All good things take time, and this is certainly the case of Greek swimwear label Sophie Deloudi. Having spent twenty years in the field of design, in 2014 the Greek designer, whose brand bears her name, returned to her true calling, fashion.
Amid the Greek financial crisis, Deloudi took note of the winds of change blowing across the Aegean and launched the swimwear label she had always wanted to market. With more consumers in her native country seeking out local brands, Deloudi combined this desire with her knowledge of the market after working for twenty years in design.
“It was a great experience,” described Deloudi. “I met a lot of interesting people; designers, architects, it was really really nice, [but] it was not my passion.”
It was the early nineties when the seeds of this project were first planted. After completing her studies in fashion design at the Istituto Marangoni in Milan, Italy, Deloudi attempted to launch a swimwear label, but encountered difficulties with getting the manufacture of the garments up to her high standards and finding the right market for them.
“I was young, I was insecure. I thought what I wanted to do was not worth doing it and I stopped,” recalled Deloudi.
Instead, Deloudi worked in her family’s design business, sourcing furniture and homewares from Italy and Europe to sell in Greece. In 2014, after two decades immersed in the world of design, Deloudi launched her own label, this time to great acclaim.
Her first collection, in 2014, reflects this obsession with the quality of the garment’s manufacture. Patterns and prints are kept simple, and the focus is on the way in which the pieces fit to the body. The femininity of the pieces is subtly stated, but in being structured around the female body, this form is a source of strength.
In producing the collections, Deloudi is uncompromising in her commitment to working with quality fabrics from Spain and Italy.
“Even if the fabric was twenty or thirty Euros per metre, I would buy it. I never thought, ‘It's very expensive, I cannot sell it.’”
Designed not just for languid summers spent on the Greek isles, the pieces are a statement not only across the Mediterranean, but increasingly around the world. Only selling through retailers, Deloudi has placed her products in boutiques from Spain to Abu Dhabi and describes the designs as “an equal product for Europe or the world, not just a Greek brand.”
Since 2014, the aesthetic of the brand has only evolved. Turning away from buckles and metal embellishments, the looks have come closer to the architectural structuring of the garments with broad strokes and sweeping cutaways. “I like having this mark that reminds you of design, statues, lines,” remarked Deloudi.
Unlike other approaches to swimwear, Deloudi does not only think of the water when designing a piece. Taking a broad palette of influences, Deloudi refines these into the final product.
“Once it was a painting, the other season it was the lines on the road, another time it will be fabric which is really nice and you say, ‘Oh my God, I want to do something with these fabrics.’”
But of course, there is no escaping the environment in which these pieces will feel just like a second skin; the ocean. Deloudi is no stranger to the sea herself, and can never be found too far from it herself.
“The sea, the beaches are everywhere in my country. … I love summer, I hate being cold, so I would love to stay in a country where the summer is 12 months around, all year around,” laughed Deloudi.