RetroWaves by Chara Georgakis

Hello, hello! Hope you are all well and thriving! Hopefully, you are reading this blog article on a beach or by a pool with a cold margarita at hand since summer is already here and, finally, Ecce Homo’s brand-new affordable swimwear collection titled RetroWaves is here and there is no better way of officially launching this collection than talking with one of the persons behind this project and offering some backstage magic! This is the first collection we proudly present since our new designer and dear colleague, Chara Georgakis, has joined our team as head designer and creative director of our queer brand! Even though Ecce Homo’s corporeal ethos and community engagement will never change, our designs never cease evolving by forging exciting new collaborations with members of the LGBTIQA+ community that are committed to the same fashion principles as we do, namely a slow-fashion production model and a non-negotiable non-binary and body-positive designing sensibility. So, without further ado, let’s dive into it!

Chara Georgakis

Which were your sources of inspiration and references for this new swimwear collection? 

The inspiration for this summer collection sprang from my desire to playfully explore the connections between the two basic colors, the (signal) blue and the (carmine) red, in an effort to invest my designs with symbolic power. The asymmetry that pertains to these two colors because of their history as markers of gender difference led me to the blending of the genders which in my designs are treated as one and equal. The two colors are present to various extents on each design in an effort to unsettle and undermine the strict gender binary. To be sure, this is not a setback on our commitment to a non-binary designing approach, but rather an attempt to create a space for those members of the queer community who critically identify with this binary one way or another yet with a queer sensibility. This collection was born out of my effort to respond to the requests of these customers who want their gender identity and expression to be reflected on clothes bearing the name of our brand. On top of that, at a closer look, these colored surfaces are interrupted by geometrical patterns, a reminder that any self-enclosed and pure identity bears the stain of its own destruction. And it goes without saying that all these designs are meant to be non-binary in terms of being offered to cover the needs of all bodies independently of their sexual characteristics! Another reference point that permeates the designing philosophy behind this collection comes from the 80s as a hallmark of empowerment, dynamism, and liberation. Finally, the athletic style was my way of talking about body positivity and I couldn’t be happier than to watch my designs dressing all body types and proving in practice that every-body can be athletic.

Could you guide us through your creative process from the very first concept design all the way to the final product?

 In the beginning, many designs are created and these at first glance may have something in common or not. When I creatively arrive at the point where I am able to see among these disparate designs which particular style or design element serves the need of this specific collection, the next phase is creating a whole collection based on these insights. Next, the research of the most suitable materials follows suit. This is the stage of intensive research on fabric and of many attempts at fabricating the clothes and bringing to life these designs at the technical level in order to arrive at the final product. For me, two things are of utmost importance, the high-quality of materials used and the consistency among the final products

Why did you decide to join Ecce Homo’s team? What does your role as head designer include?  

My first point of contact with Ecce Homo was its politics and ethics and the type of products it trades both of which are fascinating to me and perfectly ‘match’ with my own personality and ethics. Notions, such as all-inclusive, body-positive, non-binary, queerness, and many others that are part of Ecce Homo’s fashion lexicon, are hard to come by in the fashion industry let alone in the Greek one. As time were passing by and I had on many occasions the chance to meet the people behind the brand in person, I had many more reasons for my decision to join their team. It struck me the most the support and solidarity among the employees themselves and between the employees and the employers! Ecce Homo is a safe space inhabited by persons that create a sense of family. Regarding my post, I am responsible for all the aspects involved in creating a final product, such as designing, researching fabrics and adornments, and sampling, among others.

With the new swimwear collection, we got a taste of your work. What’s next for you and Ecce Homo? What do you have in store for our customers? 

As my first endeavor in Ecce Homo, I chose to create a collection suitable for the vast majority of customers out there. My intention, however, is to slowly bring forth more elaborate designs with strong queer elements. I also hope to make our catalogs more colorful and a couple of our collections will be soon released in two new colors. My long-term plans include the enrichment of our catalogs with new prints, textures, and designs that are currently in fashion. 

We have talked a lot about you as a head designer, but who is Chara behind this role that she embodies? Could you tell us a bit more about you on a more personal level? 

Well, first of all, I am a person with a great need to express myself artistically. I stretch and paint since I remember myself. I earned my first painting award when I was sixteen years old, and my first costume designing award three years later. For a decade, I was working as a costume designer at the theatre, cinema, and dance performances, etc., something that from time to time, I still do. I took part in many fashion shows, art exhibitions, and other similar event where I have been given the chance to present my work both in Greece and abroad. I choose to speak for all the things that personally touch me through my work, such as issues social, ecological, and in some cases political. One of my projects that is in dialogue with my current position in Ecce Homo, titled ‘aCUNTcan’, is about sexism and transphobia and inspired by the shape of the vulva. I consider activism the burden each artist carries on their shoulder in their attempt to communicate their thoughts and feelings to the audience. When it comes to the LGBTIQA+ community, it is worth mentioning that I am among its members and that in this community I have really found a new family. 

Having said that we would really like to thank Chara Georgakis for taking the time from her busy schedule to answer to our questions. We hope you got a taste of our new swimwear collection, the first one of its kind released by Ecce Homo with which we aspire to expand our queer brand towards a new direction. 

Stay tuned and in the meantime enjoy the summer! 

Check out our newly released RetroWaves swimwear collection at affordable prices here!