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Q&A with Stavroula Giannoulatou of Greek Archaic Kori

S/S '22


A bit of a mouthful which we are referring to simply as Kori. Think again if Kori suggests a terraced street in rain swept, and fictional, Weatherfield. This Kori is all about sun filled Summers, the sparkling Mediterranean and Hellenic bliss. And Lord knows, we can all get behind a hot holiday. Founded in Athens in 2017 , this is a collection focussed on relaxed, easy and sophisticated dressing, featuring softest cottons and beautiful embroidery. To launch the collection we've had a lovely virtual sit down with Kori's designer Stavroula Giannoulatou to find out a bit more about the brand, and a bit more about life in Greece (and we are very happy to be soaking up some vicarious sun).

Shop Greek Archaic Kori ►

Can you describe a typical day at the office? And who do you work with?

8:40 A.M. I’m on my way to the office and I usually stop at a local juice bar and get a ginger juice. It really boosts my energy and sets my mood up.
8:45 A.M. When I get to the office, I have a black coffee—American-style, not espresso. It's more like a big mug of watery coffee. It's not very Greek. Then I check my e-mail and letters, organize my schedule and interview requests, and give my team proper feedback for the day.
10:00 A.M. I start to work on my designs and do fittings. My studio is a big, wide open and capacious place. My team and I have been working together for a long time so usually we all are busy and our workplace is quite loud and lively.
1:00 P.M. Everyone takes a lunch break, but most of the time I do interviews or appointments. If not, I stay in the office and have food delivered for me: Greek food, sandwiches or, sometimes a baguette with ham and butter, and more coffee. I think I drink about four mugs per day, all watery. I have lunch for about 15 minutes, then do things like researching or choosing colors. I'm always surrounded by people, so sometimes, I need to be alone and reset my mind.
2:00 P.M. My design team comes back, and we start again with fittings or prints. I always wear tight jeans or leather leggings because I do the fittings and rehearse clothes, so I'm not going to wear a nice dress. I wear very normal, comfortable clothes.
7:00 P.M. I listen to music right after everyone leaves my workplace. When I'm completely alone, I listen to it loud —I like the energy.

The back of a model in a Greek garden wearing the Gauze Cotton Bow Dress.

It has been a long time since we’ve had a proper summer holiday. Greece seems to be on everybody’s bucket list. Tell us a few things that you love about your home country.

Truth be told, even though Greece is quite easygoing in terms of affordance, it has always been a very different, unique place for someone to meet.
By the time someone arrives in Greece, gets an idea about the country’s culture: people, ancient- archaic architecture, food, colors and of course sunny weather.
By the time you arrive at a Greek island, you get- at least I do- into an inspiring mood, I become creative, I want to stay there forever. The peacefulness, harmony and authenticity of Greek islands along with exceptional colors of natural places offer an ideal experience.

Kori seems to have reached us by stealth, with a few of our customers shopping from your store in Athens. Can you tell us how you have expanded the brand beyond Greece?

At the very beginning, our brand was loved by people who travelled in Greece and purchased our styles. Gradually, those people started to search for our styles abroad and as a result retailers started to contact us for collaboration. This is how Greek Archaic Kori was expanded and today more and more people ask for our collection all over the world.

Tell us a bit about the name, Greek Archaic Kori, and what it means?

Greek Archaic Kori signifies “Helios” (aka: the sun), the powerful light, the Mediterranean sea, the Greek islands and the wind.
The brand has been named after the Archaic Beauty of Kores:

“In Ancient Greece during the Archaic period (600 – 480 BCE) there has been the rising of the statues depicting female figures known as “kores”. Kores were almost always standing, in a forward pose with the leg extended slightly forward and with one hand pulling their dress as if not to step on it. The free hand was holding an offering to the god or goddess they served.”

How are you approaching the issue of sustainability?

We believe in doing our part in promoting responsible consumption and a more sustainable future by choosing to produce on-demand and aim to minimize the environmental impact of fashion’s overproduction. By launching our collection in time and accepting pre-orders we can fairly anticipate the needs and plan the volume accordingly. We choose to produce locally, in our headquarters in Athens, Greece. We have created long-lasting relationships with our production teams, in order to improve crafting techniques and the quality of our products. We choose primarily natural fabrics, friendly to the environment but also to our skin. Durable and breathable fabrics that feel soft and light, such as cotton, linen, and silk.

Reams of fabric in the Greek Archaic Kori Factory.
Finished garments railed up at the factory.
Ribbons and fabric at the factory.

Who do you imagine wearing Kori? And do you have a particular muse?

Greek Archaic Kori has been designed for every woman. The point is to make every woman feel beautiful, unique and most importantly natural by wearing Greek Archaic Kori. To be honest, I don’t have a particular muse. When I design my clothes, I think of myself. I don’t want to offer people something I wouldn’t wear.

When and how did you start the label? And did you have any formal training?

The brand is founded in Athens, Greece in 2017 and it is designed and produced in brand’s Athens headquarters. The truth is that handmade garment crafting is heritage from our family. If I had to mention any formal training, I would totally talk about the numerous things I learnt from my father-in-law from an early age. Everything about garment production and the whole procedure, is something that you can learn properly only from people who are specialists, like my father-in law is. The brand was created with the goal of producing a high quality, yet an affordable and elegant line of clothing for every woman. Within just a few years, it has gained tremendous popularity in both Greece and abroad.

Do you have any favourite pieces in the collection? What will you be wearing for SS22?

It's hard to choose one piece. All pieces that are included in my collection are my favourite ones. I tried to illustrate the ideal styles that I would like to wear for SS22 so, every single style has been designed in order to be a part of the whole collection that I created for all women..

Your designs feature lots of embroidery including the signature feather motif. How much are you inspired by traditional Greek craft?

In fact, I’m completely inspired by traditional Greek craft, and I do believe that the main reason why people all around the world loved our brand, is the identity of our collection. To be more specific, it’s all about the naturality, locality, traditionality and Greek authenticity of Greek Archaic Kori. Regarding to the feather motif, it is associated with nature and represents all the above, but most importantly Greek tradition.

We love your use of natural fabrics. Can you talk a bit about the production of the collection? Where and how is it made?

The brand's signature aery dresses, beach kaftans, cover-ups and tunics are made of natural and high-quality materials, which are more environmentally responsible; cool linen, pure cotton and silk. Every fabric is tested for its hand-feel, durability, and design. Linen is a classic choice for summer as it is lightweight, breathable and it is easy to wear as it is the ultimate choice for holiday destinations.
Our collection is made in Greece, by local artisans who are experts and love what they do, as my whole team does.

Tell us about a particularly special moment in the life of Greek Archaic Kori.

It is frankly too hard for me to choose only one. The most significant part, I would say is the feedback we get from our customers and to me, these moments really matter.