Lydia Crespo is the founder and designer behind the beautiful silk creations at Argaman & Defiance. Naturally dyed and constructed in Chicago, Lydia uses natural dye extracts responsibly collected from tree bark, roots, and leaves. The hand dyed process is an artfully crafted skill, making each piece uniquely beautiful.
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting story behind it?
My first name, Lydia means ‘the maker of purple cloth’. That purple cloth was described as Argaman, which translates from Hebrew as crimson.
My Designs are greatly impacted by growing up immersed in nature. The credit and my forever gratitude go to my Grandparents. Their home was located in Defiance, Missouri near popular nature preserve, Busch Wild Life Sanctuary. It was here I learned to love, discover, and respect nature.
Have you always been passionate about design?
Yes. I have always had a very curious mind. Design is like a great puzzle with endless clues and solutions.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I took a class on natural dyes while studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I was immediately hooked. I don’t know any other way to describe it other than my hands knew what to do.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
Its simple and no fuss.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Too many to count. I learned to keep going. Fulfilling and meaningful work is never easy, but it is enjoyable.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
Many sacrifices, but no regrets yet.
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
I have been featured in the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Magazine a few times. Its always a very proud moment when you can see your work in print. But my favorite, slightly unusual, and most certainly unexpected moment came last year. I was given the extreme honor of designing a piece inspired by Elvis for the Graceland Gift Shop in TN.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
Before moving to Chicago I lived in land locked Missouri. A great state, but I LOVE being so close to a massive body of water like Lake Michigan. My dipped dyed Raw Silk Scarves and Crop Tops are inspired by the crashing and foaming waves and the way the color of the water shifts depending on the day, season, amount pollution in the water… Ha! Just kidding on that last one…kinda.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I used the people around me to learn what I didn’t know. I worked with small businesses and sought out advise from the people who were doing the things I wanted to do.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
I like having the final decision.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Keep going. Find your community and learn what they want and how to make it better. Be open and flexible.
What are some inspirations for your work?
My favorite design in my collection is the speckled pieces! Speckled eggs at the farmers market inspired me, but love the final product even more because it reminds me of a Dalmatian print.