Athena nicolaou is an undergraduate studying Fashion Design with Knitted Textiles at Nottingham Trent University. She is inspired by the quirky and unusual. Influences include film director Tim Burton, illustrator Edward Gorey, costume designer Colleen Atwood and the Surrealist art movement. Athena has worked with a number of different techniques and departments within fashion. Taught from a young age about pattern cutting and dressmaking by her two Grandmothers who were seamstresses and her Godparents who owned and ran a factory in London, she picked up the basics of woven techniques. Skills have been built on over the years; adding machine and hand knit techniques and crochet from University, a small amount of experience in menswear during an internship at Aitor Throup and even experience in maternity wear at an internship at Isabella Oliver. As a big fan of Tim Burton's work, Athena likes to create work that conveys a playful surface with an underlying dark, surreal tone. The purpose of this is to create mixed feelings and slight confusion as to what the actual message of the outcome is supposed to express – most of the time being...nothing; it's just for fun to gauge an interesting reaction from the audience.
When her Grandmother passed away, she gave Athena her industrial sewing machine, which has been in the family since immigrating to England from Cyprus in the 50's. Using this machine, Theodora provided an income for her newly-emigrated young family. The machine has been in the same position and same room since it arrived at the house – it had never been moved. When it was finally moved from its position in the house, Athena discovered a single bobbin that had dropped and rolled out of sight under a leg, clearly forgotten about for years. As a token of remembrance, Athena found an old chain and attached the bobbin to wear every day. The bobbin generated a lot of interest, with people asking where it was from; therefore the idea was born.
'Theodora hides Bobbins' is Athena's first jewellery collection. The collection story and idea of the concept was inspired by her Grandmother, of whom the collection is named after. The collection is based on the concept of hiding bobbins. Each piece has at least one bobbin included in the design. The single bobbins are based on the one bobbin Athena wears daily, with a twist. This collection is dedicated to the memory of Theodora Rousou, 1929-2010.