Inspiration from Mythology
The loom, this ancient weaving tool is called istos (‘web’) in Homer’s writings. Penelope used to weave during the day and undo the weaving at night in order to trick her ‘suitors’, and make them wait until she finished her shroud. Inspired by ancient texts and the ancient myth of Philomela, who was unable to speak and hence weaved her lament until the gods transformed her into a nightingale, Georgina Alexandri, a young woman from Thessaloniki in Northern Greece, who graduated with the highest honours from the School of Fine Arts, found a unique way to honour her cultural heritage and express her creativity through the art of loom weaving. She created Philomela, a contemporary brand based on the traditional art of the loom. The connection with the ancient myth was not made by chance. It rather proves that this is a fashion house which has an exclusively Greek identity: the name and the logo are inspired by Greek mythology and the garments are weaved using local raw materials.
Young weavers, contemporary creations
As the founder stated at the feature article published in ‘K’ Magazine of the Greek newspaper Kathimerini entitled “The Loom is in Fashion” - «Ο αργαλειός είναι της μόδας» : “I wanted to create my own designs on fabrics and imprint my creativity on unique garments weaved using local materials. I travelled inside and outside Greece looking for ways to implement my idea and I concluded that the loom would be the tool which would give me the quality and the style which I envisioned for Philomela’s collection.” After failing to find young weavers in Thessaloniki who would be able to create the modern weaving that she had imagined, she started looking at other regions of Greece. She finally reached Zagorochoria. “To my big surprise I found my new team there among young women who had abandoned the city to live at the country and had started learning how to weave on the loom. One lady had come from Austria to learn the art of weaving on the loom and was living permanently at Zagorochoria.”
Greek cultural entrepreneurship
Philomela’s creations include garments and accessories with modern lines, which are nevertheless influenced from the architecture of ancient Greece and by both the Minoan and the Mycenaean cultures. Weaved cuffs, inspired by the jewels of the Minoan civilization which were worn as wrist bands, prove the creator’s direct influence from her ancient heritage. As the creator states, Philomela’s journey around the world has an important aim. To show the ancient Greek influence in modern design and revive the loom as an ancient tool for weaving which is in danger of extinction – but also to prove that the Greek culture and entrepreneurship can form a profitable union, which can give new opportunities and lead to unexpected professional potential.