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Hellenic fashion finally available in Australia

Neos Kosmos speaks with the Greek Style Council's creator Helen Tirekidis just hours before the launch of her long awaited e-shop

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03 November 2017

Greek Australian Helen Tirekidis, a woman with a stellar career in wholesale, marketing and PR for luxury brands such as Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Longchamp and Giorgio Armani has decided to carve her own path, bringing Greek fashion to Australia.

Helen's journey started just about a year ago, with Greek Style Council (GSC), a multi-platform project representing various emerging and established fashion labels from Greece with an aim to establish commercial opportunities for these brand names in Australia.

The first steps into introducing, connecting and facilitating Greek fashion talent into Australia were in Sydney, where retail buyers, press and influencers had the opportunity to visit the GSC pop-up and showroom and be made aware of what Greece is doing well.

For the first time, GSC will allow customers direct access to a curated selection of several Greek resort designers, never before seen in Australia, with the key purpose of elevating awareness of Greek fashion, and thereby increasing its international footprint Down Under. We got a hold of Helen hours before the e-shop launch on Wednesday to find out more.

Greek Style Council has been running for a year now. How has the ride been so far?
Its been a fantastic year so far. After launching the pop-up showroom, I was able to secure $50,000 worth of orders – that's wholesale orders. So we now have eight brands in stores around Australia – with many now re-ordering [a] second season. So the agency side has worked well. The press in particular are a good gauge – and they've responded really well.

What made you decide to create an on line store, public demand?
After the showroom, I was surprised at the level of enquiries via my contact page from people hearing about what I was doing. They were asking me where can they buy on-line, some were specifically asking [for] some [of] the brands which didn't have retail orders. So I figured it was the next addition to the platform. I also felt that these brands deserve to be known here and to have support of Australia. In the 1960s we imported migrants here, the last few years have become about the new Greece. We see it with wines, oils, fashion and more.

Would you say that your physical clientele mainly consist of Greeks?
I am targeting the woman who is well-travelled and seeks accessories that are exquisitely made, stylish, unique and also hard to find. She is not necessarily Greek! In fact, the database is pretty big now and the majority of people signing up out of interest have been non-Greeks. This is great because, this is precisely what this project is about. I'm specifically rebranding Greek fashion to the Australian locals. The Greek locals already know our amazing designers. But of course, I'm also thrilled to still have a huge swell of support from Greeks here and in Greece!

What are your standards for choosing a label? Do you approach brands or is it the other way around?
For most, I approach them. However, there are three pillars: fine craftsmanship is number one criteria, a level of uniqueness in what they do, and if they have an international intent. It's very simple really.

Which Greek designers do you represent at the moment?
I currently represent 30 designers. I have some interesting and innovative plans for the Ready-to-Wear designers coming soon. The ranging targets premium designers across swimwear, sandals, bags, jewellery, hats and scarves based on exceptional craftsmanship and exquisite styles. At the moment brands include swimwear from Sophie Deloudi, Emmanuela, Stefania Frangista; sandals from Esiot, Olimpo, Valia Gabriel; jewellery from Sofia Papakosta, Hermina, Elena Kougianou, Maesa Morado; hats from Blanc, Savapile; scarves from Grecian Chic Scarves, Kridemnon; bags from Lommer, Salty Bag, Argalios, Marina Vernicos, and more!

What do you wish to achieve with the e-shop? What are your short and long term goals?
I want Australian women to embrace Greek designers and see Greece through the lens of fashion forwardness, progress and exceptional craftsmanship standards. We know Greece does wine, olive oil, yoghurt, tourism … Now it's time for Greece to also be known for its 'creative' industry'. That is not just fashion too. There are some incredible object designers and architects. So much talent. Long term goals are to have a solution for Ready-to-Wear designers in Australia.

Helen Tirekidis

Tell us something we don't know about you. What inspires your creative, entrepreneurial side?
I am Pontian. Pontians go back centuries as people known for their dedication to iron and silversmiths. My parents were born in Greece; specifically they are from the north of Greece. My mother was a seamstress and my father was a food wholesaler. I get my love for fashion from her and my aptitude for business and commerce from him.

To find out more, visit greekstylecouncil.com

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