Liebe Anta

Liebe Anta | Lesoleilfoundation

Liebe Anta

Liebe Anta

Three women from one family established a fashion house with a distinctive mark: painting on straw and pursuing original handmade artistic interventions. How did the Liebe Anta limitededition accessories collection came to life?

Your brand name does not sound too Greek. Is there a particular meaning to it?

“Liebe Anta” is a mix of our f irst names and surname: “Liebe ”as they used to call us LIEBE sisters (Lyberopoulou), then ANfrom Annie and TA from Tata.

How did you decide to get involved with the fashion industry?

Me and my sister were actually born into the tourism industry, given that ever since 1970, our father ha d the first and only company in Greece that created gifts, je welry and clothes withsea shel ls and anything related to the underwater world!

We used to play around the workers and tried to create our own designs and to persuade our father to include them in thes howroom. We were not always so successful to that task butthere were some designs, which actually made it to t he stores! Growing up, we both had careers in the economic s ector, withinwell-known compan ies, but the “woodworm” of fas hion was still in our hearts… So, in 2015, our dream came tru e: BeachLife by Liebe Anta was created. A small family works hop, two sisters with our mother, who is our main painter, creating limitededition hand painted and handcrafted bags a nd hats. We started slowly but we have managed throughout those 5 years to be present on an international level by addi ng to our client eleluxurious boutiques and 5-star hotels all over the world, from the USA to Japan. (Video of mom)

So how did you start decorating straw items?

Actually, it all started in 20 15, while I decorated an old s trawbeach bag that I had in my closet for carrying MORTIS, m y dog,with me in the shops where dogs were not allowed. I used to hide him inside it and use it for the groceries as well. (Ph oto of Mortis in bag) Straw is light but it can bear so much weight! It is stiff and does not get ruined neither by the sand nor by the sea. It may not be so easy to draw on it but it becomes a beautiful canvas for our drawings. Finally, it is not very expensive. Many of our customers and friend s saw the bag and asked usimme diately to have one! We started creating unique beach bags with initials or names on them and we offer ed complimentary assorted hats…. The idea was so unique that mo re orders started coming in. That was it!

And this year’s collection?

All of our collections have a touch of Greece: in 2016, it was“ftou ftou eyes ” (karma); in 2017, it was Gre ek designs (folkloreand tradit ion); in 2018, it was colorful birds (freedom), shells,corals and fishes (sea) ; in 2019, it was cactus flowe rs, leaves andfruits, corals & fishes (Nature) and in 2020, it is scarves (wind),color blocks & positivity (sun) (photos of designs )

What is your source of inspiration?

Two words: Greek summer! We create inspired from the sun, th e sea, the landscapes, Greek history, themes, and islands. Our aimis to transform natural materials into luxurious, elegant andunique bags and hats.

Do you use other materials as well?

Besides straw, which is our base material, we also use cotton cloths, shells, sponges, feat hers, laces, 3D decorations,rhinestones etc. Furthermore, fo rour next collection, we will usea new base material. Stay tuned!

How long does it take to actually create a bag or a hat, which are painted from scratch?

Anything that might come along can become a source of inspiration. Even “mistakes” w hile drawing another designmig ht become a new one while we a re trying to correct it. The time of production may range from one to several hours. Given that we also suggest unique traits, since our designs can have 3Ddecorative parts, it may take even longer to finish a product. Forexample, our donkeys have a real necklace and bell hangingfrom their neck and our birds are stitched, drawn and even havereal fea thers as tails. (Details photo).

All your accessories are limited edition. We normal ly associate anything handmade to high prices. Is this actually accur ate?

All of our creations are limit ed edition. We make them in fe wpieces and each piece is unique, since we always add a spec ialtouch to the original design, for it to become one of a kind! Anything handmade in any fashion sector is more expensivethan the pro ducts, which are mass produced in factories. It has tobe, as it is created by humans and not b y machines… However,that does not mean that its price should be prohibitive. It goes the same for us as well; as we say we create “affordable luxurybags and hats”.

What are the items that are considered timeless and that are so distinct that they are somehow reproduced in different forms?

Greek designs are always colle ctible and keep on selling throughout the years. Tsolias, Tsarouxi, Donkey, Amalia, Zeus, Hermes, Poseidon, Erotas, Zorbas , Mykonos, Santorini, Greek churches and “good eyes” are the top selling on e ach collection.(Photos of Greek designs)Another much-coveted d esign isanything with seashell s because there is a direct connection withthe beach and the sea.

Whom are your creations destined to?

To Greek lovers… To people that love Greece and un iquehandmade creations, which are made with love.

What aspect of your character is present in your work?

Our creations and designs have a childhood innocence; that isour character. A child has d reams, a good-natured character andpure thoughts. We still believe th at every single one of us hide s asmall child deep in their h eart and that this child alway s wants tocome out and play by the sea, under the hot sun we aring our hats! This innocence is what we want to pass on to our work and to our clients.

What is the ultimate bag for this summer and which bag or hat would be your “forever favorite”?

When we attended the Who’s Next Paris Fair, this past September, we presented our Sardines hat and bag design.(Photo) It is a small, rather cheap fish that always travels insho als, along the coast, during n ight time and is completely harm less. Without even knowing wha t this year would bringabout, the sar dines have become the absolute trend for 2020! As we all some times feel “packed like sardin es in a can”, ourcolorful and playful sardines, with their “ sardine smile”, keep on traveling towards tomorrow under the perspective that“ everything is going to be ok!” . That is our favorite design for2020 ! As for our most beloved one: we will always adore Tsolias!

Is there something about Hellenic entrepreneurship and the way that it is promoted abroad that you wish to change?

Greeks are coming stronger tha n ever into the internationalf ashion industry, among other things.

During the past few years, they enjoyed wide recognition andwe re considered of high value. Inno vation, natural materials,hard work and high-quality end products have registered Greeksin the golden pages of fashion industry; not only among high-end designers but among smaller ones as well.

I believe that if we work toge ther as a team, we can workmir acles, helping each other and standin g by each other. I believe that is what we need as designers: you make a kaftan,someone else is making sandals, another one is making jewelryand we make h ats. Let us all work together as one and help eachother, so that there is one photo in a magazine with f our Greek designers.

The government, this past year as well, is making a consciouseff ort, helping Greek companies t o evolve through organizations and projects. We believe that the government can supportexpo rts by reducing the taxes and suggesting a competitive VAT.That way mor e and more Greeks will be able to explore things outside of Greece and flourish. We must be competitiv ecompared to other countries b ut always maintain high- qualitystandards. Then, “Made in Greece” will be stron ger than ever!

How could people support Greek designers?

By insisting on buying Greek designers and actually buying Greek designers!

Is there a saying that you identify with?

There is always space for crea tors, not for copiers.