Born and raised in Thessaloniki, with studies at the L.I.S.A.A in Paris., where she graduated with a degree in Fashion Design as a Stylist-Modelist, Georgina Skalidi is an aspiring young designer, whose unique, handmade clutch bags are the most sought over in Athens. Being a fashion insider herself (she has worked for various magazines as a stylist, as well as a fashion editor), she now concentrates on her own complete bag collections. Her love for vintage is no secret and combined with colorful leathers and uncommon, eco-friendly materials, it gives birth to fresh statement accessories with a subtle retro character. And we managed to “waste” some of Georgina’s spare time for a chit chat: about her brand new spring/summer collection, her favorite things and her upcoming plans.
Why clutch bags?
I decided to design clutch bags the moment I realized that I actually own a huge collection of them from all over the world, hidden in my closet. Every trip I’ve made has left me with a different vintage clutch, some are cheap, others expensive, made of paper, leather etc. So I thought, that since it was a big trend abroad, and I hadn’t seen anything quite like that in Greece (someone who’s entirely into making clutch bags), I decided to specialize in this. Furthermore, styling and fashion editing was a valuable experience for me. It was the beginning of my current career, as through this I have learned all about clothes, something very important, as I always imagine a bag combined with an outfit. It’s a part of the styling puzzle. Yes, I needed to express myself, if you want. I wanted to do something new, give my own personal suggestions.
What inspired you to this particular spring/summer collection?
My collections are marked by a specific technique and a specific line, it is their basic characteristic. What interests me though, is of curse to evolve and create something new, each season. The Japanese art of origami has been a great inspiration, to create patterns by folding my materials, and achieve a geometric result. What is different this time is the addition of cork. I decided to include cork, which is eco-friendly and already a big trend in Portugal. It’s economic and impressive and it matches beautifully with colored leather.
You fancy the bold and loud color combinations. Are the days of the black and brown bags officially over?
True, there’s this world trend for brighter or even neon colors right now, mainly because of the economic situation. A marketing analysis could explain this best, why fashion brands suddenly leave the black color behind. But it is as simple as that, really: women want to see a happy image when they look in the mirror. Color is what transforms even the dullest of outfits and elevates your mood instantly.
How hard is it for a young designer to live and work in Greece now?
The truth is that living and creating in Greece is right now as hard as it can be, as because of the economic crisis that comes hand in hand with several difficulties, especially when it comes to production. The first materials are the same through every season, but many factories and industries have shut down. However, it’s far more important to have positive feedback at this moment, despite the setbacks and difficulties. I’m greatful for this and this is why I keep working and doing everything with honesty, love and I put a whole lot of effort into this.
An accessory can change a person’s appearance, or even make a statement. What do your creations stand for?
What I like in a woman is her to have her own personal style, but in a natural way. It should not seem like she has been trying too much to achive this. Exaggerations and eccentricity are not my thing. It’s nice when people get positively criticised for their good sense of style and their good manners and not for their extravagant clothes and accessories, that are not at all chic.
Is there a person, famous or not that you would like to see holding a bag you designed?
This is a question which I always find hard to answer, as every day I’m inspired by different styles. A rock, goth or pop personality impresses me the same, as a woman who’s known for her class and stunning beauty. Lana Del Rey’s style impresses me lately the most.
Who is your favorite designer / artist?
Oh, tricky question. There are so many. Rick Owens, Damir Doma. But I also love the fashion house of Marni, responsible for accessories with vintage and post-modern elements, as well as for very worm and unique color combinations.
What do you do in your free time? Is there a special place that you go to?
I live and work downtown Athens. I like it here, I feel like it’s the centre of everything that’s going on, even though it’s not always true. I love a glass of fine wine every now and then, going to vineries with friends and listening to jazz. My favorite bar is “Alexandrino” at Exarhia.
Are you planning to expand your creativity and design perhaps even clothes?
Apart from clutches I have decided to launch a limited edition of ballerina shoes, which are already becoming popular. This year (and for the first time) I have also designed wedges, made of cork. The next step are wallets and sea towels though.
What would make you content, if not even happy, right now?
The only thing I want right now is to hold on to the things I’ve worked so hard for to achieve. I want to sustain my quality, while playing with new designs and ideas, I want and need to evolve. As for the future, I’m already working on a collaboration with a mall in New York, to be official very soon.
Skoufa 77, Kolonaki, TK 10680
T: +30 213 00 24 253
F: +30 213 00 51 329
Chatzimixali Daliani 58, Chania
T: +30 282 15 01 705
Portraits of Georgina Skalidi shot by (and courtesy of) Nileta Kotsikou of Imatiothiki.