Greek culture has always influenced international design concepts, however no brand has ever made it its mission to use Hellenic heritage (both in design and craftsmanship) as its main inspiration. The idea belongs to two women, Mareva Grabowski and Dimitra Kolotoura, an economist and a marketer, who saw in the Greek crisis an opportunity to take an entrepreneurial risk and create a Greek fashion brand: Zeus + Δione. Their work honors skilled craftsmanship, high quality raw material, and contemporary design. The result established a life-style brand that produces and exports clothes, jewelry, and footwear to an international market. Traditional patterns become modern designs, ancient techniques are mixed with contemporary technology, and fabrics and leather come from skilled family workshops handpicked by the founders themselves. Grabowski and Kolotoura spoke with us about the origins of the brand and the future of Greek design.
What inspired the name of the brand, Zeus+Δione?
We wish to bring to life and share with the world objects of unique beauty which will be loved and cherished.
The brand’s name itself is a story as it is inspired by ancient Greek mythology. It’s a love affair between Zeus – the king of Olympians- and Dione – the mother Goddess- out of which was created, Aphrodite! Throughout the centuries, Aphrodite has been depicted or referred to as an adult, nubile and infinitely desirable! A symbol of abiding beauty who has always been associated with elegant creatures and elements of nature: doves, swans, pomegranates, apples, myrtle, rose trees, lime trees, but mostly the sea such as dolphins, clams, scallop shells and pearls. Like Zeus and Dione, we wish to bring to life and share with the world objects of unique beauty which will be loved and cherished.
How did all start back in 2012? Did you believe Zeus+Δione would reach success?
All started as a romantic reaction to the financial situation of our country… Therefore we started embarking on a long year quest, dipping in and out of workshops, finding the finest craft-makers in the country and ultimately decided to start working with few small, family oriented workshops known for their expertise in silk, leather or yarn. Of course, we believe deeply in Z+D’s success and for that reason we strictly follow a structured business and marketing plan.
How do you combine tradition and lifestyle?
The combination of tradition and lifestyle is at the DNA of our brand. All of our collections have folklore details in modern shapes, as we love to combine the history and culture of our country to contemporary items.
Is greek-chic only a trend or will it have a lasting value?
Like all nations (e.g. Indians, Africans, British, Italians) we wish that the Greek chic will remain forever. As you already know, Hellenism has inspired many designers globally (e.g. at the Oscars we saw references to Grecian chic- from Christian Dior and Oscar De la Renta to Armani and Valentino). We think that the Greek- chic is more topical than ever!
Why handmade is so important for your brand?
Everything that is handmade immediately has a sentimental value over and above anything else. We insist on creating handmade items because they have two benefits: The first is that they keep alive long techniques and the second one is that the person who wear handmade clothes is already wearing a valuable item.
Which parts of the process are the most sensitive for the creation of your clothing or accessories?
The most demanding part of the creation of our collections is the production because all people involved in the process have to work with dedication, perfectionism and share the same love and aspirations for their work. The design wouldn’t be perfect if it was badly sewed or wrongly fitted!
How important it is for your brand to expand abroad?
We started this new venture with one thing in mind – to export. Therefore is fundamental for our brand to expand abroad! We are already into 55 stores all over the world and we do hope that we soon double them.
Do you see a creative boom in Greek design?
This means that Greeks take risks and do not hesitate to follow their dreams.
In recent years, despite the difficult economic conditions we noticed that more and more Greek brands have come into materialization. In our view, it is very encouraging to see new initiatives and creative ideas to be implemented in a country where the political and the economic situations are discouraging. This means that Greeks take risks and do not hesitate to follow their dreams. Additionally, the new steps taken in the Greek fashion industry is a very positive development both for entrepreneurship and for the country’s economy.
You can see Zeus +Dione collections here: