Stelios Koudounaris was born and raised in Cyprus. After his studies in fashion design, he moved to Greece, where he lives and works till today. We met him and talked about his beginning, his career and his future plans for his brand.
*Interview by Georgia Trapalis
*Shot by Haralampos Giannakopoulos
#1. Cyprus is your homeland and you declare your love for it even through your band logo. What made you choose Athens as your base?
I chose the Cyprus mouflon as our brand’s logo; this strong traditional image which is directly connected to my childhood years. It is an ode to my special homeland and it also reflects the edginess of my designs and patterns.
Unfortunately, Cyprus isn’t a country that helps fashion designers excel. There is a great lack of materials, as well as production and distribution. Trading still occurs, but flexibility is indeed limited. These were the main reasons that led me to create my base in Athens.
#2. What are some of your first experiences in the industry? When did you decide to create your own brand?
Beginnings are always difficult and you need to be patient, persistent, tough and hard working. My experiences were both good and bad, but I remember all of them with joy. Creating my own brand was something I always wanted to do. I wanted to be able to directly communicate with people, by creating a channel of communication through my designs.
#3. In Greece, at this time of crisis, can the domestic fashion market prosper? How has the crisis affected you?
The way things are at this period of time has made things a bit-or rather a lot- more difficult compared to how they were a few years ago. But difficulties also have their charm. They keep us alert. This period of crisis also creates opportunities and it encourages us to reexamine and reevaluate everything; we change, we evolve and we are forced to find ways to become even more creative, to be specific and to work even harder than before. Personally, I’ve learned not to take anything for granted, not to be content and not to make any risky financial moves. Times are indeed hard at the moment, but we can learn a lot through them.
#4. Your work features wild elegance and rock n roll details. This is also prominent in your latest collection, Fall/Winter 2016-2016. Tell us a little more about it.
The Stelios Koudounaris Winter collection is a narrative. It’s about the story of a woman and a man, both fearless and decisive. They are travelers and explorers, and love discovering new things. They are unbreakable; even if they fall, they get back up again and continue living life. They laugh, they cry, and they are never afraid of the unknown. They are people who never give up. The Cavaliers Noirs are modern heroes, dynamic men and women of our time that are in control of their destiny.
Androgynous charm and athleisure chic and high-end tailoring. The Fall/Winter 2016-2016 collection features blazers, maxi-dresses with tuxedo lapels, tampered sweatpants paired with chic woolen pieces and egg-shaped cloaks worn over draped asymmetrical dresses. Fabrics such as velvet, satin, felt, knitwear and silk create blazers, culottes, bias-cut dresses, all in an array of contrasting colors. The essence of calm confidence is the “protagonist” of this collection.
#5. Are you working on something at the moment? What should we expect from you in the near future?
At the moment, I am working on a men’s and women’s collection for Winter 2016-2017, which will be presented next March at the international trade show Tranoi Femme, during Paris Fashion Week. My team and I are also preparing the presentation of my collection for Summer 2016, which will take place in Athens at the beginning of 2016.