This will probably be the most personal blog post, but I think it’s important to share with you what is the inspiration behind MIA PAPA, and how it was founded. What made Mia Papaefthimiou who she is today?
Very often people ask me how I decided to found my brand MIA PAPA. Part of the answer is pretty much known already. After a serious accident, which led me to abstain from my job as a Lead architect in Berlin for a long time, I started creating countless handmade collages, as a relief to my situation. Through a lot of searching for the ideal collaborators, the collage patterns were transformed into silk scarves. I believe it was a combination of luck, risk and the right timing, that led me to leave my job and follow my dream to create the brand MIA PAPA.
I have always had a great love for scarves. Smart and creative fashion statements appeal to me. A single piece of fabric gives multiple and imaginative applications. A scarf, through size, colours, different patterns and ways of applying, highlights aspects of our personality. It gives to the person who wears it the absolute freedom and magic to transform the total outfit. Captivated by the power of creation, and aspiring to create a MIA PAPA world, my inspirations were soon evolved to Ready-to-Wear and Homeware collections.
The part of the story that is less known, is about my maternal grandmother, with whom we share the same name - ‘Efthimia’.
My grandmother was born in northern Greece and at a very young age - similarly to me - she moved to Germany, where she met my grandfather and started her new life there. She was then trained as a seamstress and pattern maker and she was working from home creating her magic, while at the same time she was raising her family of three. She could figure out how to make anything, and sew any pattern. She was also making her own dresses back then as she had the belief that we make our clothes, we don’t buy them.
A naturally beautiful and elegant lady, with striking and fierce blue eyes, creating a contrast to her petite figure, letting you believe that she is a fragile little thing, but only until you hear her cheerful, full of life, strong laugh. She is very classic dresser, who always manages to look put together and lovely, even dressed in her most casual clothing. A natural multi-tasker, managing to run a big family, a business, while always having her home clean and tidy and delicious meals, pitas, biscuits and cakes, ready to serve and please even the most demanding tastes. Grandma Efthimia, always had and still has, a powerful will and never deviated from her vision despite how it deviated from the norm.
Since I remember myself, I was always seeking to be around my grandmother’s little atelier and her vintage Singer sewing machine, where I was introduced to the world of fabrics and sewing. I was born and raised in our family house in Athens, making it easy to spent endless hours with her, seeing her working and teaching me her art. I would then make countless sketches of dresses and create miniature dresses for my dolls. I remember myself always surrounded by paper, pencils and leftover fabrics from my grandmother, creating all sorts of crazy things.
My mother, from the other hand, as a teacher, contributed a lot to cultivating and supporting all these artistic concerns, giving me a lot motivation from a very young age, while introducing me to the worlds of literature, music, theatre and poetry.
And although, all of this artistic stimulation developed into a great love for architecture, which I pursued professionally, life found an unexpected way to lead my path to a one, similar to my grandmother’s. I love how life manages always to show you the direction, only if you are careful enough to read the signs and you are open to accept the changes and the risk.
Raised in a house full of women, from my great grandmother, to my grandmother, mother, aunt and beloved sister, it’s evident I come from a long line of strong women, who are determined to achieve their goals and aspirations, who are hard workers, who stay true to their values, who are caring, loving, sensitive, while strong. They were and always will be my inspiration, my foundation and my springboard to achieve my dreams. I am forever grateful to this tribe.
Grandma Efthi-Mia’s Lessons:
- Dress for yourself first and then for the others
- Taking care of yourself is an act of self-respect
- Inspiration comes from within
- Scent is powerful, choose yours wisely