His dreams are his clothes, although buttons and zippers are sometimes a chore!
The young, German-born designer with Greek roots knew from an early age that he was destined to become a designer and attributes his success so far to a combination of patience, talent, and a love for what he does.
Still buzzing from being presented with the ‘Best New Designer’ award at the Athens Xclusive Designers Week in October last year, rising young Greek designer Dimitris Ordoulidis is understandably excited about the future and is bursting with creative energy and ideas. In the short term, he is hoping to carve out a successful career in Greece and throughout Europe; looking further ahead, he aspires to one day create his own atelier.
Given his recent success and clear-eyed vision for where he’s heading, realising both dreams is surely only a matter of time.
Of course, the fashion world is notoriously fickle and fleeting and success can never be guaranteed, but while Dimitris finds inspiration for his creations in his dreams, his feet are firmly on the ground when it comes to turning those dreams into reality, which in his case means designer clothes. This down-to-earth attitude may come from his family origins, which are rooted in the northern Greek town of Veria, where farming and not fashion puts food on the table. The family moved to Germany, where Dimitris was born and educated, although he first studied civil engineering at the Institute of Technology in Athens. Subsequently, he graduated from the Fashion and Communication Design department in Dusseldorf.
First design was a dress
In fact, it was while studying in Germany that he designed the first dress he was really proud of and for the first time had the sense that what he’d produced was more than simply a design; it was a vision that he could see and feel in his own hands – a dream he’d converted into something real and tangible. But even before then, at a very young age, he first responded to this creative impulse when he found himself trying to change his boring old T-shirts into something else entirely, without really knowing why.
Today, Dimitris cites two of his favourite high fashion designers as Haider Ackerman and Yohji Yamamoto, and defines his own personal style as being “street, sporty and comfortable”. Fashion itself, can be summed up in three words, he says: personality, culture, and self-realisation. It’s proof, perhaps, that he has well and truly arrived when he is asked for his views on such matters and it’s hard to over-estimate the boost to his confidence that winning the award for best new designer at the Xclusive Designers week event in Athens gave him, but Dimitris is certainly not getting carried away. Asked what crucial advice he has for aspiring young fashion designers, he says hard work, patience, and a love for what you create is what really matters.
The creative process
So, how does he go about designing and constructing a new piece? “It isn’t an exact science,” says Dimitris, “first I begin by conceptualising. After that come the first sketches and the first designs. Later on, I’ll start with the patterns, but nothing’s hard and fast and throughout the whole process, I may implement new ideas.” As for the time it takes to complete a new piece, Dimitris says it all depends. “Sometimes for five pieces it can take up to two weeks. On the other hand, sometimes a sleeve alone may take a whole month to get right!” When everything comes together just so, then a piece can be finished in very short order indeed. “In as little as five minutes,” says Dimitris, who finds sketching and draping the most satisfying part of the process. And the part he doesn’t particularly enjoy? “I dislike having to wonder about buttons and zippers!”
Artist or inventor?
Dimitris describes himself as an artist who invents. His dreams are his clothes, he says, and black is his favourite colour. His greatest strength as a designer, he believes, is his ability to adapt quickly. The most inspirational person in his career is his mother, but he also learned a lot during his fourth month stint working with famous Greek designer Yiorgos Eleftheriades, earlier in his career. When it comes to what makes a quality piece of clothing, he is in no doubt that fabric is first and foremost (he sources most of his fabric from Antwerp or Paris, as well as Athens, depending on the project) but the knitting techniques and quality control are also hugely important.
At this stage in his career, Dimitris is still very much a hands-on designer; he creates one piece at a time, meaning that everything – down to the last detail – comes through him. In other words, quality control begins and ends with him. So involved is he in the process that Dimitris doesn’t blog about his designs or act as a fashion consultant for other sites. “I create fashion, I don’t talk about it,” he says.
Catwalks, and staying up with the latest trends
Being so busy, staying up to date with the latest fashion trends can be tricky, so Dimitris finds the internet invaluable. He watches every catwalk and project he can from all the major European and global firms. To show his own designs, he first decides on a concept for the shoot, finds the perfect location, then the perfect model, the perfect make up and hair comes next and finally, the perfect meaning – where clothes and people are joined in unity. Dimitris defines his clothing line as “geometrical lines with special solutions for a broken elegance result”. He sources all his models through an agency and says Winnie Harlow is one of his favourite models to work with.
Dimitris dreams of having his own atelier one day. In the meantime, fans of his clothes and jewellery will soon be able to buy his designs in selected boutiques, specifically with the Greek label Underground. Trying on clothes before you buy is important, says Dimitris, which is why he never shops for clothes online. Like a lot of designers, he loves shopping for himself and says he has had some of his best experiences shopping in Antwerp.