion designer living in New York City. Ten years ago Arta and her husband Ardian moved to New York City and they have two daughters who are born in Manhattan, NY. Recently she founded the iconic Arta Kallaba-New York fashion brand, known for its high quality modernized handmade knitting, by adding color and flower designs for the perfect fashion statement.

Arta Kallaba-New York is an established brand with a sophisticated style statement to communicate your own personality with an unexpected twist that will make you stand out. Whether it is the sexy handmade knitted dress for the spring, the glamourous black swan hand knitted dress, the trendy knitted sweater coats, or the adorable “heart sweaters” Arta Kallaba-New York is the perfect style statement for those who want to make a bold statement.

For many fashionistas, Arta Kallaba-New York is a symbol of women empowerment, by bringing back “the ancient art of knitting and modernizing it” with the aim “to encourage and help women’s local communities in Balkan and the US.”

NY Elite Exclusive Interview with Theater/Film Director and Fashion Designer Arta Kallaba

NY Elite: What sparked your interest in fashion and your love for design?

Arta Kallaba: Since I was at very young age, my interest in fashion has always been something that brought me joy and especially that I grew up in a very artistic family. I used to design clothes for my families’ events, I also use to design clothing for children’s toys like dolls. That followed me to my university studies during premiere shows I would help my team design clothing for the shows, including my own clothing.

I was never happy with the clothes that I buy, I use to redesign before I wore them. In 2018 during my maternity leave I attended a fashion school in Manhattan New York.

NY Elite: What does Arta Kallaba-New York brand represent?

Arta Kallaba: Arta Kallaba-New York, represents the cultural traditions from the country I came from, the craft tradition as well as the modesty and simplicity that we have as a people.

NY Elite: What makes it unique in the market?

Arta Kallaba: My brand is unique because it’s all handmade knitting. Even though I will soon start knitting as well, and handmade it’s going to be as a special order. It’s all about handmade knitting and knitting and we pay a lot of attention to the details. Another unique aspect is I enjoy giving back and help the economy by hiring nationwide citizens not only in New York but in my home country, including some other countries where women love and enjoy working on handmade knitting.

NY Elite: How would you describe the style and the design behind the brand concept?

Arta Kallaba: The concept of my brand is to bring back the ancient art of knitting and modernize it. When I was a little girl, I was always inspired by my grandmothers’ clothes that they use to handknit, it was all about flowers and colors and that style I try to bring back now days and modernize them.

Film/Theater Director and Fashion Designer Arta Kallaba. Photo by Liridona Gjokaj and Nik Morina @donaphotography, @dona_nik_photostudio

NY Elite: How has your heritage and background from Pristina-New York influenced who you are as a creative artist in the fashion world?

Arta Kallaba: As I mentioned before, of course my background has to do a lot with my taste of making Art. My Country where I was born it’s not with a big towers and architectures its more about nature, and modest life that we had there and simple things that makes life beautiful. I always try to make simple clothes with natures details. Just the way I was raised influenced me a lot.  And now living in New York City for years start to change my taste of making Art and it’s going to be a beautiful mix.

NY Elite: What were the dreams of young Arta during youth? And what are your dreams now?

It is interesting how we change as people during the years of life. As a little girl, my dreams were directly related to me, and everything around me, my career, and now being a mother of two little girls my focus has changed.  

My dreams are now focused on making something for the generations to come. Through my business in the future, I want to create an atelier where the new generations can learn the Art of hand knitting that will never go out of fashion since this type of Art and this industry is also useful for our planet especially for the climate.

NY Elite: How did your graduate degree in Theater Directing from the University of Arts in Pristina prepare you to take on theater as a director?

Arta Kallaba: The University of Pristina is a university where there is a staff of professors who are well prepared and have a great artistic experience, where they have brought all that experience to us as their students. I can freely consider myself lucky to have been a student at this university and I think that as far as the school part is concerned, it has prepared us as it should, we got all the basic things from this university, while the rest remains the practical part that we have continued with work creating our personal experiences.

NY Elite: How has the New York culture influenced your work?

Arta Kallaba: Regardless of how you feel about New York City, you can’t deny the influence it has on setting the trends. Whenever I attend New York Fashion Week, the outfits I see on the street style set are often things that reach the masses on social media a few months later. Without a doubt, New York has had an impact on my work as well. I will single out a summer blouse that I have yet to publish, it is hand-knitted and has New York buildings. This place inspires me immensely.

NY Elite: How important is collaboration to you? How much freedom do you give your actors to participate in the making of the play – in or outside of the script?

Arta Kallaba: The Art of directing is a team Art. During the work in any Theater play or short movie I always try to make sure everyone is feeling good and comfortable with their roles and the team in general. It is very common for actors or actresses to adopt something that is out of script and it’s coming out naturally I let that part to be on the play because it only will help the play. Anything that comes out spontaneously and not come out of the theme of the show, is tolerable and welcomed by me.

NY Elite: Can you share your recent projects in theater and film?  

Arta Kallaba: I am currently working on a script for a feature film. At the moment I cannot share any more details, but once the script is completed, and the shoot, I will be able to give public details.

NY Elite: Would you ever consider directing a film?

Arta Kallaba:  Yes, I am indeed. During my college studies, I had Film as a subject, but film takes a lot of money, team, big energy, and my focus was theater directing at the time. I have recently directed two Short Films in New York “Butterfly” in 2020 it has won more than 15 awards in many festivals. My second short film was in 2021 “Follow the Crow” also nominated in 15 festivals all over the world and won 10 awards. For now, my plans are directed more towards film.

NY Elite: What does theater have to do to remain current? How do you see the future of theater?

Arta Kallaba: For me Theater will always remain the most magical Art in the world. Knowing that technology and the Art industry has advanced, and people find it easier to do and follow new arts and trends, but Theater cannot be replaced by anything and always be unique for the feeling it offers.

Social Media links

IG: @arta.kallaba


FB: ArtaKallaba

TikTok: arta.kallaba


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