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Arts

Soraya Tsantilis’ Fashion Vision Graces the Internet

June 1, 2024
By Chrysoula Karamitrou

ATHENS – Soraya Tsantilis, one of the most elegant Greek socialites, is giving lessons on Style through the electronic boutique she created for shopping in style!’

Soraya Tsantilis is married to businessman Dimitris Tsantilis – of the Tsantilis fashion stores family. She has loved fashion from a very young age. Born in Lebanon to a Greek-Lebanese father and Hungarian mother and was raised between Lebanon and Nigeria, her love for fashion emerged while in the United Kingdom, where she studied Businees and Fashion Design at the American University. Soon she was rubbing shoulders with famous designers, attending the most prestigious shows, and working at ‘Chatila’; a famous jeweler that caters to London’s high society.

Soraya loves London and her passion for fashion takes her to Paris and Milan, but for “The Goddess of Style’ Greece is a very special place, which feeds and inspires the fashion soul. She is the creator of the brand Soraya Tsantilis, the designer and creator of the beloved EL Bags. Soraya has created her own e-shop at www.StylestoLove.com, a site that provides an abundance of style for a reasonable price.

The National Herald: How and when were you inspired to create Tsantilis bags (Brand EL), and how do you incorporate Greek heritage and craftsmanship into your designs?

(Photo: Courtesy of Soraya Tsantilis)

Soraya Tsantalis: Our product line is closely linked to our Greek heritage. Even the names of our products are tied to ancient Greek history or mythology. EL launched in early 2016 with the idea to create a unique product inspired by Greek culture and history. The logo and characteristic motif of EL is the Meander pattern, known as the ‘Greek Key’, which is derived from the Meander river in western Asia Minor, which is known for its winding course and which has come to symbolize infinity, love, and the eternal flow of things.

TNH: Tell us about the materials and techniques used in making EL bags.

ST: EL products are hand made in Greece using exclusively Greek materials. The production process brings our products’ core elements to life. It starts with unique fabric woven on our exclusive loom to create a perfect balance of texture and weave. The fabric is then transferred to our partner workshops in Athens, where it is carefully cut and sewn into our bags. EL bags are designed to meet the needs of a typical workday as well as an evening out or a relaxing day at the beach.

TNH: What makes EL bags stand out in the world of fashion accessories, and how do you ensure that each piece reflects the quality and craftsmanship associated with Greek art traditions?

(Photo: Courtesy of Soraya Tsantilis)

ST: EL is an inspiration born of the Tsantilis family in an effort to revive the beauty of Greek culture and history in a distinctive and unique way. Our family business was founded in 1920 with a small retail store in downtown Athens that sold high-quality fabrics to the Greek market. Our company has expanded to 25 stores, offering luxurious quality clothing and fabrics from around the world across the country. In 2016, as the designer and creator of the brand and with my great experience in the field of luxury fashion, I managed to combine the stylistic features and Greek heritage in the product collection that the brand offers today.

Another key point that gives EL Bags a distinctive edge compared to other brands in the market is the flexibility and versatility of the bags, the way they are combined with the straps. We can say “everything goes with everything.” We always create patterns and color palettes according to international fashion trends while ensuring our customers can ‘have fun’ and ‘mix and match’, daring to try many different color combinations between the main bag and the strap. This results in multiple options, each as unique as our customers.

TNH: How do EL bags contribute to preserving traditional Greek arts while embracing modern fashion trends?

ST: In the 19th century, the textile industry was one of the main pillars of Greek industry and, by extension, the Greek economy. We continue the traditions in an effort to revive this sector as well as the craftsmanship of bag and accessory making.

(Photo: Courtesy of Soraya Tsantilis)

In summary, our raw materials, both the main fabric and the accompanying straps, are produced exclusively in Greece, in local collaborating textile mills, thus supporting the revival of the Greek textile industry.

