A look on Stelios Koudounaris FW14/15 collection

Interview with Filep Motwary

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Cyprus born Stelios Koudounaris studies were focused on Fashion Design and Garment Manufacture. His experience in fashion starts from an early age, while observing his parents working in their own factory. As an adult he moves to Athens in search of his own creative voice, working for some of the leading Greek fashion brands as a designer as well as a stylist.

His name is known in Greece, with a solid career participating in many local events while enjoying international press support.

Mufflon is his trademark,slightly declaring the designer’s origin, a traditional figure statement, given a modern twist to explore his designs’ sharp shaped pattern cutting and dynamics. His minimal approach to female sexiness evolves through a mixture of razor-cut clear designs and slightly futuristic mood.
Stelios, you are a Cypriot origins designer, working in Athens.

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How many years has it been exactly and what has changed in the Athenian Fashion scene all this time?

I moved in Athens right after the end of my studies in 2004. My personal label was launched in summer 2008 and is currently measuring 15 women and 8 men’s collections. The new generation of Greek designers, although in reality is not even on the map of world fashion, I find that they‘ve got the skills to be found next to designers who present their work at international level. I feel that in the next few years we will be pleased to observe talented designers, who make serious progress abroad. Regarding the Greek fashion crowd, it is ready to appreciate and embrace local designers, since recession made Greeks more sensible towards what is happening next to them.

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How did everything start for you?

I knew that I wanted to create my personal collection from an early age. It was not a goal. I just knew it. And the moment came that I said to myself that, that was the moment I was ready. From that same day, without any thoughts and planning, I started designing, sourcing fabrics and materials, and looking for tailors.

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Why have you chosen fashion as your profession in the first place?

Fashion as a profession for me is a natural evolution of my childhood experiences. I grew up in a family environment full of clothes, fabrics, patterns, threads and tailors, and as a result it all came rational to what professional direction I would take. It might sound as a cliché, but in fact this was the natural progression of my story.

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Your winter collection is very subtle and modern. It is a completely different direction than any previous work you made…

The truth is that I do not think I’ve changed design ethics since my first collection. This time as well, I remain faithful to my personal aesthetic obsessions and character lines but with a more subtle attitude. It is even impressive to me to observe how much I have matured through my collections. With a very specific aesthetic conception and lines absolutely identical to my brand, I feel that I can express my feelings through my clothes.

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The collection…
For this season as well bold layers and androgynous attitude are dominant attributes, which I often use in my collections, in a more feminine and contemporary approach. I feel that I created modest and comprehensive but at the same time “provocative” clothes. Black, by being my favorite color, plays a key role in a game with textures and unconventional combinations of materials, while emerald and burgundy have their own position. For this winter I created my own fabrics and rich knits, aristocratically jacquard from wool and silk, while I experimented for the first time with eco fur and a new material having a leather look and texture while it is actually a print on cotton gabardine. The dominant proposal through this collection is the combination of casual with evening pieces so that all clothes gain even more usability.Women who choose them want to be at the same time elegant and comfortable throughout the day.

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How did you form the heroine/the woman you dress? Who is this woman and how different she is from the woman you had in mind as a younger designer?
Since the very beginning I had the same kind of woman in my mind. This woman grows with me, matures with me, evolves with me, her needs change as mine. She is my own heroine, she is the modern woman, who without disclaiming her fragile side she is strong at the same time. She knows what she wants without negotiating. I appeal to the woman who treats her appearance as an opportunity to express and highlight her personality.

Do you feel fashion is changing? 

The only standard in fashion is the continuous change and this is the meaning. The obvious and non obvious reference of collections in previous decades or historical reports shows a continuous motion backward and forward again, but adapted nowadays. So the direction is not particularly important.
The only thing that has changed direction is that the word “fashion” no longer goes alone, but together with the word “business”. Fashion business is one of the most powerful sources of income and one of the largest private employment channels worldwide. That has disturbed fashions’ artistic nature.

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What would you advice a young designer who starts a career in Fashion?

Apart from the talent, what a new designer needs is to believe in himself, to follow his ideas, to create only the things he likes and work hard.

What is missing from fashion education in Greece? What about the general idea of education?

Greece has a great cultural heritage in all forms of art and science and its history is a major reference point for the whole world. Nevertheless, I feel that the modern Greeks sit back in their history, and that makes them inactive, in a “following” position, with no intention of creating leading standards. Education is generally found in a superficial and inactive period and is something that I wish the new generations begin to shatter.

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What shall we expect from you in the near future?

I hope, beautiful and creative collections that will speak to the soul of the people who love fashion.

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www.stelioskoudounaris.com
Photo: Charalambos Giannakopoulos / Styling: Haris Gotzamanidis & Ilias Mihalolias  / Make up: Marita Thoma Politou  / Model: Jessica (dmodels)
Fashion assistant: Platon Papagiannopoulos’

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