AXDW: Trends, hype and business too

With fashion events having become something of a rarity in debt-stricken Greece over the last few years, news of an organized effort promoting the local scene’s talent and business can only be considered good.

The latest edition of the Athens Xclusive Designers Week (AXDW), which marks the 14th outing for the biannual event, opens at its customary venue, the Ethniki Insurance Megaron in southern Athens on Friday. Running to Monday, the event will feature spring/summer 2014 looks with a few local houses also showing garments for the current season.

“The event is taking place amid certain difficulties, such as a number of designers not being able to come up with collections, but there is also major anticipation regarding the shows,” AXDW organizer Tonia Fouseki told Kathimerini English Edition.

One of the factors giving the event fresh impetus this season is the presence of international buyers. According to Fouseki, fashion industry professionals from France, Dubai, Qatar and Los Angeles are expected to make the trip to Athens to scout for new looks for their respective showrooms and concept stores.

“In my opinion, there are two reasons behind the presence of foreign buyers,” noted Fouseki. “On the one hand, there’s a feeling that prices might be more competitive in Greece right now due to the ongoing crisis, while on the other, the Athens Xclusive Designers Week has contributed to the image of the local industry abroad; they know things are happening here.”

Foreign buyers will hopefully be joined by their local counterparts as well as media and fashion lovers at the AXDW, where the roster features 23 designers ranging from the established to the up-and-coming.

Making his debut on a Greek catwalk is Panos Papadopoulos, a Greek-born, Stockholm-based designer whose brand, Panos Emporio, specializes in beachwear and accessories. Founded in 1986, the label launched its first women’s and men’s garment collection in 2011. In Athens, Papadopoulos will also unveil a new fragrance collection.

Veteran Makis Tselios will present a new menswear and womenswear Atelier collection inspired by 1920s and 30s jazz and swing, while Christos Petridis will showcase couture looks from Faliakos by Petridis. The house of Kathy Heyndels mixes rock and chic while Apostolos Mitropoulos explores his signature deluxe street style for the Underground label.

Thirteen-year-old Fani will present two dresses she designed for the Laskaris label thanks to the Make-A-Wish charity organization, while Valtadoros has come up with “Galactic Butterfly,” a collection inspired by Mayan culture. The AXDW runway will also host collections by Celebrity Skin, Panos Apergis, Konstantinos Mitrovgenis and Athina Korda.

The event’s closing show will feature German house Escada and the brand’s new resort collection, which will be making its international catwalk debut in Athens. The collection is designed by the label’s fashion director Daniel Wingate.

The 12th edition of AXDW also presents three New Designers Awards, with one of the winners producing a capsule collection for the Underground label, a second winner observing his or her work featured in a well-known local media outlet and a third earning a one-year scholarship for a local vocational training institute.

The event will also present a fashion design project open to participants from all fields. The winner will be chosen by the AXDW’s audiences and will be invited to participate in the next round of young designers awards.

In addition, Athens Xclusive Designers Week will pay tribute to Michalis Aslanis, who died in late August. The homage will incorporate a display of archive material, photographs and garments. The popular Greek designer’s last show, a digest retrospective of his 40 years in fashion, took place on the AXDW catwalk in March.

Makeup artist Freddy Kalobratsos will orchestrate the runway makeup, while DJs from radio station Athens Deejay 95.2 will carry the beat from the catwalk to the floor.

“We are satisfied to be able to carry out the event; to see that we can still pull it off,” noted Fouseki. “Our hope is that, through all the hype, we can also generate synergies on the business level as well.”

For more information, go to While admission to shows is by invitation only, members of the public will be allowed to watch catwalk presentations if full capacity is not reached through invitation holders.

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