Greek fashion on and off the catwalk

How is the current climate affecting local fashion design? Are Greek designers turning to more somber looks that reflect the country?s state of affairs? Or do they feel that an injection of color could prove uplifting during such hard times?

Various designers are scheduled to answer these questions in two separate events focusing on spring-summer 2012. The 10th edition of Athens Xclusive Designers Week (AXDW) takes place October 22-24 at the Ethniki Insurance Megaron, while Athens Fashion Week opens on October 26 in Technopolis.

A large portion of local talent, however, is staying away from both catwalks. The current crisis combined with the demise of the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association are two factors which explain this absence, with an increasing number of designers retreating to their ateliers for sur mesure garments and wedding gowns.

Nevertheless, the fashion shows are going ahead.

?We want to carry on because despite the difficulties we need Greek fashion to show extroversion and we want designers to get the publicity; we are going against the tide,? Tonia Fouseki, AXDW director, told Kathimerini English Edition. ?We came up with a motto, ?Keep Greek Fashion In Your Hearts,? and we have only Greek designers and Greeks based abroad showing.?

At the same time, an exhibition of sketches by other local designers, ?Fashion in the Works,? will provide a creative platform for those who are not showing entire collections.

Is AXDW hoping to generate some business?

?We are more limited in terms of buyers this time round, but we have worked very hard on local buyers,? noted Fouseki, who added that only a few buyers — from Britain, Russia and Hungary — are making the trip to Athens.

The AXDW roster for spring-summer 2012 includes Cyprus-born, Paris-based Erotokritos, a designer with two stores in Paris and whose collaborations include French retail chain Monoprix, stylist-designer Tassos Sofroniou and his ?Conquistador? label, Greek-born and Canada-based Stephan Caras, as well as AXDW regulars Miltos (atelier garments), forward-looking Cyprus-born Stelios Koudounaris, dramatic duo Celebrity Skin, and Ritta Attala with Ratt. The event is also presenting its New Designers Awards.

A few days later, the 14th edition of Athens Fashion Week gets under way at the Technopolis cultural complex in Gazi. Organized by Q Productions, the event will feature catwalks, the second part of a workshop showcasing works by Athens School of Fine Arts students, an exhibition of works by young European designers inspired by their Mediterranean heritage (EU-financed, it is part of the TexMedin program), as well as a young designers competition whose winner will be taking part in the next edition of the International Apparel Federation?s competition. Another Athens Fashion Week feature is the Night Boutique, where visitors can browse and buy garments and accessories from past designer collection at discount prices.

Athens Fashion Week takes place October 26-29, presenting established designers and labels along with a crop of young talent. Among the older fashion guard are Aslanis, Kathy Heyndels, Nikos Takis, Vassilios Kostetsos and Andria, while younger designers include Paris Valtadoros, Charalambos Nikolaou, Yiannis Boufis and Caroline De Souza.

While access to the parallel events is open to the public in both events, entrance to fashion shows is by invitation only. For more information on AXDW, go to Athens Exclusive Designers Week at the Ethniki Insurance Megaron, 103-105 Syngrou. To find out more about Athens Fashion Week, go to

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