eftychia karamolegkou makes couture for tomboys
1 Granary profile six of their favourite young designers for you to look out for in 2018. Following on from duo Chopova Lowena, we meet Eftychia Karamolegkou.
Eftychia Karamolegkou is a deep thinker. One of her favourite pastimes is sitting somewhere and observing, trying to analyse and understand people. “Fashion is sociology with elements of art,” she suggests. “Fashion is my medium to sense what I see around me.”
Growing up in the idyllic Grecian island of Santorini made for a creative isolation that was frustrating and limiting. With a sense of yearning, Eftychia followed her instincts: “I decided to do fashion because I didn’t want to wake up when I’m 80 years old, regretting, ‘What if?’”
Her Central Saint Martins MA Fashion graduate collection was a series of relaxed tailored womenswear looks. A simplified set of oversized jackets, loose shirts and baggy trousers are more than meets the eye -- and the same can be said for the intended wearer. Eftychia removed all signifiers from the clothes, blurring feminine or masculine traits. “I wanted to do haute couture for tomboys,” Eftychia says. “It was always about mixing masculine with feminine.” The end result is stripped back apparel for an anonymous woman.
Eftychia is designing for an independent woman unfazed by absurdity of modern life. Her wardrobe is a barrier to the outside world: “She keeps people away, and those that are interested will come closer to get to know her.” Set your Instagram to private or, ideally, don’t have one. Overexposure is to be avoided. Understated minimalism protects your ambiguous identity.
Eftychia’s personality is reflected beneath the collection’s subtle exterior. She’s contrary to the bone; grounded and ambitious; part loner and part extrovert; warm but shy; restless and thoughtful. Her own approach to dressing is understated and practical. “I filter things through me,” she admits, “and the result becomes very personal.”
The ambiguity of her designs also comes from a multitude of references; the collection can’t easily be pinned down to a single reference or period. She draws from the early 1900s to the 90s.. Nicolas Cage, Winona Ryder and Jodie Foster are on her moodboard, alongside photos of her grandparents.
Eftychia tried to avoid crafting a demanding tailored collection for her Masters, but kept being drawn back to it. “I was trying to hide the things I was scared to do. In the end I was like: ‘Fuck it, I’m going to do it.’” Tailoring is a passion she has been courting since her teenage years. “Tailoring will never die. It’s not a trend, it’s there forever, so I wanted to do something timeless.”
Experimentation came in a lot during the pattern cutting, which she describes as “the worst bit” as it has to be unbelievably precise. Despite her insistence that she is not a trained tailor, this humble designer knows her craft and her limits. Multiple toiles were trialled until the perfect shape started to form. Eftychia explains why the aesthetic could be seen at first glance as simplistic : “From a distance I wanted it to look quite boring, but up close you see details that differentiate it from the generic.”
She has created an alternative femininity that doesn’t rely on adornment. Eftychia explains that “femininity is what you feel,” and that “it’s not what you put on yourself.” The gender disparity of her native Greece has fed into her work -- a strong female heritage and an embedded Grecian patriarchy.. In her collection, she chose to oppose the systems she grew up around: “My woman is not relying on her sexuality to achieve the things she wants.”