For every woman, the handbag is the ultimate accessory. From tote to clutch, black or bright, leather or suede, it can complement and complete her outfit, express her sense of style, give her joy, and carry her most important items.
When it is handcrafted and unique, different to all other bags on the market, the appeal triples. Every woman desires her own unique bag. Greek designer Vasiliki Theodorou realised this significance and incorporated all of these factors into her innovative, beautifully handmade handbag company, Miss Polyplexi.
In a sea of handbag brands, Miss Polyplexi soars head and shoulders above its competitors. All creations in the collections are handmade and designed by Vasiliki who uses her signature combination of knit, leather and metal materials.
Watching her beloved mother crochet everything from scarves to coats, Vasiliki learned to crochet at the age of 10 years old and chose to name her brand Miss Polyplexi as a tribute to her mum Polyxeni, while also incorporating the Greek word for crochet ‘plexi.’
In sumptuous shades such as chocolate, gold, purple, and classic black and grey, the handbags are covetable and are quick to become best-sellers. From the ‘Monaco Bordeaux bubble bag to the Navy blue ‘Cosmopolitan bag with silver metallic chain and closure, there is even a section on the website that lists Vailiki's personal favourites, among them the brown and green ‘Artemis.’
GCT chatted recently to Vasiliki about her love of crochet and fashion, her brand's philosophy of handbags as art, and why every woman deserves to feel special carrying her own unique handbag.
Where were you born and raised and where do you live now?
I was born and raised in Larissa, which is situated in the central part of Greece but I now live in Athens for professional reasons.
What part of Greece are your ancestors from?
My dad and his family come from Karditsa, another city situated in the central part of Greece that belongs to the geographical area of Thessalia. My mum and her family come from Deskati which is near Grevena. My mum and dad met in Larissa during their studies where my mum’s family had already moved (to find a better quality of life) and this is where they all lived after, hence why I was born and raised there.
When did you become interested in crochet and how many years have you been crocheting?
Since I remember myself as a child, I have had this strong memory in my head with my mum crocheting and knitting every evening, making all sorts of things, such as sweaters, skirts, scarfs, hats, gloves, blankets for all of us. She could crochet and knit everything. It was so impressive. I was then watching her, playing with the yarns, mixing them up and my mum was always chasing me to tell me off. One day though, when I was around 10 years old, she showed me how to crochet and I have loved it ever since.
What was the first thing you made when you learned to crochet?
I started crocheting clothes for my Barbies. I was so happy I could design and crochet my own clothes for them. I was choosing the colours and I was making the combinations I liked. I was imagining bringing out collections for them as if they were my models. When I grew older, I was making accessories for me, my mum, my sister, and my friends. It was still my hobby though and I loved the fact that I could really express my creativity through it.
Were you always interested in fashion, even as a child? What work did you do before creating Miss Polyplexi?
I was always interested in fashion somehow, even as a child. Crocheting broadened my creative horizons. It was really self-expression as I was able to design and crochet, of course, my own clothes, accessories, in the colour combinations I preferred. I used to read fashion magazines a lot, watch any documentary that had to do with fashion, watch the women around me, how they were dressed, what they chose to wear on every occasion, paying attention to all styling details.
Before creating Miss Polyplexi, I used to work in the Business Economics & Marketing sector – something totally different, but useful to how I run Miss Polyplexi.
Tell us about Miss Polyplexi? How did the idea come about? When did it launch? Who is the Miss Polyplexi customer?
Crocheting has been and will still be my hobby as it is something I love doing so much. The starting point though of this whole idea was when I decided one day to crochet a handbag. It was the only accessory I hadn’t crocheted before. I was looking for a bag at that time in a very specific colour and style to match it with a dress for a friend’s wedding and I could not find any at the shops. Well, I thought “why not?”, I am going to try it. The bag was liked so much by my friends, and suddenly I found myself crocheting bags for them. I uploaded a few photos on Instagram and Facebook, and I started receiving messages asking if I sell them. This is when I thought to make it a living. A woman’s bag is something very special to her. Women cannot live without bags, it’s their ultimate accessory that completes and elevates their outfit. It carries for us all sorts of necessary things.
The way I had then, and I have now my own unique bag, I want all women to carry their own unique handmade Miss Polyplexi bag. The brand is addressed to all females who want to look different, wear unique pieces of art, conceive their distinctiveness and appreciate the handmade creations. Women who are modern, but at the same time sensitive and delicate carry a piece of art with them at all times.
Are all the designs yours? What is your favourite piece from the collection?
Yes, all the designs are mine indeed. My favourite bag from the latest collection is the “Ophelia” Black Tote Bag. It is a statement bag for me. I admire its classic, yet intriguing design. It is a timeless piece of art, 100% handcrafted, using the finest calf leather. It is adorned with crochet bubbles which add to the delicate design. It is a bag I can carry at all times, very elegant and practical due to its size.
What influences you in your work?
Everything and everyone around me can be a source of influence. Discussions held with other fashion designers, and people from the fashion industry, a photo on the web, the raw materials, fashion magazines and media overall can influence my work and ideas. What influences me the most though is my own gut feeling which I also trust the most.
What inspires you?
My travels are a great source of inspiration. I like travelling very much. I have visited many places so far and every time I go to one place, I make sure I come back with ideas, materials that will be my source of inspiration for new bag designs.
Of course, big and world-known fashion houses are leading the trends and inspiring of us all.
In the meantime, Miss Polyplexi bags have their own character morphed and influenced by my own personality that elaborates on all those influences and creates a very special and unique outcome.
Why is it important for you to be able to offer original, handmade pieces?
Because in this way, Miss Polyplexi bags will be unique and will differ from the rest. I am always looking ahead, studying the trends, combining different kinds of materials to offer women distinguishable pieces of art.
What is one piece of advice that you have been given in your life that has stayed with you?
My dad used to say that hard work always pays off. Somebody may not see results immediately, and this is where most people get disappointed. Successful people though keep going on and they harvest the seeds of hard work patiently.
What trends have grabbed your attention for the year ahead?
Long fringes are a big trend for this year and on our website, you will for sure start seeing models with long beautiful fringes that add movement to the bag and turn heads while a woman walks around the streets. Round shapes are still around and colours such as black and white will have their fair share as they are eternal.
How long does it take to create a Miss Polyplexi bag?
Well, it depends! It can take from 2-3 days up to 8-9 days. It really depends on what other things are running in parallel and usually, there are many tasks I have to carry out in one day. 2-3 days are needed when nothing else is going on around, which is not the norm.
What can women expect from Miss Polyplexi this year?
Lots of surprises! Many new designs are coming out soon with lots of different material combinations. Our signature bag “Monaco” is re-designed and will evolve into a more elegant and classy bag. We're also going to elevate the interior of our bags by using even more fashionable linings of high quality to offer even greater protection on the inside.
Stay tuned as some great collaborations are also coming, one of which is with Santo + Rini, a soon to be launched Australian online boutique that is passionate about sourcing impressive, unique and quality fashion products made in Greece like our Miss Polyplexi bags. Australian ladies will be “a click away” from having a Miss Polyplexi bag as Santo + Rini will be stocking some of our designs as well as some exclusive ones from June onwards.