A shared Greek heritage coupled with a strong sense of individuality earned two local designers top distinctions in two separate European competitions recently.
On July 9 in Rome, 33-year-old designer Angelos Bratis won the much coveted ready-to-wear prize at Who Is On Next, Italy?s premier talent-scouting competition. The brainchild of Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani, the award was accompanied by a 5,000-euro bonus. Meanwhile, in the French city of Lyon in late June, Ismini Samanidou was the recipient of the first prize at the Texmedin Design Challenge, a competition which brought together 60 designers from Greece, Italy, Spain and France.
Texmedin is a European Union program focusing on the textiles and garments legacy of the European and broader Mediterranean region. The project involves a network of so-called ?Inspiring Labs,? which sees designers and other fashion professionals gaining access to the archives of various museums, documentation centers as well as Texmedin?s online library. Participating in the Texmedin network is Nafplio?s Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation.
In France, Samanidou was singled out for a series of interior fabrics inspired by vintage Greek motifs.
A Royal College of Art weaving graduate, the designer has taught at University College Falmouth in Cornwall, while her work was recently on display at the Jerwood Space in London.
Back in Rome, at Who Is On Next, Bratis focused on his signature fluid silhouettes and inspired handmade draping.
Born in Athens, Bratis grew up in his mother?s atelier before embarking on studies at the ArtEZ Institute of the Arts, formerly known as the Arnhem Fashion Institute, in Amsterdam. His collections have, over the years, graced catwalks in Athens, Paris, Amsterdam and New York, while the designer also concluded a two-year stint at Italian brand Gattinoni. In October last year, Bratis closed down his Athenian atelier and returned to Rome, where he had lived a few years ago.
The designer is planning on keeping busy in the near future: In the middle of talks with various Italian production units in order to produce his winning collection, he is also preparing a window display for Roman boutique Degli Effetti in view of Vogue?s Night Out in September as well as a presentation of his collection at the Palazzo Morando during Milan fashion week in October.