A pink tulle midi-length strawberry printed dress has recently “gone viral” on social media like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. It has become recognizable enough on these platforms to now be referred to simply as “the strawberry dress.”
American plus-size model Tess Holliday wore it to the Grammys’ red carpet in February, but the dress attracted renewed attention in mid-July. Perhaps pushed into fame in part by the re-emergence of the “cottagecore” trend, the lovingly detailed, flowy dress has been drawn and photoshopped onto hundreds of characters, and even virtually replicated in the popular life simulation video game Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Though imitations and fast fashion ‘alternatives’ have already begun appearing on sites like AliExpress, the strawberry dress is actually the creation of Kosovo designer Lirika Matoshi.
Matoshi began her career on Etsy in 2016, at only 20 years old, after moving to New York City. The young woman quickly gained popularity on Instagram for her meticulously embellished tights and accessories.
Though her application to the Fashion Institute of Technology was rejected, the art of lavish design seems to be something of a family business for Matoshi, as she learned techniques and materials, firsthand, from her sister Teuta, a celebrated designer on her own right. Teuta’s atelier is run by a third sister, Sanije Matoshi.
The two sisters seem to be united in their romantic style of design, nature-inspired motifs, and intricate attention to detail. Teuta’s more mature and traditional style emerges in her breathtaking made-to-order designs that look as if they were pulled out of a fairytale, whereas Lirika’s pieces have a lighter air of youthful whimsy about them.
Additionally, both of them are socially conscious. The Lirika Matoshi brand is currently made up entirely of women, whereas the Teuta Matoshi’s website asserts her “mission” to hire women as a priority, including single mothers, especially in a country like Kosovo where female unemployment is alarmingly high. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lirika Matoshi announced that 100% of the proceeds from the sale of face masks (which included a strawberry print design!) would go to local charities in Kosovo.