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DOMAS CROCHET DESIGN: THE CHARM OF VINTAGE

Domas Crochet Design

Domas Crochet Design

Olena Maximow defines her Berlin-based brand, Domas Crochet Design, as romantic, sentimental, picturesque and rustic. She prides herself on crocheting little stories into versatile garments, jewels and accessories that anyone can wear on any occasion.

Words By José M. Sainz-Maza

08/06/2021

Domas Crochet Design

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.”

In Olena’s own words, Domas Crochet Design is ‘romantic, sentimental, picturesque and rustic’, a sort of reflection of the personality, style and memories of her and her twin sister, who love to combine crochet, art and photography in their creations and catalogues. The potential of their handmade clothes and jewelry to tell stories can be noticed in every piece, and it is also connected to the origin of the materials used in many of them.

“Since we are fans of vintage clothes and antiques, we like to collect old fabrics and handicraft materials: crochet hooks, magazines, books, and even sewing patterns. For example, I have a collection of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) knitting and crochet magazine ‘Modische Maschen’; I managed to find the first edition from 1963 and currently have more than 50 copies of it. I also have crochet hook sets that are more than 100 years old,” Olena exclaims. 

On top of that, her brand is a meeting point for the old and the new: “We upcycle antique pieces and turn unusable things into different, unique garments”, she proudly admits. 

“Tatjana and I love the old because there always is something interesting behind it. For instance, previous owners of the yarns usually share with me little stories that I can then crochet into my own creations.”

Olena Maximow

Sustainability is another main reason behind the reuse of materials, as what is worn more often and for a longer period often has a lower environmental impact. This is something to be taken into account throughout the entire value chain, from material selection to design, production and distribution. In consequence, at Domas Crochet Design, they strive for the multifunctionality of their products: their dresses, earrings, necklaces and other pieces of jewelry are designed to be used in both everyday life and special occasions. 

Besides, Olena and Tatjana would like to help change consumer behavior by renting their creations. “We wouldn’t like our jewels and garments, which have been lovingly made for hours and have a story to tell, to only be put on once a year and then just hang in the closet. That is a pity and not sustainable at all. This is why we manufacture small quantities, mostly with pre-orders, and we have already started lending our pieces,” Olena indicates. “People from the creative sector, such as photographers, stylists and models, tend to be interested in this.”

Domas Crochet Design

Looking at the future, Olena reveals that her goal is to expand her company, gather a talented team, and build a great brand. “My sister and I would also love to found an educational center in which ancient handicraft techniques were revived and where handicraft artists could show their own art and share their expertise with others,” she highlights. “Much remains to be done, but we have the will, energy and passion to carry it out.”

Domas Crochet Design

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