ATHENS – With his grandfather and father both tailors, George Papadogamvros found it hard not to follow the same career path and in fact, took the family tradition to an entirely new level. He became a designer, his name synonymous with the finely tailored men’s suit, and in his postmodern atelier in Kifissia he creates suits/works of art that satisfy even the most demanding customers.
Papadogamvros spoke to The National Herald about the handmade, bespoke men’s suit and many other issues relating to men’s fashion.
TNH: You follow a family tradition, you come from a family of tailors. What do you do differently from your grandfather and father?
George Papadogamvros: My father and grandfather were tailors. The thing I do differently is that I have opened a postmodern atelier, I keep up with the fashions abroad, and the tailor gives advice to the customer on how to dress, that is, I am not so much a tailor, I am a designer. So we decide together with the customer about the garment.
TNH: You have studied in Italy. So your main influences come from Italian fashion?
GP: I studied with Veloudakis and then I left and went to Milan to Marangoni and my influences are from both Italian and British fashion. I’m somewhere in between.
TNH: What is the secret of success for a designer?
GP: Plenty of work, good taste, and love what you do.
TNH: Why should a man choose a bespoke suit?
GP: First of all, when a man chooses a bespoke suit, this is a point of no return, that is, he will never go back to the readymade. What does it mean, however, when a man chooses a tailor-made suit? It means that it will be an exact fit to his body, it embraces him, and will be what he asks for. For bodies with some peculiarities, those can be hidden to show a much more elegant suit.
TNH: What is in fashion this year?
GP: This year there is a lot of color for the summer, playing with the pastel colors.
TNH: Generally speaking, are Greek men and women well-dressed?
GP: In recent years, the situation has improved a lot, but there is still a lot of work to do. I would say that 50-60% of Greeks are well-dressed because they travel abroad, see fashion trends, and are more informed.
TNH: Has the crisis of recent years influenced your job?
GP: The crisis above all has helped, because there has been a clearing up and people are no longer throwing away their money as they had in the past. Now people are choosing quality.
TNH: It is known that many famous people, artists, politicians, athletes, trust you for their suits. How is it working with them?
GP: I have plenty of customers, both in Greece and abroad. What I have succeeded in is that they trust me and now it goes on its own. Because the major thing is to gain the trust of the men whose suits you are creating. To gain the trust of the men who come in to have their bespoke suits made. If you also win the trust of the wife, then they are completely won over. That is, you pass some tests and then do it all yourself.
TNH: Textiles in Greece. Is there something of its old glory today? Where do you get your fabrics?
GP: Unfortunately, there is nothing of the old glamor of Greek textiles. I get raw materials from Italy and England. The Greek textile industry has died. They are trying to do something with something casual. At Soufli we are try to do something with silks, but we have a long way to go to reach the English and the Italians.
TNH: And what is next for you?
GP: My next move is to expand to do a gang show in America, to come at least three times a year. My customers, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Predrag Stojaković, want me to come to America, they wear my suits and people ask them about them.