the story behind
There is a story behind every brand. In our category ‘Behind the Brand’ the designers share their candid insight about their inspiration, the production process, and the people behind the brand. We sat down with Afroditi Hera, founder of her eponymous label Afroditi Hera.
What was the initial idea behind Afroditi Hera? How did it all begin in 2001?
It all happened suddenly, after a friendly push in 2001. My deep infatuation with dressing up every minute of the day for no apparent occasion woke up a need in me to show my preferences in women’s outfits, which inspired me in aiming towards an eclectic silhouette. That was the reason for me to embark on a fashion career and launch my brand, after wrapping up a career in economics and business administration.
How would you describe the aesthetic identity of Afroditi Hera?
Aligned with positive cultural and environmental impacts.
Afroditi Hera label is known for its multifaceted printing patterns in a wide range of vibrant colours, which accentuate the loose floating form of a traditional kaftan in a contemporary prêt-à-porter. The delicate lines meet light ethereal fabrics, which mainly comprise high quality cotton, fine silks and chiffon textures. The Afroditi Hera kaftans are highly versatile and they become more elegant once the wearer fastens two small buttons transforming the creation from a day to an evening dress. These versatile ideas are important components of the brand’s identity.
Over time, the form of my womenswear has shifted from abayas and togas to kaftans, which has become my brand’s trademark design over the last six years.
How did you develop your interest in fashion? Is it something you were interested in from a young age?
When I was young, I would spend hours dressing myself, as well as my dolls, with my own choice of outfits. However, it never crossed my mind that I would become a fashion designer as I intended to study economics to get involved with a family business.
“I am mostly inspired by nature, historic works of art, paintings and tribal architecture."
You are known for your modern version of traditional kaftans. Where do you get your inspiration from for the colours and patterns?
My fascination with the Orient is manifested in my prints and designs that are reflections of dynamic cultural exchanges within the fashion world. I am mostly inspired by nature, historic works of art, paintings and tribal architecture.
Do you have an icon or muse in mind while designing the collections?
Yes, today’s emancipated woman who plays a dynamic role in her daily routine, irrespective of whether she has a career or not.
What is your daily routine? Do you design from Cyprus?
I start my day early. I arrive in my atelier in Nicosia by eight in the morning and I finish late, in the early evening. During the day I supervise new orders on the production line to ensure that everything meets my strict approval.
What is your favorite part about being a designer? What did you learn from it?
The brooding period and concentration on a theme that has to be chosen as the backbone of the whole design concept. It is a matter of strict discipline which follows after a rigorous preliminary brainstorming session.
What is the most crucial aspect of your designing process?
The strict devotion to the vision and the details of the design which are crystallized once the theme and concept of a collection are finalized.
“I am always mesmerized by my signature silk-printed tapestries on a woman’s body, waving in the wind."
What is the most beautiful piece you have ever designed?
The Inspiration Paris Collection, which I designed for the celebration of 100 years of L’Oreal Professional in Paris in 2009.
How long does it take to produce a design as your trademark kaftan?
It takes a minimum of forty working hours by a group of dedicated assistants.
How do you want women to feel when they wear Afroditi Hera?
Totally amazing, independent and gorgeous. I am always mesmerized by my signature silk-printed tapestries on a woman’s body, waving in the wind.
What does Afroditi Hera contribute to sustainability?
Every effort is made to use fabrics produced with a minimum carbon footprint. For accessories associated with the garments, we try to use recycled material as much as possible.
What is your greatest accomplishment with Afroditi Hera? What are you most proud of?
My participation in the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange project, which took place in London in February 2018. It was launched by Commonwealth Secretary General the Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland and Livia Firth, founder of sustainability consultancy Eco-Age.
I am proud that my brand represented Cyprus for such a special event. An event that showcases the wealth of design and artisan fashion talent across 53 countries. The exhibition was first presented at Buckingham palace after an invitation from Her Majesty The Queen in the presence of The Duchess of Cambridge and The Countess of Wessex, during London Fashion Week. The exhibition then went on display at Australia House in London. Later on, the Commonwealth Project exhibited at the Fashion institute of Technology in New York.
My creation on display during the project was chosen to be part of an auction, along with a few other exhibits, with the proceeds of the auction given to charity.
Any future plans you would like to share with us?
My future vision is to make more ecologically friendly creations.
Discover the Afroditi Hera collection by Pauw here.