I first noticed Pressure Paris on an Aussie model. She was wearing a T-shirt which read ΠΡΕΣΣΟΥΡ (pressure). I asked “Where did you get that? Do you know what it means?”
She told me it was from a super-cool French agency/magazine/brand that “you have to check out” and sent me their Instagram profile. After checking their page I followed but did not look into it further until more and more Greek and non-Greek people on my feed started either collaborating with or posting about Pressure Paris. The agency, which has been around since 2012, has managed some of the biggest luxury brands in the market and the magazine hosts editorials by emerging and established talent from all over the world.
On their e-shop page, two cities are proudly sitting at the top: PARIS – ΑΘΗΝΑ. They represent Pressure Paris’ founder’s two favourite capitals.
At 34 years, Theodoros Gennitsakis − the once little French-born boy growing up in a tiny Greek village with his grandparents − can list clients like Chanel, Caroline Herrera, Hermès, Chloé, Maje, Cartier, Nike and adidas among his most successful campaigns, and was even selected by Microsoft to participate in the launch of Internet Explorer 9 back in 2010 above 20 acclaimed creative agencies worldwide.
Having started his career at only 17 as an intern, he went on to become artistic director at Nurun shortly after, moving on to Digitas and TBWA. Theodoros later joined Draft Fcb as creative director, taking his knowledge of digital mediums and fashion branding to a whole new level. After co-founding La Surprise, an established creative agency, he decided to create a platform that would communicate his own unique aesthetic and ideas, while generating compelling dialogue between brands and their target audiences.
The Pressure Paris team takes over the entire procedure, from concept-hunting to creative direction and production, and delivers critical insights by being on top of what tastemakers across platforms pay attention to. Quality over quantity is Theodoros’ motto, who has brought a different kind of vision into the industry, engaging many talented individuals from around the globe to create innovative content of high-value and reach.
Also being a photographer has helped him convey his ideas and to depict a genuine perspective on modern life. His images hero simplicity with a distinct elegance. The same vibe flows through the magazine editorials; a laid-back feel prevails, even when the images feature high-end labels; it all looks natural shot in natural light − no pressure.
Theodoros is one of the few original thinkers of our generation who, instead of compromising in pursuit of recognition, established a brand name with a significant impact on modern creatives by simply being himself. Like the city that never sleeps, he found time to answer all my questions on the same night and send them back with a few suggestions on high-end aromatic candles, his addiction.
Did you ever envisage such a successful career when you were leaving school?
I wouldn’t so much call it a successful career. I think is more of a pleasure career. I’m very happy to be doing what I actually want and get to live with that. If people define this as a successful career, it means that people agree with my passion and that’s cool. I guess it is some form of personal success. Starting out, however, I never imagined that I would work in this industry, collaborate with creative people and have the pleasure of talking about my work on a daily basis.
You started as an intern at a very young age; how long did it take you to become an art director?
I was young, only 17 but very eager to work and be able to support myself without putting extra pressure on my parents. I became an art director when I was 20. My boss left the agency and I decided to leave too as I was very close to him. He was my mentor. To get me back, the agency offered me his position. I decided to stay and take the challenge. I truly believe that if it wasn’t for him, it would have taken me much longer to become an art director.
Are there other creatives you look up to?
Quite a few, but I would rather not name anyone. I don’t like to copy paste though, I like only to watch and create my own things.
Is there an inspirational constant, something that never fails to generate new ideas for you?
Yes. The street and the internet, or rather the street of the internet. I’m always on the lookout for meeting new creative people. I enjoy watching and listening to new things, weird things, to evolve. The internet is the best way to get this. Discovering things that are not controlled or already used by someone excites me. The good or bad energy that can be created when two completely different people interact. Reality is what inspires me. I like unusual people, people who are hated by other people. I’m constantly trying to understand the difference and also the weirdness.
Which projects make you feel especially proud?
I feel proud every Sunday when I have dinner with my parents and my brother. They taught me respect and gave me a good education; this is what I’m proud of. Especially because they came from a very small village in Greece that had nothing interesting except for all these people who live together and are trying to help each other forget that they have been forgotten by society.
I also feel proud that both Greeks and French like Pressure. I have been trying for years to build a bridge between the two cities. My dream is to live between Paris and Athens. I want to share my ideas with the new generation; to touch old and young people alike. When it works, I’m proud.
What made you start your own agency? Was there a particularly challenging moment for you?
It came naturally. I was working as a freelancer with many brands and agencies. At one point I started to lose my mind, wanting to do everything alone; it was impossible. I started to work with friends, to share work with them and then I found a space so we could all work together. I created the agency because I had to pay people, but I was also excited to build something of my own. I never before imagined I could create an agency or a project and be the director myself. The most complicated and challenging thing is to manage people and projects simultaneously. It takes years to learn how to control a project from A to Z. We were the first agency in Paris to source 75 per cent of its staff from abroad. Only 15 per cent are locals. Pressure is a multicultural agency.
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
With Air France and Olympic Airlines together. I would like to make something that can be seen only during the flight between Paris and Athens (3h 10min). There are more collaborations I’d love to do but it’s too soon to tell.
What makes Pressure Paris stand out, in your opinion?
Perhaps the fact that we are open to everything, accept everything without judging anyone. I think this is why people like Pressure. I have no rules and there’s room for mistakes. I just want to create new things. NO PRESSURE.
Where do you see Pressure Paris in two to five years from now?
Not sure. I go with my gut feeling. One of my main goals is to build something in Athens. I’m currently focusing on expanding our clothing brand. If everything goes well and according to plan, I would love to open a school especially for people who want to build something creative and new in Greece.
Even though you haven’t spent as much time in Greece, you seem very connected with the Greek reality. Some say your T-shirts are “making Greek cool again”.
I have many friends in Greece, and I am very close to them. We talk on a daily basis so for me it’s like I live there. Also I travel a lot and I’m very attached to Athens, even though I’m from Thessaloniki. From the first time I set foot in Athens I fell deeply in love with the city. Greece is the country where my parents came from. I can’t act differently. The crisis made me love Greece more. It’s like an affair, like trying to take care of a person that is close to you. Greece needs to be washed and re-made by new brains. I have a lot of trust for the new generation. They are so creative and intelligent. Maybe I’m too much of a romantic but I’m sure that in 10 years time Greece’s success will reach the Olympus again.
Shop at shop.pressure.fr