My Balkan Background
I come from a long line of Greek peasant women who made beautiful things for their homes, families and occasionally for themselves. Most of their year would be spent in the back-breaking work of tending their fields for little return.
During the long, harsh winters grandmothers, mothers, daughters, cousins, friends and neighbours would gather around their fireplaces to sew, knit, crochet, weave and embroider. The young girls would make things like doilies, tablecloths, curtains, sheets and blankets to add to their dowries and prove their worthiness as future brides and homemakers.
My Brilliant Mother
One of these brides was my mother. She came to Melbourne, Australia in the early 1950s. With her, she brought her ‘baoulo’ (chest) of handmade dowry offerings. Her two sisters and grandmother soon followed her to this big, strange land. The sisters worked long hours in various clothing factories and paid pitiful wages. In the little time they had to themselves, they continued to make and create useful things.
I was born into this tribe of industrious talented women makers. Being idle and lazy was not an option. Shoddy work was unthinkable. They taught me how to cook, knit, sew, mend and crochet. I still do all those things but crochet has always loomed large.
About Frida and Co. Design
I set up Frida and Co. Design as a way of honouring my brilliant but invisible women folk. After decades of watching and being apprenticed by these women makers, I now want to bring their spirit to the world by making beautiful things for people.
I want to make these things for people who appreciate handcrafted work, for people who understand that it takes time, for people who know the value of an item made by hand with skill and love, for people who would rather buy from the hand of a maker rather than a machine of a multi-national manufacturer.
Who is Frida?
Frida (as in Frida Kahlo) is the patron saint of all those who value creativity and living life on their own terms. Her legacy has guided millions of women around the world and given them permission to travel on the road less travelled.
Frida and Co. Design pays homage to great women everywhere. To my fellow travellers, spirit seekers, freedom fighters, soul explorers and naughty pixies I curtsy in your general direction.
About my work
I slowly make vintage-inspired clothes for funky folk. Each item is made only by me and by hand. I mostly use yarn that I have collected or inherited from my women folk over several decades. I am also constantly on the hunt for yarn that others no longer want or is destined for landfill. This means that anything that I make is original or in limited quantities.
My 1960s and 70s Greek-Australian childhood is channeled into my work. All I ever wanted to be was a hippie-gypsy-wanderer and escape the fate of a traditional Greek girl. I was lucky. I escaped. I have been fortunate to travel the world and live in some extraordinary places. This has fed my imagination and influenced my craft. The colours of Morocco, the funkiness of London, the style of Paris, the cool of Holland, the craft traditions of Asia…it all sings to me.
Every stitch is sprinkled with love and wishes of a good life for its wearer. When the thousands of stitches come together I hope that I’ve woven some magic that will delight you for many years to come.