GREEK FASHION DESIGNERS IN SYDNEY
A key challenge in the fashion industry is bridging the gap from production to procurements. A group of 24 Greek fashion and accessories designers and brands are presently reducing that distance by unveiling their summer 2017 offerings to a previously uncharted market – as far as their work goes – Australia.
The medium being used is the Greek Style Council, a podium for presenting and encouraging Greek designers in Australia, and the first action is a pop-up, wholesale showroom which unbolted at La Porte Space’s premises in Sydney on October 17. The ambitious project is the brainchild of Helen Tirekidis. A second-generation Greek-Australian, Tirekidis has originated a long way in Australia’s fashion industry, holding positions at several luxury houses including Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Longchamp and Giorgio Armani.
“It was clear to me for a long time that there was astonishing talent in Greece and I was always a little frustrated that this was little known [in Australia],” said Tirekidis in an exclusive interview. “For years, I always heard about the state of the economy, the doom and gloom. But what was bizarre to me was that there was not much talk about what was really going right in Greece. The real trigger for me was that I observed the correlation between the downturn in the economy and a super-fast upsurge in creativity.”
The Australian market has made huge jumps forward in fashion in recent decades – a relative desert in terms of luxury brands in the late 1970s, the country now hosts the gamut of high-end designer stores as well as familiar fast-fashion chains.
According to Tirekidis, Australian consumers (the country’s population is nearly 24.5 million) are great explorers who follow shopping developments in Europe closely, while the local industry has now taken its strategies into cyberspace. Does this new wave of Greek creativity have what it takes to content the desires of today’s clients who, according to FashionUnited, spend 28.5 billion Australian dollars annually on clothes and footwear?
“I feel we are moving into a new era, one which is focused more on emerging designers,” said Tirekidis. “There is a glut of extravagance brands and fast fashion and not much focused on the in-between ‘new, innovative emerging talent’ per se. I sense that for customers who appreciate fashion, it’s increasingly about having something that not everyone has and that is well crafted at the same time.”
A few days prior to the pop-up venture’s opening, Tirekidis was already in discussions with The Iconic, Australia’s largest online store, while, along with buyers, representatives from print media outlets as well as bloggers and influencers were expected to become acquainted with the designers and brands on view.