Greek born Myrto Stamou picked up the River Island Gold Award and the Womenswear Award at 2009 Graduate Fashion Week winner!
As mentioned here Giles Deacon, who was on the judging panel at GFW, added: “We chose the winner of the River Island Womenswear Award because we felt her collection had a very strong signature style. It was a cohesive range which could easily be sold tomorrow. “
Personally I couldn't been happier that Myrto succeeded and I felt rather honoured when she accepted to do this interview with me!
1. You were the 2009 Graduate Fashion Week winner! What were your thoughts the day after you won the award?
I think I was still trying to wake up from the dream and realize what happened. It was a real shock to hear my name at the Gala Show of Graduate Fashion Week. I always believed in me and my graduate collection but I also knew that it is very difficult to win in such a big competition so I never really thought that this can happen to me. The days that followed were crazy but after all this sunk in I managed to get my head round and plan my future under the new circumstances. I still sometimes think it was a dream, I can’t believe that something I worked on with so much passion for a whole season was loved by other people too. From my point of view this is the ultimate satisfaction for a designer.
2. I recently read in a Wallpaper article about the importance of fashion designers' competitions such as Swiss Textiles Award or Hyeres. How important do you think that they are for the young designers and at the end, can a designer still be creative while his existence in the fashion world depends on his financial support?
There are quite many competitions in UK and many organizations that support new designers which I really think is essential for a country with such a big fashion industry. Competition in UK is huge as there are numerous Fashion courses and many designers who graduate each year and try to gain a place in the fashion industry. These organizations and competitions can give you the chance to show your work to a broad audience and distinguish yourself from the lots of others but of course it’s up to you if you will manage to use this to your best interest. Building a fashion brand is still building a business, finance is as essential as creativity and imagination. Not taking this into consideration can be risky even for the most promising fashion designer. However I think that this is where a creative person can demonstrate his talent, as to be able to be commercial and popular and still be creative is not easy, but it is not impossible too.
3. Sophia Kokosalaki mentioned your name as one of her favourite new designers breed (source: Sophia Kokosalaki talks to Filep Motwary). How do you feel about that? Have you met Sophia, Mary Katratzou or Marios Schwab in person?
Sophia Kokosalaki is one of my favourite designers, I just love her work, her aesthetics, her vision. Being mentioned by her was an amazing honour for me, I was so moved when I read that interview! I haven’t met her yet but I really wish I will as I would love to do an internship at her studio for a while, it would be great to see her working on her new collection. I have met Mary Katratzou in person who is becoming really big here in London. Her last collection was beautiful.
4. You have mentioned to me that you are going to return to Greece and start working from here. Mary Katratzou is known for the fact that she works with Greek factories for her products although still based in London. Do you think it's easy to run this sort of business based in Greece?
I don’t think it’s easy, it would probably be wiser to stay in London, however I really want to try and see how things can work from Greece. My thoughts are to base my brand in Athens but try to show in London too. I am sure I will face some difficulties as I would in London too; building a new fashion brand is not easy no matter where you are. I love Greece and that’s where I imagine myself living permanently therefore I will try my best to make my plans work.
5. What are your thoughts about the Greek fashion scene and who are your favourite Greek Fashion designers?
I think there are some very interesting Greek Fashion designers who bring Greek fashion to a very good and competitive level. The Greek Fashion scene is changing as new designers emerge bringing a fresh and creative view into fashion. My personal favourite is Yiorgos Eleftheriades with whom I had the chance to work for a while during my first year of studies. He has a very special design identity and I love the way he treats femininity and masculinity.
6. What inspires you more?
I usually get inspired from Art. I personally love painting and I always had a passion for anything artistic. Sculptures, paintings, photographs, installations can make me imagine and feel the urge to be creative. For my graduate collection I drew inspiration from Hans Bellmer while from time to time I have drawn inspiration from Klimt, Dali and Naum Gabo.
7. What are your plans for the near future?
For the near future I plan to get as much work experience as I can by working with London based designers. I am in the process of learning, making mistakes, experimenting and getting valuable advice from experienced people inside the fashion industry which I think is really important in order to start my own brand in the next few months.
Note: the copyrights of this interview belongs to The SoHo Symposium.
Credits for the photoshoot goes to:
Photographer: Siru Kivisto, Tommi Aittala
Styling: Anna Mandreka
Model: Natasha Batt
Make up& hair: Alexandra Papavasileiou
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