„Made on Ikaria“ – I dreamed it, I did it
I consider myself a politically-mindedperson. Environmental issues, education, the sustainable development of society and economy all have priority on my agenda. I am reading a lot about it, I am posting the corresponding links on Facebook and I have my share in the discussions at night over some wine and Tsipouro. But, to be honest, between theory and practical action there is a gap to fill. And sometimes I am still buying at H&M – knowing that their clothes are produced in China and Pakistan under unacceptable working conditions;
I order some of my books online, knowing that this will destroy the little bookshop community in my neighbourhood; I am buying fruit and vegetables in the supermarkets, knowing that I am supporting big agro-enterprises instead of smaller local farming entities. Time and money constraints are my favorite excuses for doing so and for not leaving my comfort zone.
But Ikaria is becoming a good teacher for me. On the island I learn where to buy local products – may it be cheese, organic tomatoes or jams and honey. Through direct contact with the producers, I understand that my decision to buy from them has an impact, that I can be part of small changes I would like to see these days. This gives me a lot of food for thought and in return – little by little – I am also changing my consumption habits in the big city I am living in. It already works pretty well when it comes to food, but clothes are still a big question mark. I like an individual style, I like colours and fun, but this is difficult to find. As I strolled through the small streets of Agios Kirykos and Evdilos, I noticed the large number of small tailor shops, where the women are repairing clothes …. and an idea came to my mind: why shouldn’t I ask them to make skirts, dresses and blouses for me? It sounded crazy, but I liked the idea of brainstorming with these women and supporting them in their work.
Of course there was a risk, but I like challenges. So the next time I came to the island I brought some material with me and I gave it to different tailors. We started with the production of some cushions and the result was really nice. The next step was tailoring a skirt and a first dress. It was a bit “trial and error” and I had to cope with the Ikarian way of timing, but in the end I was able to proudly present a small fashion line “made on Ikaria”.
The Platia became my catwalk. The skirts and dresses are named after the villages on the island. I have skirts and dresses called “Faros”, “Kerame”, “Evdilos”. Among my favorites are the skirts “Plagia” and “Ikaris” as well as the dress “Akamatra”.
“Plagia” is made of a smooth blue tissue with white dots and it reminds me of the nice old kafenion in the village of Plagia. Wearing this skirt at the Panigyri on 08 September in Plagia is now a “must have”. “Ikaris” is a white skirt with little red flowers and it brings back the smell of an early morning ride on a scooter along the coast.
“Akamatra” is a winter dress that I am wearing at work in Brussels. As “Akamatra” means ‘leaned back woman’ it is a contradiction to my busy business surroundings. So I am wearing this dress with a big smile, because it is a perfect reminder that somewhere in the Aegean Sea, another rhythm of life is possible.
And in addition to it, Ikaria teaches me to be more coherent in my talking and in my concrete actions, to take a risk and just do it. I am growing up, I dare more and I have fun. Nice.