Born in Ukraine and living in Germany since the age of 20, Olena Maximow works closely with her twin sister Tatjana to revive one of the oldest handicraft techniques. In 2019, she founded in Berlin Domas Crochet Design, a brand that bears their maiden name (Domaš) and combines sustainability and modern uses with an ancestral tradition deeply rooted in her own family.
“There has always been a lot of handicraft in my family: crochet, embroidery and knitting. I wanted to associate these memories to my brand,” Olena declares. “My aim is to go back to the times when crocheting was a popular manufacturing technique for clothing and accessories by presenting it in a modern and sustainable context.”
Asked about how they started crocheting, Olena shares that Tatjana and her first discovered the world of crocheting when they were kids, almost as a hobby, and it soon became a great passion: “Between 2016 and 2020 I even gave crochet lessons and carried out workshops at the “Warnitzer Bogen” family center in Berlin,” she adds.
Olena defends crochet as an activity for everyone, regardless of gender or age: “Often when you hear the word ‘crochet’, one may think of older women, pot holders, bowls and doilies. But crocheting is not just a woman’s thing; anyone can do handicraft. In fact, crocheting was originally a male activity, related to manufacturing catch and fishing nets,” she explains. “Then, in the 18th century, it became popular among royal and privileged families in Europe, and it was just around that time that it slowly turned into a leisure activity for upper-class women. The world is changing all the time, and with a crochet hook you can create anything, imitate any shape and any object. For us, it is important that everyone can wear our creations.”