Maria Vytinidou, the Greek designer from Crete, presented her latest collection, on November 16 at the Foundation for Greater Hellenism, as part of the exhibition “Greek Fashion: 100 Years of Inspiration and Creation” as a guest of the Development Association of Women Entrepreneurs.

20 years ago, the designer decided to leave Crete to study Fashion Design & Business in London, where she worked in large multinational companies. This decision came in handy, as in a period of economic crisis, she managed to set up an innovative venture into Greek fashion, the AthensFashionClub School.

Athens Fashion Club became the most innovative fashion school in Greece, sealed with distinctions from international business competitions and exhibitions, such as Premiere Vision in Paris. The collections of “Maria Vytinidou Eco Luxury Design Brand” feature luxurious but sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, silk from Soufli and handmade textiles from Crete. In addition, Maria Vytinidou presented the first “stivania” for women, a traditional Cretan men’s shoe in modern design, exclusively for fashionable women who want functionality and elegance in harmony with tradition.

Her collections are promoted at trade fairs abroad, as production costs are high in Greece and the Greek market does not favor high quality and expensive products. With her husband, Evangelos Dimitrakopoulos, who is a Textile Engineer, they encountered many difficulties in trying to make Cretan weavers modern.

The designer says: “The textile industry in Crete, in order to become modern, requires first of all a refreshed and non-repetitive type of tourist design, access to new materials, training in new weaving techniques, business concept and above all a fashion designer who will integrate the handmade textile in a contemporary way into the design of its collection.”

With her personal vision of promoting Crete abroad, she plans next year to establish the Institute of Contemporary Textiles, with the aim of upgrading the production of weavers through education, and establishing a network of collaborators that will introduce Greek products internationally.

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