Canadian-born and raised in Slovenia – in the heart of Eastern Europe – designer Helena Cernigoj has blended her two cultures into a love of knitting and European-styled eye for design.
Helena returned to Canada as a young adult and graduated from Confederation College in Ontario with an Honours degree in Interior Design. The pull of the West was strong, gradually moving her to the mountains and rich landscape of the West Kootenays, British Columbia, where she has settled with her husband to raise their young family.
With her passion for the right mix of style and fibre, Helena discovered the affordable luxury of alpaca. Soft to the touch, light as air, hypoallergenic, the right warmth in any weather and with a beautiful drape, alpaca is the perfect medium for Helena ’s subtle and flattering designs, complimenting every woman’s figure and style.
With much exploration, Helena began blending her custom-spun and hand-dyed fibres, often enriching them with silk, llama, tencel and viscose, and knitting them with the finest European yarns. Because alpaca fibre is extremely durable and easy-care (it’s naturally dirt-repellent), Helena began to create heirloom-quality pieces, paired with timeless design.
In 2003, Helena introduced her first collection from her studio Fibertwists. Received with widespread admiration – and demand – Fibertwists Studio has Helena producing her hand-crated garments most of the year, carefully ensuring her personal mandate for quality is carried through each piece.
To create a truly Canadian hand-made product, Helena begins with the finest alpaca fibres from Canadian alpaca ranches — which is custom spun at a local mill — for her designs. The yarn fibres are selectively hand-dyed by Helena herself, to enhance their beauty and functionality and some selected for their original colour to make limited collection shawls.
Each piece is hand-knit with an artisan loom-style knitting machine, and individually hand-finished, making each unique garment a piece of functional art.
Bringing her fashion-forward and classic designs to women across Canada and North America, Helena is pleased to have fused her artistic flair and love of quality garments. Since the beginning of the Fibertwists, women have been wrapping themselves in the luxury of beautifully designed, feather-soft alpaca shawls, wraps, hats and scarves, with new, delicious designs to choose from each year.