TNH: As Greek-Americans seek authentic shopping experiences during their visit to Greece, and with summer being a peak tourism period in the country, what collections can visitors expect at Tsantilis bags venues during their upcoming visits?

ST: The Spring/Summer 2024 Collection is a milestone for EL Bags as it incorporates many new techniques, new materials, and new patterns, resulting in a vast array of options for consumers and, by extension, Greek-American visitors. This year’s summer collection truly has it all! A staple again this year is the collection with the jacquard fabric, woven exclusively for EL BAGS with 100% Combed Cotton. However, beyond the classic Ecru-Black color combination, there are over 10 other combinations carefully selected according to international fashion trends. Among these are Beige-Black, Blue-Denim, Red-Pink, and more.

(Photo: Courtesy of Soraya Tsantilis)

Similarly, a rich new color palette is available for the straps of the new summer collection, with 20+ new color combinations. This year there are dynamic new entries in the summer collection as a result of the launch of four new patterns in our already existing characteristic style. These are:

EL CHAINS, which ‘marries’ the winding paths of the Meander with rows of chains, exuding a more classic and luxurious style.

EL BLOCKS, which is a geometrically artistic rendition of the EL brand monogram.

TOILE GARDEN, which once again incorporates the winding paths of the Meander with ‘toile de Jouy’ floral elements, reminiscent of the labyrinthine gardens of Versailles.

TOILE MYTHOLOGY, which merges the ‘toile de Jouy’ aesthetic with elements of Greek mythology.

Simultaneously, we have new entries in our materials categories!

Beyond our Jacquard Combed Cotton fabric, this year we are investing in a rich collection of leather options, both in earthy tones and in more vibrant ‘statement’ shades. Another big favorite is the collection with embossed leather featuring our characteristic pattern. It was a winter collection venture that ultimately won over the consumer public – deservedly!

In the embossed patterns ‘contest’, this summer two strong ‘players’ have entered, namely embossed canvas and embossed straw, imported from Italy but processed in Greece.

And naturally, the culmination of this creative process was the SS24 season photoshoot at the high-aesthetic spaces of the FOUR SEASONS Athens hotel, adding another high-end touch to our already luxurious collection.

(Photo: Courtesy of Soraya Tsantilis)

We hope that both the Greek consumer public and Greek-American visitors enjoy the new SS24 collection of EL BAGS as much as we enjoyed creating it as the EL BAGS team!

TNH: Do you have physical stores where visitors can see the EL BAGS collection and products up close?

ST: We are very pleased to announce that this Spring, in one of the most historic and renowned neighborhoods of Athens, Plaka, we are inaugurating our new Flagship Store – TSANTILIS Boutique.

On one of the busiest streets in the area, at Adrianou Street 140, we welcome visitors and customers to one of the most iconic landmark buildings in Plaka.

Our new store is housed in a recently renovated neoclassical building, a characteristic example of the eclectic style. It is of great historical significance and, of course, features unparalleled aesthetics.

In any case, our experienced staff will be happy to welcome every visitor to our now three physical stores, our TSANTILIS BOUTIQUES:

  • Perikleous 27 and Fokionos, Syntagma Athens, 105 63, Tel. +30 210 323 8484
  • Kolokotroni 14, Kifisia 145 62, Tel.: +30 210 808 7557
  • Adrianou 140, Plaka Athens 105 58, Tel.: +30 210 325 7714

People can shop as well as at www.tsantilis.com.

TNH: Can you share with us some of the ethical practices that EL uses in the production process, aligning with the growing global trend for fair trade policy?

ST: We can proudly call ourselves a fair trade company, as we work exclusively with Greek artisans who passionately continue the art of creating bags and accessories, striving not to let it fade over time. At the same time, we support the local economy by not resorting to the cheaper solution of outsourcing.

TNH: Do you ship to the United States?

Due to high demand, we have expanded our shipping network to the United States and Canada!

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