Stella Panagopoulou and Valisia Gotsi are two talented fashion designers from Greece. Selected to partecipate in Helsinki Fashion Week, they are determined to show how much fashion can also be ethical. Between a show and the other they gave me some of their time to talk about dreams and future plans. I found their fashion approach so interesting and sensible that I decided to dedicate to the brand, 2Wo+1NE=2 , a short interview and an article in depth.
Stella, Valisia, goodmorning and nice to meet you! Let’s talk about your love affair with fashion… When did it start?
From a very young age both of us were admirers of many art forms such as architecture, painting, cinema and music. Fashion is a necessity that can combine all these forms of art and all the aesthetic elements we gained from them.
You took part in Helsinki Fashion Week, the first 100% sustainable fashion show in the World, what can you tell me about this experience?
First of all we are very excited and grateful that we were selected to participate in Helsinki Fashion Week, that has a serious commitment to sustainability. Our experience there was extremely great, since everything was on point and all the contributors and the members of HFW team were more than eager to help us in every aspect. Moreover, we are very glad that there are people out there like Evelyn Mora, who care vividly and actively about young design led brands and most of all the wellness of the planet we inhabit.
May I ask you why did you choose this name for your brand? Where does it come from?
The name. It’s actually a mathematical equation, 2+1=2. However, we chose this particular one as it is more than that. Pierre Albert-Birot published in the avant-garde art magazine SIC (which featured writings by Futurists, Surrealists, and Dadaists) a study concerning Surrealism in Cinema and the title of the article was “2+1=2”.
Let’s talk about your AW collection, what kind of materials did you use?
Our A/W ’18-19 collection is inspired and named after “Los Angeles”. The main idea behind the design is the film noir cinema of the 40s. Every garment has the name of a leading lady of a film noir that was inspired by. Furthermore the outfits bear the names of Los Angeles streets that famous actors from the golden era of Hollywood used to live. The material we used was 100% wool that is a warm, tough, wrinkle-resistant, resilient fabric (which means good at retaining its original shape), and it can absorb up to 30 percent of its weight in moisture before feeling damp. It holds colorful dyes easily, without use of chemicals. We are in constant searching of renewable wool, but it is extremely difficult in Greece.
What does sustainability means for you?
Trends don’t last, but our garments do! We were never a trend follower and will definitely never become one. To accomplish that goal we create long-lasting garments using exclusively French and Bound seams so as to reduce the unraveling of seam edges and to contribute to the longevity of the garment. What’s more, by using high quality fabrics, we strive for a perpetual induction of buying less and investing more on exceptional purchases of timeless pieces, in order to reduce the environmental impact of wasted clothing, and raise the environmental awareness accordingly. In addition to that, we only use natural fibers, naturally dyed and processed, as much as we can. All the items are produced locally, in house, in a normal pace, in contrast to the fast-fashion craziness that dominates the industry.
Many people think sustainability can’t be glamorous. The Helsinki Fashion Week shows this is not true. How can we persuade people that “eco friendly-fashion” is even cooler than just “glamorous”?
We should not restrict fashion to just “being glamorous”. We should also think about being kind to the planet that offers to us hospitality and how cool it would be if we could combine these two elements together. Even more and more talented brands are emerging that pay high attention both to the conceptual design and the sustainability norms.
Have you been working on your next SS 2019 collection? Can you give us a little preview?
Yes and this was the collection that we presented in Helsinki Fashion Week. Our S/S ’19 collection is inspired and named after “Roussillon”, a picturesque village of Southern France. Therefore we used an Impressionist color palette of black, mint, red and ochre, resembling all the natural shades of the area. Totally influenced from the great paintings of Van Gogh and Paul Cézanne and inspired from French films as “Bonjour Tristesse” of Françoise Sagan and “La collectionneuse” of Éric Rohmer, we created a collection of light garments made of linen, cotton and tencel fabrics. Our aim was to create a collection that can transfer you magically to a pleasant daydream in “Villa Noailles” under the sound of Olivier Messiaen “Turangalîla-Symphonie”, and we think we accomplished that.
Which change would you like to bring in the World?
Plans for the future?
First of all to launch our e-shop, to expand our market worldwide and to show that design and sustainability can co-exist.