Unveiling the Creative Vision: An Exclusive Interview with Nina Athanasiou
Unveiling the Creative Vision: An Exclusive Interview with Nina Athanasiou
Discover the captivating world of Nina Athanasiou, a visionary fashion designer pushing the boundaries of self-expression. In this exclusive interview, Nina shares her journey, insights, and aspirations for her eponymous brand, Nina Athanasiou Fashion.
May 17th, 2023
Today, we are thrilled to have the opportunity to interview Nina Athanasiou, the visionary founder of the renowned fashion brand of the same name.
With a bold and avant-garde approach to design, Nina Athanasiou has established herself as a prominent figure in the fashion industry. Her unique aesthetic, characterized by edgy silhouettes and meticulous craftsmanship, has garnered international acclaim and a dedicated following.
In this exclusive interview, we delve into Nina's creative process, her inspirations, and the journey that led her to build such a distinctive brand. From her early influences to her thoughts on the future of fashion, Nina Athanasiou shares invaluable insights and experiences.
Join us as we explore the world of Nina Athanasiou and gain a deeper understanding of the designer's passion, vision, and unwavering commitment to pushing boundaries. To discover more about Nina Athanasiou and explore her captivating collections, read on…
Tell us the journey that led you to launching your brand, Boudoir Athanasiou...
I have to admit that after graduating from fashion design school, I was pretty saturated and disillusioned with the entire fashion business. I couldn't imagine anything worse than actually working in this industry. It took me quite a few years to finally feel the desire to return to fashion and the associated environment. In the meantime, I worked as an illustrator for a long time and then opened my own bar. I also became a mother to two children. It was a long process until I felt the passion for fashion again. The journey involved smaller steps, bigger steps, and sometimes setbacks, but it has been a continuous learning process leading up to the current point.
What sets you apart from other fashion designers?
I would be presumptuous to claim that I am in any way more special than any other designer. I am always amazed by the talent and creativity I see in other designers, many of whom elevate fashion to an art form. If I were to describe what makes me tick as a designer, I would say that my label remains true to itself and its aesthetic. There is nothing in my collections that I wouldn't wear myself. This has become one of our guiding principles. It may not always align with the latest trends, but it is a fundamental premise for us.
Your designs stand the test of time in a world that has become obsessed with fast fashion. What are your views on this?
Fast fashion is a complex topic, and there is much to be said about it. It's challenging to survive alongside the huge fashion chains with their cheaply made throwaway collections and monumental advertising budgets. It is also frustrating and concerning to witness the effects of fast fashion on humanity and our planet. As a society, we urgently need to rethink our approach to clothing and move away from fast fashion. We are currently working on a new project where we create a complete collection exclusively from discarded old clothes. We pick up old, unloved pieces of clothing, clean and reprocess them into new individual pieces, both ready-to-wear and haute couture. We aim to launch this project in September this year. Additionally, our regular collection pieces are handmade in small editions, ensuring proper working conditions and a small ecological footprint.
How do you want women to feel when they wear your designs?
Fashion offers us the beautiful gift of reinventing ourselves every day and deciding how we want to be seen by the world. One day we can be tough, the next playful and feminine, sometimes sporty cool moms, and other times powerful businesswomen. We strive to provide women who wear our label with this range of possibilities, always with a cool and edgy touch.
Have you got plans to expand your range and launch other products in the future?
We have recently added bags and jewelry to our repertoire. We are currently focused on developing these lines. For example, we have released our "Cronenberg" bracelets with big flies and our "mothers little helper" jewelry collection, featuring rings, bracelets, and necklaces decorated with pill-shaped motifs.
If you didn’t pursue this career, what else would you have liked to do?
There are numerous professions that interest me. Interior design would probably be the most obvious choice. I also have a passion for writing and photography. The field of psychology is another area that intrigues me. Given the opportunity, I would love to explore these professions.
What advice would you offer any aspiring fashion designers who are struggling to get started?
