Perseverance, cohesion and strategy are some of the main principles Alexandra Polymenakou stands for. Through her AP SHOWROOM, she advises and promotes a strong team of young and acclaimed Greek designers. We met with her in her beautiful space and talked about the “Made in Greece” future of fashion.
How did you conceive the idea of AP SHOWROOM?
By loving and watching closely arts and fashion. I was always dreaming of creating a space which could combine both. Since 2010, with the start of recession, this idea started to develop. It finally became a vision aiming at the support and promotion of Greek designers on an international level. I used to work in sales so, it came naturally.
Why do you think Greek designers became such a hot property during recession?
If we want to be clear and honest, we have to admit that the reasons behind it were merely financial. The reduction of the buying potential (retail) shifted consumers in less expensive options, i.e. those who used to afford famous imported brands are now looking for more affordable yet quality products. At the same time, it became emotional as well, meaning they started to search for made-in-Greece goods to support the local production. On the other hand, there was a need for store owners to form more flexible partnerships comparing to the commercial conditions abroad. Moreover, they had to follow the trends imposed by Greeks as well as foreign consumers who visit our country.
Which are the biggest gaps within the industry in Greece and what do you consider as the biggest challenge?
Apart from the lack of funding in most cases, the biggest issue is the reduction of the manufactures. This is odd as there’s an increase in new designers. Unfortunately, it seems that there’s no follow-up to the already existing manufactures. Regarding production and specialization, this could be a challenge. There’s also a lack in state aid and in the creation of development in the field of entrepreneurship as a whole.
Regarding Greek fashion, is there a lot of talent and how this could be interpreted into actual business?
There’s plenty of talent of course. However, there’s lack regarding the know-how, from production to promotion. In order for a talent to be able to blossom and to be expressed in business terms, the right means and the right team are absolutely necessary. In other words, it needs the know-how and the appropriate use of it. Success comes hand in hand with hard work, organization and consistency.
What advice would you be able to offer to any young designer out there who wishes to launch his own brand?
To research, to study the competition and to define the target-customer. To address any potential and take advantage of it; to discover any weakness and cover the gaps, whether it’s the way of work or a partner. In any case, a prospect designer should be alert. However, the important thing is to go after his dream without losing himself in the process.
Interview by Yorgos Kelefis
Photos: Spiros Stergiou