Ergon Mykonos pays homage to Greece’s past with design for the present
As someone who studied history and art history, I can’t help but gravitate towards that which celebrates past imprints of human consciousness. While many Greek designers reinterpret the past and celebrate its folklore, no one does it with the same panache as Ergon Mykonos.
The conceptual brand plays off different elements of Greek history in its collections, and this year’s focus on Knossos captured my heart. With designs spanning clothing, shoes, and clever household items, Ergon’s creative output is impressive. The brand’s commitment to high-quality craftsmanship is visible in each and every piece and at every layer of execution, from fabric selection to the thoughtful concepts behind each item.
Delphi Reclaimed had the privilege of having an inspiring conversation with the brand’s founder and head designer Marietta Karpathiou.
I love that you mix ancient motifs with newer Greek folk craftsmanship techniques. This must take a lot of research! Tell me a bit about where you find this inspiration.
Yes, this is how we work and this is the general concept behind my designs. This story begins from my childhood years as I grew up in a family with intense influences from art, architecture & aesthetics. This led me to study in the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome and from then on everything that I have created has a mixture of history, renovation, architectural elements, craftmanship but most of all the Greek spirit and inventiveness throughout the ages. So my daily inspiration can come from a Greek work of art, a poem, a derelict building or a sunset in Mykonos.
Are all your items produced in Mykonos? Are you a collective of designers or is there one mastermind, as it were?
All of our items are handmade and unique and for the most part are created inside our concept store in Mykonos, in an open air space where the customer can be part of the creative process. Our fabrics though, which are exclusively handmade and revive the ancient tradition of the loom are produced by Greek women who still use and master this technique in several parts of Greece.
We are a team of good friends and creative minds. I imagine, conceptualise and design each collection and of course create the in-store handmade items (bags, shoes), Giorgos Pavlakis is the Artistic Director of the brand and responsible for PR & Sales and Margarita Dimitriadou, the Creative Director who creates all the graphic elements of the brand.
Tell me about your inspiration for this recent season. (In LOVE the green hues, by the way).
The Minoans: S/S 2017 Collection is inspired by the myth of Minotaur, by the findings of Knossos ruins and the way of life of the Minoans, the first European civilisation, discovered in the island of Crete.
CLOTHING: PASIPHAE COLLECTION
The lines of the designs, the fabrics and the motifs are influenced by the colours, the art and the fashion of the Minoan society, a society that put women in the spotlight. In combination with the contemporary history of Crete, the tradition in homemade fabrics and the worldwide fashion influences, the collection uses handmade fabrics with motifs, colours and patterns that embrace the female figure in a airy, elegant and aristocratic way. The Minoan red-a main element of the palace-, the maximal jewellery of the Minoan Queen and the handcrafted belts gave the inspiration for this year’s unique outfits of Ergon Mykonos.
SHOES: MINOTAUR COLLECTION
The shoe prints are inspired by the mythical monster, Minotaur and become statement items with the element of custom made and with a minimal and pop approach.
HOMEWARE: MITOS COLLECTION
Inspired by the thread that princes Ariadne gave to Theseus to escape the Labyrinth, our Homeware collection follows the aesthetics of Minoan and Cycladic art and presents unique handmade items with their own personality, and with references to the Greek history.
What you have described above is the core & centre of our brand. This is what Ergon Mykonos stands for and this is what our clothes and items share with the world: the genuine Greek craftmanship, the innovative, timeless design and the love for pure, quality, handmade materials. And this is going to remain our purpose regardless of the demand. We stay true to our philosophy & creatively grow our team of partners, seamstresses, loom masters in a natural and effective way.
Read about other Greek designers interpreting Greek folklore here.
What do you think is misunderstood about Greek culture in modern times?
The hard work that the Greeks are willing to do and are actually doing, the passion they put into every endeavour and the inventiveness that the Greek spirit carries through the times until today. We come across daily with all of these elements and this is what I wish to share with the world through Ergon Mykonos, that the Greek ethos, the Greek design, the Greek creativity and craftmanship is alive & thriving.
Are you inspired by any other Greek working designers? If so, who and why?
My inspiration comes from the Parthenon every time I look at it, the “tsolias” of Tsarouchis, the poetry of Elytis, the colours of Mykonos, the jewellery of Pasiphae, the Queen of Knossos or the music of Maria Kallas. Anything authentic, artistic, unique, made with the genius of our ancestors or contemporary fellow Greeks can become a motive for something new, that transfers their spirit.
You can now shop Ergon Mykonos on their website, OR stop by their location in Mykonos town (23, florou zouganeli) if you’re on the island. The shop is worth a visit if you’ve never been, as you can imagine it tells a story quite like the collections themselves.
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As always, DR is committed to elevating the voices of creatives and designers and aims to run as many interviews as possible. If you’re interested in being considered, please email firstname.lastname@example.org