Diverse and authentic

ICON: Mexican artist Frida Kahlo did not allow herself to be defined by her challenges but rather, her talents, passions abilities.

ICON: Mexican artist Frida Kahlo did not allow herself to be defined by her challenges but rather, her talents, passions abilities.

Kate Warner, owner of Two Fridas at Islington, has been interested in vintage clothing, textiles, sewing and repurposing for as long as she can remember.

INSPIRED: Kate Warner

INSPIRED: Kate Warner

Her shop, named after her favourite Frida Kahlo painting, Las Dos Fridas, turns two in June 2019.

"It's been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun," she said. "I've always been fascinated with Latin America and the Day of the Dead, and I've admired Frida Kahlo for her sense of style and tendency to buck fashion trends."

Two Fridas is a fusion of all of these things; a mash up of Frida, all things Mexico and an eclectic range of hand-picked vintage and hand-made clothing.

"I'm a bit of an authenticity nerd and I knew from the get-go that I wanted to offer genuine Mexican artisan products," Kate said.

"They're highly skilled artists and makers. You can see and feel the quality in the embroidered clothing, hand-painted ceramics, silver filigree jewellery and hand-woven blankets and hammocks. You can buy something that looks similar at a chain store but it's just not the same."

Kate gets a  kick out of telling people that her products are hand made in Mexico and that by purchasing them, you are supporting artisans that have hand crafted for generations.

"Mexican artisans are also great repurposers and I'm really inspired by that," Kate said.

"Slow fashion, reusing and upcycling are underlying principles at Two Fridas. I rework and redesign vintage pieces, repurpose textiles and create one-off pieces of wearable art in the shop, so don't be surprised to catch me completely engrossed in unpicking a hem or lead footing it at my sewing machine."

Two Fridas offers something quite different for Newcastle. It's a bit quirky and left of centre - a lot like Islington.

"The community of Iso is colourful, creative and diverse so I knew Two Fridas would fit right in," Kate. "There is an underlying appreciation for art in all its forms here, together with a healthy social awareness around reducing waste and mindful consumption. These are all key values of my business, so to me, it's   a perfect fit.

"I have an incredibly diverse range of customers  representing all social, economic and cultural backgrounds. That's what I was always aiming for when I was looking for a location for Two Fridas.

"A lot of people identify with Frida as a figurehead for diversity so I think she helps everyone feel welcome to come on in and poke around."

For more information, visit www.twofridas.com.au.

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