Afroditi Hera

Afroditi Hera | Lesoleilfoundation

Afroditi Hera

Afroditi Hera

The garments designed by Afroditi Hera constitute optical illusions toying with your own mood. Their specificity does not lie in the exquisite fabrics and their ethereal movement or in the original designs she produces. It is all about high quality resort outfits with an intense personality allowing them to shift from a morning kaftan to an evening dress. The garments she designs are polymorphic complimenting her multidimensional personality. This is the reason why she stood out from the very beginning and from time to time, she stated present from Paris fashion shows to Buckingham Palace, where she participated together with 53 other designers from Commonwealth states at “The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange”, hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex.

L.S.: When did you realize that you love fashion and you were to work in the fashion industry?

A.H.: From early childhood, I would spend hours dressing myself as well as my dolls with my own choice of outfits. It never crossed my mind that I would become a fashion designer as I intended to study economics to get involved with a family business.

L.S.: How did you start your career?

A.H.: My deep infatuation with dressing up every minute of the day for no apparent occasion woke up a need for me to show my preferences on women’s outfits; this inspired me to aim towards an eclectic silhouette.

That was the reason for me to launch my brand, after wrapping up a career in economics and business administration, and to embark on a fashion career.

It happened suddenly in 2001, following a friendly push.

L.S.: What is that makes your creations most distinctive?

A.H.: Aligned with positive cultural and environmental impacts, the Afroditi Hera label is known for its multifaceted printing patterns in a wide range of vibrant colors, which accentuate the loose floating form of a traditional kaftan in a contemporary prêt-à-porter. The delicate lines meet light ethereal fabrics, which mostly comprise high quality cotton, fine silks or chiffon textures. The Afroditi Hera kaftans are highly versatile and they become more elegant, once the wearer fastens two small buttons transforming the creation from a day to an evening dress. These versatile ideas are important components of the brand’s identity. Over time, the form of my womenswear has shifted from abayas and togas to kaftans, something that has become my brand’s trademark design over the last six years.

L.S.: What is your source of inspiration? We can trace some aspects ranging from the aura to Gaudi. However, the most important one is that your creations seem timeless and do not reflect the trends of any particular season.

A.H.: My fascination with the Orient is manifested in my prints and designs that have been reflecting dynamic cultural exchanges within the fashion world.

I am inspired mostly by nature, historic works of art, paintings and tribal architecture. My favorite part is to design timeless clothes without any trend restriction.

L.S.: What are the materials that you use the most?

A.H.: I adore “ikat”, a beautiful handcrafted 100% silk material. It is the main material I use for my creations. The rest is a combination of silk, polyester and viscose.

Ikat, which literally means “tie” and in the Malay language it means “to bind”, is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric.

I love designing my materials. It is the brooding period and concentration on a theme that has to be chosen as the backbone of the entire design concept. It is a matter of strict discipline, which follows a rigorous preliminary brainstorming session.

It is the strict devotion to the vision and the details of the design, which are crystallized once the theme and concept of a collection is finalized.

L.S.: The kaftans and accessories you design are limited edition. We tend to consider that anything handmade is expensive. Is this really the case?

A.H.: I wonder what is the definition of expensive clothes: Handmade ? Designer’s clothes? There is a wide range of prices in my collection. Every effort is made to reduce the prices more so that more women will be able to buy my designs.

Looking from afar, I am always mesmerized by my signature silk-printed “tapestries” waving in the wind on a woman’s body.

L.S.: Whom are your creations destined for?

A.H.: I don’t have an icon or muse in mind while designing my collections. My target group is today’s emancipated women who play a dynamic role in their daily routine, irrespective of whether they have a career or not.

L.S.:  What aspects of your character pass into your work?

A.H.: My refinement! Designing clothes is an art and a refined taste in art is the easiest criterion about beautiful things and what most of people like.

L.S.: Tell us about the Buckingham event.

A.H.: The project launched by Commonwealth Secretary General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, and by Ms Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age, is a major new initiative that promotes new networks, trade links and lasting sustainable supply chains. The project was developed in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM

On behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge and HRH The Countess of Wessex, on the 19th of February 2018, hosted a reception in the Palace’s State Apartment to celebrate and showcase designs, designers and artisans from across the Commonwealth’s 53 countries who have participated in the inaugural Commonwealth Fashion Exchange (CFE). I had been selected to represent Cyprus.

I had showcased an ethnic design “married” with the traditional crafts of Pacific artisans from Kiribati, a nation which is comprised of 33 reef islands in the central Pacific, which is rich in indigenous handicrafts that focus on ornamental beadwork and grass-weaving. The end-result combines my signature print on blue silk with the island’s artisan influence on the sleeves, which is exemplified by the gown’s shell-embroidered and woven pandan leaf details.

All the creations carefully curated by VOGUE’s International Editor at Large, Hamish Bowles.

The looks were also displayed at the Australian High Commission for a week, allowing the public to see the looks in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit 2018.

Later on, the Commonwealth Project was exhibited at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.

My creation on display during the project was chosen to be part of an auction, along with a few other exhibits, with the proceeds of the auction given for charity.

This project is published on Google Arts and Culture, an online platform that covers historical and cultural stories from all over the world.

L.S.: Would you like to share about the events abroad you participated in, as well as for the respective significant collaborations?

A.H.: An exciting moment in my career was my cooperation with L’Oreal Professionnel, who used my collections for their yearly shows all over the world. As my career gained momentum, in 2009, I was commissioned by L’Oreal Professionnel Paris to design a collection exclusively for the brand’s Centenary Celebrations. The extravagant show for the 100 years of L'Oreal was named “Inspiration Paris”. It was presented at the Zénith Stadium in Paris and was attended by an audience of over 5,000 people representing a total of 45 countries from around the world.

L.S.: What are the must-have items for this strange summer?

A.H.: From wedding parties to beach parties to a backyard gathering, this summer season we must wear any garment that makes us feel comfortable and alive. Add color to your wardrobe; the challenge to be beautiful, elegant and sexy at the same time is always there no matter what!

L.S.:  Is there a proverb or phrase that describes you?

A.H.: “Reach what cannot! Do not feel ashamed if you played in all fairness but lost ... Do feel ashamed if you played foully and won”. Nikos Kazantzakis

L.S.: What have your previous experiences taught you about life?

A.H.: “The hardest thing about ‘everything happens for a reason’ is waiting for that reason to show up”.

“Thank life for happening, thank every twist and turn, there is a reason for every single thing, there is a reason for every worry and concern”.

“Everything happens for a reason. Wait on God and trust in Him”.