Explore the roots of fashion across Greece

They worked with Pomak embroiderers to create intricate traditional designs and alongside nuns from the Orthodox Monastery of Saints Konstantinos and Eleni in the Peloponnese, mastering the art of loom weaving. They learned about the delicate techniques of breeding the silk moth, visited cotton ginning factories, explored the archaeological site of Vergina near Thessaloniki, marveled at the beauty of traditional Greek costumes in Kalamata and immersed themselves in the world of digital fashion. The program for Fashion Revolution Greece’s first summer school was exceptionally comprehensive and diverse, meeting the preferences and needs of the 18 participants from Latin America, the United States, Europe, Lebanon and India.

“We’ve extended an invitation to everyone who is passionate about transforming the fashion industry – students and educators, workers and entrepreneurs in the field, young people who care about the environment,” says Fiori Zafeiropoulou, who had the idea of ​​the project. Zafeiropoulou is an expert in sustainable and ethical supply chains and is the national coordinator of Fashion Revolution Greece. His proposal has resonated with like-minded people who embrace the values ​​of a green and ethical economy. Seventeen women and one man came together for a 20-day event in Greece. “Our objective was not only to share the best practices implemented in our country but also to facilitate the exchange of expertise”, explains Zafeiropoulou. “A few decades ago, Greece was thriving in the garment industry, taking advantage of our abundant raw materials such as cotton and silk, which enabled us to establish a complete supply chain,” says -She. The group attended lectures by renowned scholars and professionals, engaged in workshops, and explored Greece in their free time.

“A few decades ago, Greece was thriving in the garment industry, taking advantage of our abundant raw materials such as cotton and silk”

“I had never witnessed the step-by-step production of silk, like I did in Soufli,” says Lucia Dao, 36, a Venezuelan who lives in Mexico and owns a second-hand clothing store. . “In our region, silk production is limited to a small community in the Andes, which I have never had the opportunity to visit,” she says. Thrace won the heart of this young Latin American, not just because of the silk moth. “We toured extensively, visiting the towns of Xanthi and Komotini, as well as the villages of Pomak. The breathtaking scenery and the warm hospitality of the people made me feel at home,” she says. Dao joined the program with the intention of honing her skills in garment and fabric reuse at her store in Tulum, Mexico. However, through interactions with fellow attendees and industry professionals, she gained valuable insights. “I have a strong creative side, but I lack expertise on the entrepreneurial side,” she admits. “Traditions are fading, not only in Greece but all over the world. But we have the power to breathe new life into them through the fashion industry. A visit to the Victoria Karelias collection of traditional Greek costumes in Kalamata left a deep impression on Lucia. “The wide range of the collection, the innovative costume display and the seamless integration of technology for an enhanced visitor experience left me inspired and brimming with ideas,” says the 36-year-old, who has found parallels between traditional Greek costumes and those of the indigenous populations of Latin America.

“I have a strong aspiration to work in sustainable fashion, which is why I travel the world to discover and learn best practices,” says Hetansi Parekh, 23, who studied fashion in the UK. In her native India, she observes various conflicting aspects of the modern garment industry, such as the exploitation of underpaid local labor and the dominance of big business in the field. “These problems stem from the absence of a legislative framework; it is the government’s responsibility to protect workers. Parekh herself aligns with the values ​​of Fashion Revolution, advocating sustainable fashion and fair trade. These values ​​are what she aims to promote worldwide through her social media marketing company. “After Greece, my journey will continue to Turkey, followed by Stockholm and Copenhagen, where sustainable fashion has taken root, to explore and discover more,” she adds.

“Our visitors encountered a distinct side of Greece, where they discovered its creative essence and met visionary individuals who, despite the challenges, preserve and enhance traditional techniques,” said Elis Kiss, fashion goods director at Vogue. Greece, who met the team in Mani in the Peloponnese. “During our discussions, we explored how the fashion industry, especially the luxury segment, leverages the cultural identity of a place,” Kiss explains. “Major fashion brands have shown interest and have looked into Greek cultural heritage. For example, Dior recently unveiled a collection inspired by Antiquity.

Naturally, cultural heritage also serves as an inspiration for independent designers, as evidenced by the works of Mary Katrantzou and the late Sophia Kokosalaki. In the past, the practice of cultural appropriation has come under criticism, as cultural borrowings often occur without recognition. “Now, however, fashion houses are openly discussing and publicizing the sources of their inspiration, and they frequently collaborate with local units in the production process,” says Kiss.

Before their departure, the majority of the participants got a tattoo of a circle of women, symbolizing traditional Greek dances and the concept of cyclical fashion. “It was an exceptionally rewarding experience over the course of 20 days,” says Zafeiropoulou. “We all emerged with newfound wisdom: for example, in conversations with the nuns of the monastery, I discovered that Morias acquired its name because of the abundance of mulberry trees that once adorned the area, when the production of silk flourished in ancient times.”

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