London celebrations

The casualization of the Eftychia label from London Fashion Week

Eftychia SS22

Womenswear designer Eftychia Karamolegkou launched womenswear brand Eftychia in 2018, focusing on tailored workwear. However, in response to the pandemic, she experimented with more casual styles, and her latest collection, for Spring/Summer 22, featured loose jackets and blazers with bold stripes, Bermuda shorts, playful fringed trousers and skirts slit at the thighs.

Born in Greece, Karamolegkou moved to the UK in 2010 after studying fashion design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. She completed a master’s degree in womenswear at Central Saint Martins in 2017. In 2019, Karamolegkou was shortlisted for the LVMH award, and has since walked the runway at London Fashion Week. This year, East London-based Karamolegkou will once again host a physical presentation during LFW, which runs from February 18-22.

Wholesale prices range from £485 for a shirt to £1,215 for a jacket, and stockists include Harvey Nichols, luxury independent store Machine-A and Tokyo luxury department store Addition Adelaide.

What was your first job?

Women’s clothing designer Eftychia Karamolegkou

Assistant designer in an architect’s studio.

How did you start your fashion career?

After my Masters at Central Saint Martins, five resellers [Machine A; Addition Adelaide Tokyo; Opening Ceremony New York and LA; L’Echoppe Tokyo] approached me to purchase my graduate collection. I took the opportunity and tried my luck.

How would you describe the management of the company in one sentence?

A 24/7 task that surpasses everything – there is no personal life.

What’s your coffee (or tea) order?

A great oatmeal latte.

What do you think the fashion industry can learn from Covid-19?

Back to basics, in terms of thinking, doing, operating and producing.

What are the best and worst moments of your career?

The best moment was being shortlisted for the LVMH award in 2019, as well as being part of the Newgen [emerging talent] initiative supported by the British Fashion Council [which has supported Eftychia since 2019]. And the worst – the shock the lockdown has caused the industry with consequences still apparent.

The seam suffered during confinement. Being associated with office or more formal attire and with offices and businesses having to remain closed, there was no appetite to buy anything more structured and tailored. Therefore, the jersey was the absolute winner. Returning to the same previous levels takes a bit of time. A market downturn for a small independent brand cannot be treated in the same way as for a conglomerate of fashion groups.

Memorable customer moments?

[US singer] Solange buying a suit and a leather jacket at Opening Ceremony in LA, as well as [jewellery designer] Gaia Repossi being a personal client.

Solange bought the Mock DB jacket, Deep Pockets pants and SB leather jacket from the AW19 collection. The store informed me at the time of the purchase and later Beyoncé posted pictures with her sister wearing the costume.

Solange Knowles wearing Eftychia

What drives you every morning?

Stress.

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing your business?

Connecting with my customer – communicating the core brand message is a focus for 2022. I am currently working on my website and e-commerce, and paying particular attention to my Instagram.

What factors keep you up at night?

I sleep like a baby: nothing prevents me from sleeping.

Where is your favorite place to shop?

Jeu de Balle flea market in Brussels, Belgium.

Eftychia AW21 – the designer had focused on couture before the pandemic

Last fashion purchase? Why did it catch your eye?

A Prada wool-silk coat from an old summer collection that I found in a charity shop: the fabric, the quality, the fact that it had never been worn and that I found such a piece in a charity shop for so little money!

Emails or phone calls?

Send text messages.

What are your main objectives for 2022?

Restructure, make everything more stable and stronger, in order to continue and evolve further. [There will be changes in] the website, e-commerce, sales and general team growth.

The most important lesson you learned in your career?

Don’t rely on anyone to sort things out, but at the same time people’s help is the most valuable thing you can have.

What’s the last book you read?

just started Dunes by Frank Herbert.

Who in the fashion/retail industry inspires you?

Eftychia SS22

Nicolas Ghesquiere [artistic director of Louis Vuitton womenswear]Giorgio Armani.

Any advice you would give to your younger self, and why?

Everything is a process, and the hard parts are the richest. I learned to take everything as it comes. Worrying about things that didn’t even happen adds nothing to my experience.

Who do you turn to when you need advice and why?

Stavros Karelis [founder and owner of independent luxury store Machine-A, in Soho, London]he’s been a supporter since the very beginning, and he’s also maybe the only person I trust in the industry.