“Silk scarves never go out of fashion; they are timeless,” Vassiliki Zafiria Ypsilanti tells me over the telephone as I look at samples of her work from my desk in Athens.
Based in Kavala in northern Greece, Mantility aspires to become the first online gallery of scarves made with the techniques of the famed silk producers of Soufli and printed with work by Greek visual and graphic artists, an innovative marriage of tradition and technology.
The businesswoman had worked with numerous graphic designers, designers and architects before she founded Mantility and had observed how they often had to sacrifice their creative drive in order to make ends meet with mundane jobs like designing advertising pamphlets or carrying out home refurbishments.
Wary of seeing her own drive sapped and eager to explore her love of textiles, she came up with the idea of creating a platform for Greek artists and bringing them closer to their clients.
At Mantility, each artist will be given his or her special page in the electronic store, which will include a brief biography along with their work. Among the artists who are already working with the firm are acclaimed photographer Stratos Kalafatis, ceramist Kostas Karakitsos and the G-Design Studio, but also talented emerging designers like Greg Papagrigoriou and Chris Tzaferos’ Blaqk team, Konstantinos Fidanos, Eleni Koukkidou and others.
“Our aim is to acquaint the international public with Greek scarves and Greek designers. Even our packaging is made in Greece. We don’t want to appear at retail stores, but would like to have a presence at cultural organizations and museums,” says Ypsilanti.
Like so many online enterprises, Mantility has tapped the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo for support and exposure. However, it is also one of the last businesses in Greece that has been able to do so, as the company no longer works with this country.
Asked by Kathimerini about this development, Indiegogo’s press office said that it has introduced changes to its payment system and while several countries in the eurozone can participate, Greece is not among them.