Probably the most decisive and also simplest advice would be: never get discouraged. Many times you have to suffer a lot of setbacks until something really moves. Often it can help to first enter into collaborations to gain a foothold - this can be other designers, artists, or even stores. Be careful with stores that want to include your stuff in their program but at the same time call for horrendous contributions and commissions. In such constellations, it often doesn't pay off, and you end up making a big loss. At the same time, you really should be absolutely sure that this is truly the field you want to work in because many times it's cutthroat, two-faced, exhausting, and tiring. Try not to lose your passion for it despite any negative experiences and try to stay true to yourself no matter what outsiders or self-proclaimed mentors tell you. Don't be influenced, listen to your inner voice. Also, I would strongly advise everyone not to invest their own money - if at all possible, find investors.
Talk us through an average day in your life…
I usually get up at 07:00, wake up my two sons, make them breakfast, and send them off to school. Then it's the three dogs' turn to go out for a short round before my partner takes over. Around 09:00, I arrive at headquarters, go through the day's items, answer emails and inquiries, and discuss the most important tasks of the week. This can be anything from individual difficulties with our production sites or creating new samples, planning events or collaborations, photo shoots - it changes every week depending on where we are in the process. At lunchtime, I come back home briefly, pick up my boys, and make them lunch, stop them to do their homework, and then go back to work until it's time for dinner together. It's a standing rule in our house that I insist on: at dinner, we all sit around the table together and talk about our day. Depending on how much work is left to do, I usually return to the office afterward or continue working from home if I'm lucky. Between 10 and 11 o'clock in the evening, I call it a day and take the dogs for a last evening walk, say good night to my boys, and finish the day. On the weekends, it often looks similar, but I try to take the time, if possible, to accompany my partner with the dogs into the woods. As you can see, outside of Fashion Week, there is not much glamour in my everyday life :)
Looking back since launching the business, is there anything that you would do differently?
This is a double-edged sword - of course, I now see many mistakes I made that I would have liked to have spared myself. At the same time, I definitely appreciate them because they have brought me to the point where I am now and have also taught me composure. All in all, I think my path was necessary to bring me to the place I am now - even though a lot of things happened along the way that weren't pretty or easy.
Our readers love to travel. What destination is at the top of your bucket list?
Well, it's no secret that my heart will forever belong to the city of New York, and that will probably never change. However, there are many other places I would love to visit, such as Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Mexico, Bali, and Colombia. The list is endless. I have to admit that I'm a sucker for Netflix formats like "Somebody feed Phil" that showcase foreign countries and their cuisine. In fact, being a restaurant critic in addition to my fashion career is something I would absolutely love!
Running a business can be non-stop. What do you do to switch off?
As tacky as it may sound, spending time in and with nature is my way of switching off. It brings me back to peace and grounds me. We now have a pack of three dogs from an animal rescue, which is also a topic very close to my heart. When I'm in the forest with them, getting involved with their needs, it puts everything back into perspective.
What’s your go-to quote when you’re lacking motivation?
Oh, that's an easy one. The quote actually hangs above my work desk at headquarters: "I didn't come this far to only come this far." Unfortunately, I don't know who wrote or said it, but I think this sentence is a wonderful reflection of the fact that you should never be satisfied with the current state and always strive further. So many things that you would never have thought possible in the past are finally realized and achieved. Usually, you don't even notice it during the process, but then you look back at some point and are amazed at the path you have taken and how many goals you have achieved.
In five years from now, where do you see the brand?
Given how volatile the fashion business is and how hard it is to survive next to the big corporations, I would say that in five years, I really wish that we are still as good as we are today and have the demand that we have at the moment. I hope that within the next five years, a shift in mindset will spread among all of us, leading to more thoughtfulness and prudence in our consumption habits. We need to evolve from the throwaway society that we currently are, and move towards a society where more attention is paid to value and quality.
Where can people find out more?
From mid-May, our new revamped website, including our own online store, will launch at www.boudoir-athanasiou.com. Additionally, you can find us on Instagram at @boudoir_athanasiou.
Northern girl Laura is the epitome of a true entrepreneur. Laura’s spirit for adventure and passion for people blaze through House of Coco. She founded House of Coco in 2014 and has grown it in to an internationally recognised brand whilst having a lot of fun along the way. Travel is in her DNA and she is a true visionary and a global citizen.