Krista West was born in Portland, Oregon and began sewing at the age of 4. Her love of handcrafts as a child and her conversion to Orthodox Christianity in 1993 led into an interest in Orthodox ecclesiastical vesture. She apprenticed with Leslie Schaill of Traditional Cassocks and Vestments from 1994 to 1997 and began Krista West Vestments in 1997 with launching in 1998 as the first ecclesiastical tailoring website on the Internet. Her focus quickly centered upon the Greek style and while the majority of her work is in this arena, she is also committed to maintaining distinct styles of vesture within Orthodox Christianity. To that end, she has sewn for clergy and churches in 48 of the 50 United States as well as multiple other countries.
In 2002, Krista began to research the origins of Orthodox Christian vestments. In 2004, she traveled to Greece to participate in a museum conservation course hosted by the Greek Ministry of Culture which conserved 95 pieces of the ecclesiastical garment collection of the Gonia Monastery in Kolimbari, Crete. Her research and field work led to her podcast "The Opinionated Tailor" which began airing on Ancient Faith Radio in 2008 and now has over 70 episodes. In 2013, her book, "The Garments of Salvation: Orthodox Christian Liturgical Vesture" was published by SVS Press and is the first comprehensive book on the topic in English. She lectures throughout the US on the topics of beauty and Orthodox Christian Aesthetics and travels regularly to Greece to meet with suppliers as well as to be creatively inspired.
In 2017, she opened Avlea Mediterranean Folk Embroidery after seeing the desire of many Orthodox Christians to bring the kind of beauty they saw in their churches into their homes and it is her delight to design folk embroidery patterns as a way of helping makethe ancient beauty of the Church accessible to the modern home. It is her firm belief that beauty in the home of the faithful will sustain and broaden the aesthetic traditions of the Church into the next generation.
Krista now lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband, Fr. Alban West, and two of their three daughters (the oldest is now married) where she works in the basement studio of the 1923 home they are restoring. Her daughters help her out in the workshop along with her wonderful assistant and dear friend, Jill Machado, who often answers emails and phone calls. She feels blessed to have been a part of the ancient traditions of the Church for two decades and looks forward to many more fruitful, beautiful years.
If you would like to learn more, please click on the links below to either my book or my podcasts.
Listen to Krista's podcast
"The Opinionated Tailor"
at Ancient Faith Radio
Krista in her first workshop
Krista in her second workshop with daugher, Nora, circa 2014
Krista today (well, a few years ago)