If you’re unfamiliar with Melbourne-born DIIDA, let us introduce you to its high-fashion, innovative creations. Created with passion, vision and entrepreneurial spirit, the local label is known for its signature bold designs, daring silhouettes and striking colourways, all with the mission to bring out the inner confidence for all those who wear it. On top of its sleek, elevated designs, the brand also embodies everything we love about fashion in Australia — proudly owned by a strong woman, who celebrates through creating fashion for other strong women. As part of HER BLACK BOOK’s Festival of Her, a shopping event to support female-founded businesses, DIIDA founder Dimitria Papafotiou shares some insight into her business journey so far.

“My love for fashion in general, started during my first job in retail clothing. I developed a strong appreciation for all the elements that delivered a clothing collection — pattern cutting, fabric choice, colour combinations and overall styling.  I’ve worked in many key areas of fashion, buying and design, and enjoyed several promotions in the fashion industry. The idea to create and bring my own vision to life never wavered; it was always in the back of my mind, and a dream I just couldn’t shake. It was after achieving the most senior role in fashion design (Creative Director) that I was convinced my dream to build my own brand needed to be fulfilled; it felt like the only logical next step, for me personally. Bringing my business idea to life meant I would have a lead influence over most (if not all) aspects of an original fashion house. I could live and breathe fashion, while enjoying the contribution I would make to the Australian economy and female-led business sector.”

“From my experience, there are three key areas that increase your chances of success. One, build your experience from the bottom-up — it gives you an appreciation for the detail and work that goes into all parts of your business; this also helps you make smart decisions about your product and operations. Two, surround yourself with successful business people and/or other entrepreneurs — they can be an amazing source of support, advice, and even opportunity. Finally, three, believe in yourself and your idea, and be willing to put in the hard yards. You will undoubtably be required to pivot or evolve at some point, in order to address constructive feedback, and/or changing market and consumer dynamics.”

“A statement blouse representing the key trend of the season, paired with sleek stylish pant either cigarette or straight leg cut. Solid colours are my go-to these days, leaving fewer decisions in the morning about potential pattern clashes!  Lastly, always think about your accessories: lots of gold layers and extra footwear. A statement pump and a classic white trainer to switch, are a must for the busy, creative, and social women. There’s no point in being distracted by physical pain (switch to your classic white trainer!) when you could be brainstorming your next business win!”