On the occasion of unveiling the highly anticipated selected pieces from the Maria Bartzoka AW Collection exclusively at Cemeli. We are happy to introduce to you the visionary, dynamic woman behind the captivating, uncompromising, timelessly chic designs, Ms. Maria Bartzoka.
Please tell Cemeli followers a bit more about yourself and how the brand came about?
My name is Maria Bartzoka and I am a fashion designer based in Athens, Greece. Before I got into fashion, I studied MSc Information Systems Management in London. There, I received my first different stimuli in terms of fashion and freedom of expression. I worked for years in the business world, nevertheless, my need for expression through art led me to fashion and specifically to design, fabric and pattern manipulation etc.
Please tell us about how your designs came to represent something extremely bold and hopeful amid these uncertain times (pandemic etc..)?
In my life, as in fashion I have embraced what I call “Perfect Asymmetry”. My journey from Business Exec to Fashion Designer is one full of trials and tribulations, of shortcomings and successes but mostly it is a story of empowerment that I want to share with all women who never cease to explore their own passion and creativity in life. I want to inspire and get inspired by women who realise that difficulties in life, make us stronger and give us an even more pleasant taste of the beautiful moments in our journey.
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What was the inspiration and vision behind your designs?
My inspiration is every woman who takes her future into her own hands at any time. Women who zig-zag to overcome adversities and preconceptions as they remain steadfast in realising their unique potential. Each one of these women is a beacon of light, revealing a future dressed in wonderful clothes with unparalleled style, full of creativity.
Sustainability and responsible sourcing are a strong priority for CEMELI and also for the world nowadays. What steps do you think the fashion industry needs to take to become more sustainable?
For the past several years, societies around the world have been giving more importance to quantity than quality. This has created a very serious situation for our planet and as if completely disregarding quality, we mainly consume products with extremely harmful substances for both us and our planet. It is imperative for us, as consumers but also as active players in the fashion industry, to return to quality as soon as possible to prevent the impending destruction of the planet and therefore of humanity itself.
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How are your designs favouring sustainability?
As a mother of two little boys, I consider it my duty and obligation to protect my own future but above all, the future of all children. As a result, I give great emphasis to sustainability but also to ethical fashion. For example, all my designs are sewn to order to limit the unnecessary waste of resources. Also, all the clothes are hand-sewn by professionals, legally employed and fairly recompensed in Greece from excellent raw materials made with natural fibers, such as basically organic cotton, virgin wool etc in Europe.
What has been the most surprising thing that you have learnt about running your own business during such challenging times?
For me, it was not so much a surprise as a confirmation that whatever happens around you, with the right mood, work and motivation, you can continue to evolve, become better and wiser. In short, whatever comes into our lives, we can see it as an opportunity. Learn from it and become better versions of ourselves.
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If you could describe your brand in five words - what would they be?
Timeless, Inspiring, Androgynous, Minimal, Elegant.
How do you envision your ideal customer?
The woman that inspires me, can never be boxed in, she is a brave achiever as much as a sensitive soul-searcher, being on an endless journey for personal growth as a woman and as a professional. With a holistic approach to well-being, her healthy lifestyle isn’t just about fitness and nutrition; it is also about choosing the right people around her and sparing time from work to enjoy the things she loves, whether it’s fashion or a wonderful night out with friends.
How do you feel about being featured at the online CEMELI boutique?
I feel very happy and honoured to be a member of a group of women with unparalleled style and aesthetics, who are strong and who with their charisma and decisions they make in life, inspire both me and the world around them.