Practical with a playful touch, Ancient Greek Sandals are the ultimate summer must-haves.
Co-founders Christina Martini and Nikolas Minoglou’s affection for ancient Greece and its history combined with their individual technical skills naturally led to the creation of the brand. Inspired by Greek Gods and culture, the sandals are handmade locally by skilled craftsmen using traditional techniques that have existed for centuries. We caught up with Christina to chat about the brand, what inspires her and the SS18 collection. Read our interview with her below.
A SANDAL BRAND,
HANDMADE IN GREECE.
HOW DID ANCIENT GREEK SANDALS FIRST COME TO LIFE?
I met Nikolas through a common friend in 2008, and it was then that we realized we had the same idea. A sandal brand, handmade in Greece. Our idea was to use our centuries-old tradition of sandal making in order to create good quality sandals with a raw yet modern and feminine aesthetic at an affordable price, something that seemed to be missing from the global market. Nikolas, who studied in the US, had noticed that all his American friends would visit Greece and all they would buy to bring back was olive oil and sandals, so he saw it as a business opportunity. I had always bought the ‘tourist sandals’ from the islands and used them during my holidays in Greece, but they tended not to last very long beyond that. I had always dreamt of making them with good quality leather, and developing their design.
At the time I was working in Paris for Balenciaga but kept contact with Nikolas who was in Greece, taking over his family business. In 2010 Nikolas called me and said that he had found a manufacturer so I sent him over the first designs and the first collection came to light in 2011.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE NAME AND WHAT IS THE IDEA BEHIND IT?
The Idea of the name was Nikolas’, and he bought the URL in 2006! In the beginning, I found the name quite cold but now I think it is genius because it describes exactly what the brand is about; It is self-explanatory!
WHERE DOES THE INSPIRATION FOR YOUR COLLECTION COME FROM?
For every collection, the inspiration comes from a different era of Ancient Greece. Architecture, Jewellery, ceramics, sculpture and Mythology.
We have classic styles and more elaborate ‘fashion-led’ styles. In the latest collections, we experiment with other materials than leather such as the denim, velvet, sequins etc.
FOR EVERY COLLECTION THE INSPIRATION
COMES FROM A DIFFERENT ERA OF ANCIENT GREECE.
ARCHITECTURE, JEWELLERY, CERAMICS, SCULPTURE AND MYTHOLOGY.
WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO DO A KIDS LINE?
I have kids and my kids wear sandals so it was only natural to develop a mini-me line of sandals.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING TOGETHER AND DESIGNING FOR KIDS?
I like working together with Nikolas because we share the same values and we understand and respect each other. I think it works because each has his own responsibilities, he takes care of the business side of the company and I design and follow the prototypes. When I design for kids, I usually take the women or men’s styles and I change the proportions, making them suitable for kids feet.
WHAT IS THE SS18 COLLECTION INSPIRED BY?
The Cycladic collection is inspired by the Cycladic Art that flourished at the Cyclades, a group of islands in the Aegean sea. The lines of the sandals are taken from the marble figures called ‘idols’, mostly depicting the female geometric human form.
WHAT IS THE DESIGN PROCESS AND HOW ARE THE COLLECTIONS MADE?
I first sit and do research, by visiting Archaeological museums, sites, by reading books or finding information online. When the concept is clear, I start sketching and then select the ones I like the most in order to make detailed designs and send to the factory. The technician in the factory makes the prototypes which I correct in order to make a final sample. When the sample is approved we do the final launch in different colours and materials in order to present it at the showroom.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORKSPACE/DESK LOOK LIKE?
I am afraid my desk is quite messy, full of sketches, colour cards, memos, empty coffee cups, bits and pieces that might be used at some point…
WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHEN YOU’RE WORKING?
I am one of those people that I can’t listen to music when I am working, for example listening to music and answering interview questions is impossible for me. It makes me slower, so when I want to concentrate I just listen to the boats coming and going to Corfu, as my office is at the entrance of the port. When I design and I am calm and don’t have anything else to do, I listen to Amy Winehouse, Alicia Keys, The Supremes, Dusty Springfield and other women.
WHAT ARE THREE THINGS YOU ALWAYS CARRY IN YOUR BAG?
Sunglasses, lip balm and band-aids (for my daughter, in case she hurts herself; it’s the only thing that calms her down)
IF YOU COULD CHOOSE ONE KEY STYLE FROM THE COLLECTION, WHICH WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
The unisex Irini sandal which has two buckles for the perfect fit!
IF YOU HAD TO DESCRIBE YOUR BRAND IN THREE WORDS, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Handmade, raw aesthetic, modern
AND FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY WORDS YOU LIVE BY?
Trust and follow your instinct.
ALEX AND ALEXA + ANCIENT GREEK SANDALS
RED, BLUE AND YELLOW IRINI SANDALS