Christina Ekonomou is a new designer, currently taking her first steps in the fashion industry, by creating the “Christina Economou” label. But why would someone want to read the interview of a young designer? Well that’s easy. Because Economou, just three years into her career, has already graduated from the Istituto Marangoni fashion school, won the London Graduate Fashion Week international award, has worked next to Giambattista Valli, was a correspondent for Vogue Greece, has been highlighted by famous Italian fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni and has had the fashion media on her tail for a while now. You could say that her different but never indifferent prints, her choice of lush fabrics and unconventional designs, coupled with her multinational sense of culture (she lives between France and Greece) and perseverance, paint an image of the bright future that awaits her in the fashion world.
By Kristel Liakou
#1. Tell us a few things about your relationship with fashion and what was it that finally pushed you towards fashion design?
I was always interested in the arts. I recall being on a trip with my parents when I was 15 years old and attending this historic fashion exhibition, that focused on costumes. I was mesmerized by the evolution of fashion design, of fabrics and details!
When I finished school, I enrolled in Parsons, in Paris. During my time there, I fell in love with the city and its culture. I switched universities just so I could stay there (since for my second and third year in Parsons, I would have to have gone to New York) and transferred to Istituto Marangoni. I graduated in 2011 and with the collection I had created, I won the Internatinal Award at the London Graduate Fashion Week. I then worked next to Giambattista Valli, while also working as a correspondent for the Greek edition of Vogue. In 2013, after much thought, I decided to head back to Athens and start something of my own.
#2. Do you think there is such a thing as a natural talent, or do you think it’s all just a matter of being obsessed with a passion you can evolve from?
I think it’s a bit of both, it takes talent and dedication. You can gain a lot through dedication. Talent alone, without passion, hard work and determination won’t get you anywhere. That being said, luck plays a huge role in all this as well.
#3. What is the defining characteristic of your work?
I tend not to look at trends too much. I obviously keep an eye on them and I do have some favorite designers that inspire me, but I try and remain true to my own sense of style, which is defined by my constant desire to redefine “basic items” and evolve them. If you look at my collections, you can see that I really love silk materials, prints and various textures.
#4. What inspires you and what was the driving force behind your ss14 collection?
The style for my new collection is sexy and sophisticated. I used a number of romantic floral prints and pink anemones, as well as green and black roses, which I combined with modern and minimal lines. I used plenty of bold colors, which I combined with earthen tones. I really love all these contrasts that exist in this collection, the low-key colors of the silk materials and the rougher, natural fabrics.
#5. What’s it like splitting your life between France and Greece and what are the differences between then, inasmuch as how they affect your designs?
Athens and Paris are two very different cities, but both of them exert a great influence on me. Both of them feel like home to me. There are few things better than a sun soaked day in Paris, a walk talking in Marais, the river Seine and the little island of Saint Louis, enjoying all the images, smells and people. On the other hand, I really enjoy walking in downtown Athens, where thousands of things happen all at once, street fairs, street performers, the smell of spices hanging in the air. I always find this busy sense of reality so exciting.
#6. What has been your finest moment so far?
Winning the International Award at the London Graduate Fashion Week, was obviously a great moment for me. Soon after winning it, I started to garner attention from publications such as Vogue and L’Officiel, as well as websites like Vogue.it and The Telegraph. I think it’s too early to say that much about my career so far…the best is yet to come! My collections are still pretty new, but I hope that one day they’ll be recognized in the world of fashion.
#7. Describe the kind of woman that you would want to wear your creations.
The woman I can see wearing my clothes is very confident and doesn’t limit herself. She wants to feel good about herself both on the inside and the outside, with what she chooses to wear, whether it’s day or night. It’s important that she can express herself through her clothes at any moment, without limitations.
#8. What would you advise a new designer that wants to start a career in Greece?
I think the key to it all is perseverance. It’s so easy to be disappointed, as there are many young, talented designers out there that are trying to do the same and build a name for themselves. It takes years to build a recognized profile and it needs a lot of work, determination and a steady goal. There is a lot of international support for young designers these days, from the British Council and CFDA, in cities like London and New York. These organizations provide a lot of help, highlighting local talent at trade expos and other such events.
#9. How do you imagine yourself five years from now?
In Athens! With an even stronger identity in the fashion world and with a definite presence in international stores. I would ideally like to open a boutique in Paris, but for now I’m happy to continue building my business step by step and hope to gain as much as I can from this experience. For now, I’m trying to focus on the evolution of my collections, creating strong foundations for my business profile.