STAVROS KARELIS

Buying Director Machine-A | Showstudio

_ What does future in fashion mean for you, considering all the changes that we have recently noticed, such as see-now-buy-now, menswear and womenswear presented together, the departures of big brands from one fashion week to another, changes in Creative Directors at the helm of the top brands and labels?
I think that the fashion industry is one of the most vibrant and evolving industries that exists, always discovering and promoting new talents, new ways, new methods, and pushing the boundaries of the current existing environment. For an industry which needs to satisfy such a wide audience of millions of people with different needs and demands, it is only natural to suggest new ways of re-establishing itself and ensuring it is as attractive as before to the new audience that it is reaching out to, but also satisfying the current one. All these changes are very natural to me and I think they apply case by case and there is no generalization or specific set of rules that all the brands need to follow. Every brand is different. So the message, and what I feel is the future of fashion, is to champion that diversity and that individuality. If the see-now-buy-now strategy works for one brand, it doesn't mean it will work for another one. The same applies to connecting both men's and women's shows. Everything depends on what is the target audience, where each brand functions better, their strengths and weaknesses, their aims for the future. In such a fast-paced environment we need to pay attention to the concept of time and how this will affect our future decisions. For me, supporting young talent and championing diversity is the most important aspect of this industry.
 
_ In your opinion, which are the brands/designers to watch for the next seasons? Which countries are the most cutting edge ones coming from at the moment?  There are many brands that I think are doing an excellent job that are on the radar of press and buyers, such as ALYX, Craig Green, Cottweiler, Y-Project, Gosha Rubchinskiy, C.E. and others. I am particularly excited about a few new ones like Vejas and DELADA, A Cold Wall, Paula Knorr, Alex Mullins. I have to say that London is definitely the city that produces the most cutting edge brands as some of the best universities in the world are located here, such as CSM, RCA and others. Also the work of the British Fashion Council and NEWGEN is such that they genuinely support young talent, offering them an invaluable opportunity to build successful brands with long term stability and an international audience of press, buyers and customers.
 
_ What are the main trends for the next Spring/Summer season? What about streetwear and athleisure... how do you think the attitude of the consumers has changed towards these fashion phenomena? Do you think, in a certain way, they have affected the way consumers buy?
I am not particularly keen on thinking about and analyzing trends as I think that our job is to create our own individual stories in our stores and in that way to inform our customers and suggest to them new ways of thinking about an outfit and the overall shopping experience. However, I would say that tailoring is taking a central part, and there are a lot more simple styles - with the focus on fit and the quality of fabrics. Colors such as purple, yellow & red are playing a big part. I think we are entering a very 'Prada' sports era. Athleisure or streetwear remains strong as long as the brands that are offering this are true to their customers and are not doing it because it's the cool thing to do. Streetwear and athleisure is based on a philosophy and how genuinely representative of a specific culture they are, with respect for it. Yes it is fashionable to have a skate brand but that doesn't mean that the skate community will support or respect it, if the brand thinks that the only thing they have to do is to show a skateboard and a few graphic t-shirts. Take SUPREME or Gosha for example. You know there is a genuine relationship there. I think that consumers are smart enough to know this difference and will support the few ones that are true to their ethos.
 
_ What do you expect from the next Pitti Uomo edition?

I think that Pitti has changed the international menswear scene drastically by doing an absolutely brilliant job! The brand selection and special guests are all so on point that every time I wait with great anticipation to see what the next line-up will be! It's a fantastic organization with truly visionary people selecting the brands and a level of professionalism at an exceptional level! I hope that it will simply continue to showcase the best emerging brands as they currently do! Perhaps a Craig Green show would be something absolutely beautiful to see at Pitti!