Frida Las Vegas: The megawatt glamour fever-dream bringing Charles Street Plaza to life

In an inversion of the Adelaide “brain drain” narrative, Stavroula Adameitis has returned to Adelaide after 13 years in the big smoke, to throw open the doors of her first brick and mortar space.

Written by Renew Adelaide

Feb 23, 2024

Stavroula Ademeitis standing in front of a colourful background at her store Frida Las Vegas. She is wearing one of her own designs, a kaftan featuring a bright colourful print of South Australian snacks.

From little things big things grow

As an aspiring fashion journalist and designer, Stavroula Ademeitis left Adelaide in 2011. Struggling to achieve job security within the local industry, she had set her sights on the big smoke and was ready to launch her fledgling creative career.

Fast forward to 2023, and Stavroula has returned from Sydney rich in experience and ready to launch her larger than life concept store Frida Las Vegas – right here in the heart of Adelaide’s CBD. Part art gallery, part retail space and all colour, Frida Las Vegas offers punters the opportunity to shop neon art, fashion, prints, homewares, accessories and more. So what brought Stavroula back home to grow her business?

“Adelaide’s lifestyle offered me a sense of work-life balance, at the same time as the opportunity to grow the physical presence of my business,” she explains. “The quality of life is more conducive to my sustainability as a creative, allowing me to treat my career like anyone else with a ‘normal job’. And of course, Adelaide’s international reputation as a festival and creative hub fits so perfectly with my brand!”


Finding a work-life balance

In Sydney, the relentless cost of living meant Stavroula was so busy “on the grind” that she struggled to maintain the inspiration behind her business and art practice. Moving to Adelaide has allowed her to recharge her creative batteries, while continuing to work towards exporting her business nationally and internationally, and enabling her to connect meaningfully with other entrepreneurs and creative collaborators.

“Small businesses in Adelaide are supportive of each other, and they openly share information. The attitude is: if your business wins, then my business wins. That sense of comradery and community is quite special and unique to this city.”

Stavroula notes that Renew Adelaide’s rent-free activation program was also a significant drawcard – the only one of its kind in Australia that would allow her to test her brick and mortar concept in a major city, without taking a backwards step financially.

“I’ve been able to put my resources into making new stock and developing local relationships with suppliers, stakeholders and members of the creative community, without putting all my capital into rent. There’s an important flow of economic and cultural vibrancy and positivity that can only happen when businesses know that they’re able to move forwards with support, rather than backwards with unsustainable rent costs.”

The interior of Frida Las Vegas. Throughout the store is a number of clothing racks and mannequins displaying her bright colourful clothing designs.
Frida Las Vegas as seen from Charles Street.

Dreaming big (and very, very bright)

The connection enabled via the physical shopfront is key to the success of Stavroula’s business model. Located just off Rundle Mall in Charles Street Plaza, Frida Las Vegas forms part of what Stavroula refers to as a “shadow mall” – an alternative retail precinct and community that showcases a growing, grassroots cluster of businesses. It’s the sort of space that customers stumble upon with a sense of delight – a brightly coloured oasis in the heart of the city. “There’s real value in having a face-to-face connection with customers and other businesses in the city in which you live and work. I would like for Friday Las Vegas to inspire other solo entrepreneurs across industries.”

The sense of community that Stavroula has found in Adelaide is something she’s excited to foster now and into the future. “I want to set a good example that shows it’s possible – to inspire other solo entrepreneurs and set a tone of optimism. I think the hackneyed old story of Adelaide being boring is a complete lie. Adelaide has a really vibrant creative community which I couldn’t wait to be part of again, and I want the next generation of creatives to see that. If you can show at street-level that it’s possible, then hopefully you can inspire others to do the same.”