Interview with the Founder of Athens Xclusive Designers Week
The FWO team recently had the opportunity to attend Athens Xclusive Designers Week (AXDW) and meet with its founder, Tonia Fouseki, as they celebrated their 30 edition. AXDW, the the official international fashion week of Greece, was held at the historic Zappeion Megaron, and included an incredible series of creative events that, as Fouseki says, showcase AXDW’s “vision and dedication to our mission for an extroverted Greek Fashion Industry.” We spoke to Tonia Fouseki to ask about her background and how AXDW all began.
Meet Tonia Fouseki
Q: Congratulations on the 30th anniversary of Athens Xclusive Designers Week! It’s such a remarkable achievement. How did it all begin?
Thank you for your kind words!
I decided to found AXDW because I believe Greek designers deserve to have the opportunity to present their work in an international caliber fashion week that offers them a solid platform to emerge and expand their networking in and out of Greek borders. It was created in order to export Greek fashion globally through an institution of international standards that could establish Athens as a new fashion destination.
Greek designers deserve to have the opportunity to present their work in an international caliber fashion week
Athens Xclusive Designers Week (AXDW) is the official international fashion week in Greece. It takes place twice a year at luxurious historical premises in the center of Athens, presenting both supreme and current, cutting edge Greek designers along with top international fashion designers and fashion houses.
Until today, our fashion week has had the honor of hosting the fashion shows of the most important Greek designers along with legendary international fashion houses such as Vivienne Westwood, Escada, Cacharel, Emanuel Ungaro, Zuhair Murad, Guy Laroche, Krizia, DSquared2, Vivia Ferragamo, Barbara Bui, Francois & Marithe Girbaud, to name a few.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get involved in fashion?
I studied Marketing & Psychology and during my studies I worked as a fashion model. During this period I had the chance to meet and cooperate with important fashion designers like Valentino and Ungaro. Following this period, I worked in the TV, in front and behind the cameras, presenting and promoting fashion brands and companies so I got to be familiar with the whole chain of fashion, production, promotion, sales etc.
I studied Marketing & Psychology and worked as a fashion model
Later, as a Communications Consultant, I cooperated with the biggest TV networks in Greece, fashion designers, pop stars, athletes, actors and companies.
In 2005, I founded SO FINE! Communications Management, a boutique communication agency with clients from diverse fields: luxury products, health products, sports, national institutions and many others.
Finally, in 2007 I founded Athens Xclusive Designers Week, the Fashion Week of Athens, Greece, out of my love for fashion and my vision to assure a better position for Greek fashion in the international fashion scene.
Q: What are some of your core principles and missions?
Our mission is to export Greek Fashion Globally by creating new opportunities, strategic partnerships and collaborations with international organizations, media and buyers along with the public authorities, for the development of the local fashion industry.
AXDW’s imperative mission is to promote Athens as an important cultural European capital and as a must-visit annual International Fashion Week, while promoting Greek fashion worldwide and highlighting emerging new designers.
Q: What are some of the challenges facing Greek fashion designers, and how do you think they can be overcome?
The challenges that Greek designers face, have mainly to do with their supply chain support, due to lack of reliable local production suppliers that can deliver under certain timetables achieving high throughput volumes with low cost efficiency.
So, in order to meet their goals they have to travel a lot and import materials. Moreover, Covid-19 pandemic significantly affected the fashion industry and the world trade.
I believe we are at a turning point when it comes to the international fashion industry: not only Greek. The pandemic taught us a lot. Designers and fashion brands found new aspirations, the world is turning to sustainable fashion concepts and embracing eco-friendly visions.
the international fashion industry is at a turning point
The Greek fashion industry is moving in steady steps towards this direction but it will certainly take time to adapt.
Q: What makes AXDW truly special?
Greek inspiration & creativity, originality, high aesthetics, catwalks in breathtaking venues, historical premises, high standards of production, innovation, passion for fashion, continuity and consistency are the core elements that define us.
Q: The future seems limitless! What do you have planned for next season, and beyond?
Our goal is to constantly make bigger steps in the business development of Greek fashion and its export abroad. To elevate and move forward with an expanding network of affiliate international fashion weeks, buyers and media that share our vision.
To elevate and move forward with an expanding network
We have many business ideas in the context of an international networking that will work beneficially for our designers.
Our 31st Fashion Week will take place end of October 2022 and we are preparing many greats surprises for our guests and the fashion crowd!