Greek fashion extravaganza displays vision and promise for domestic industry

There’s nothing more exciting than being present when something happens for the very first time. It is the kind of feeling that thousands of visitors enjoyed at the Zappeion Hall during the Diners Athens Collections InStyle, the first-ever Greek fashion week, which took place from March 17 to March 20. Organized by the Hellenic Fashion Designers Association in collaboration with IMAKO Media and Citibank’s Diners Club card as principal sponsor and under the auspices of the Athens Municipality, the exciting event brought together the majority of local fashion players and whetted appetites for the next installment scheduled for the fall. Figures for the four-day event at Zappeion included 28 catwalk shows by 32 designers, which were attended by 450 members of the press, 100 models, 37,000 guests and about 1,000 members of staff working in production. Such a huge organization couldn’t have been executed without a few glitches – shows running late and impractical security checks come to mind – but this is a time for looking at the big picture, which is a pretty one indeed: designers helping each other backstage and taking their front-row seats to watch their colleagues’ collections; excited audiences applauding garments and their creators; everyone having fun; an opening reception in the presence of Athens Mayor Dora Bakoyannis (who pledged continuous support); and an inspired party hosted by LAK and InStyle at the Varvakeios meat market as well as a closing party at Venue. What emerged from the shows besides a plethora of creative visions? Clearly an understanding that a united front is the only way to go. And though this is just the beginning, the message is clear: It’s time to start taking Greek designer fashion a little bit more seriously. Help them create a new fashion industry which will incorporate the savoir-faire of the old days (and that means bringing along other related industry players) with the demands of today – both local and international; create the necessary infrastructure in order for designers to be able to develop their production and product; nurture fresh talent; break a number of local barriers that hamper the designers’ efforts, such as the inability on the part of some of the local media to focus on the designers’ work as opposed to their personalities; and promote the idea that signature Greek fashion, style and design has a lot to say, both in Greece and abroad.

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