Eleni Kavvada is the designer behind our new favorite Greek label 240791. Her avant-garde designs are as bold as they are delicate, her big volumes maintain elements of minimalism. We talk her brand’s distinct style, the current situation, colors, and metaverse.
How did you start designing? How would you say your style has developed into your current trademark designs?
I don’t really remember the first time I started designing, it’s something that I feel like it was born with me- hence my brand name (240791), which is my birth date. I remember sketching on my school textbooks and on my friends’ backpacks! It was always there. The journey that led up to today’s style of the brand, though, is something that had a lot of ups and downs and important changes through the years. During my teenage years, my aesthetic was really avant-garde, maximalist, and eclectic; something that changed during my fashion school years, when I became more of a minimalist. Then, I started working for a big designer here in Greece and that gave me some important elements as well. When I left my job, I felt an enormous need for creating and expressing myself and that became a reality through big volumes, intense silhouettes, and a lot of hand embroidery, haute couture work. This is me today and it feels very natural and honest.
What are the biggest struggles for a young designer?
To be completely honest, the historic period we are currently in has a lot of struggles and challenges as it is; imagine the level of difficulty when you are an aspiring artist, who is trying to find your place in the world. The first struggle is to find your personal style and identity, and remain loyal to it so people can start recognizing and appreciating your work. The second struggle is to convince those people that the art you’re offering, is something that they could include in their daily life by buying it; the “commercial” side of your brand, which, for people like me, is a very demanding task! When you start to have a workflow and everything goes by plan, hopefully, you would be able to have a team helping you with those tasks, so you can focus on your actual job, which is purely to create. There are a lot of issues in the process but that is a reality for all kinds of careers, people should remember to enjoy the moments that are spent doing what they love the most, and the struggles will appear weaker.
Which inspirations have shaped you? what has shaped your aesthetics?
When I was younger, I used to do a lot of research, mood boards, take notes and make sketches before I started realizing a project. That is something that provided me with adequate knowledge of historical facts, and art movements and I learned everything about the art pioneers and I wouldn’t change a thing. Nowadays, though, I tend to let myself free and work more by heart and instinct. I am very influenced by the social and political environment and I am also very influenced by conversations with people and my personal mood. I find that source of inspiration very cathartic and honest; and that makes my work feel honest as well.
If you had to pick one color to describe your personality which one would it be?
That is the trickiest simple question one can ask me, because I am that type of person that does not have a color, a movie, a song, a country listed as their favorite! I am charmed by every color and shade, depending on the moment and the project I am working on. If I had to pick one though, at least for now, that would be red. I feel very passionate right now, very intense and bold, and red is capturing all the above quite perfectly.
Is there a project you are most attached to or proud of? Why or why not?
If I had to pick a project that felt very personal and important to me at the time, that would be the capsule denim collection I did when I first quit my job as a designer assistant and rent my small atelier with no particular plan and idea of how things would turn out for me. The pieces were exclusively made out of denim, one of my favorite fabrics, and the details and shapes of those garments were out of control just because they could; for the first time, I had all the time in the world to do exactly what I was supposed to. The freedom, the excitement, the struggle, and the uncertainty of those days, I will never ever forget.
There are alien vibes regarding colors and textures coming from you at the moment. What should we expect to see next?
That is a very interesting and targeted question for the moment, and I will explain why. Sometimes art takes place and expresses you, before you realize what is going on in your actual mind. After I posted those pictures you’re referring to, with those alien vibes, I realized how much I am affected by the whole “metaverse”. Humanity is changing chapter and we can see it, we can feel it, we are experiencing it. As almost everything is taking place digitally, something that covid hugely contributed to, everything starts to feel that is leaving the humans’ actual hands and capacities and we are transferred into a new era that the “unknown” is a big part of the story. I think that was the force behind those references of my latest work and I am sure that you are going to see that grow as our society dives deeper and deeper into that new world that is knocking on our door.