New York.- Vicki James Yiannias
The greatness of Greek antiquity doesn’t merely belong to the past; it’s part of today’s culture and it transforms our present. Literature! Science! Architecture! Art! But don’t forget Fashion. Case in point: sandals in the style of the ancient Greeks transcend time and changing fashions. What shod Greek feet, as seen on statues, in vase paintings, in frescoes, has been a diachronic fashion phenomenon.
Imitated steadily throughout the centuries–first by the Romans–all the way up to today, Ancient Greek sandals are always in style, and now despite the crisis Greece is undergoing, a highly visible, successful enterprise named–what else but Ancient Greek Sandals–is focusing on that prototypical fashion treasure.
“We’re not just selling sandals,” says Ancient Greek Sandals co-founder and CEO, Nikolas Minoglou, “we’re selling the myth behind the sandals.”
“When you wear Ancient Greek Sandals it’s like wearing a piece of history,” says Ancient Greek Sandals co-founder and designer, Christina Marini.
But while the company is using leather, Ancient Greek Sandals also uses a material that doesn’t belong to ancient history yet, 100% recyclable rubber, for their Debut Jelly Sandal for Resort 2015, which features a sandal with the wings of Hermes (those are ancient) on its heel. Named “IKARIA, it comes in a bright rainbow of colors.
A sandal with Hermes‘ wings is the logo of Ancient Greek Sandals and the ‘golden wing’ buckle, seen on many styles, is a trademark of the brand.
“My inspiration is Ancient Greek art, jewelry, and architecture, and, of course, mythology. The names of the sandals mostly come from goddesses, muses, nymphs, and other mythological creatures… The point is to make sandals that each woman around the world would like to wear.”
“It was evident to me that connecting those sandals to Ancient Greece would be a great idea,” says Minoglou. “The challenge in shoemaking is to be functional but at the same time elegant,” he says, hitting the very points that have made the sandals a timeless standard.
“I knew the ideas of the sandals would be a success because I knew the concept was strong,” says Christina, “What I didn’t know was that it would be immediate.”
However, Ancient Greek Sandals entered the scene at just the right time–a secret to success–at the peak of the Bo-ho fashion trend with its suggestion of simpler times and connections with folk culture.
Indeed, the characteristic traditional handmade leather sandals found all over Greece were the taking off point for this idea. Ancient Greek Sandals, made of chemical-free, tan leather, are handmade locally by skilled craftsmen using traditional techniques that have existed for centuries. “What we were able to do, was to bring a traditional product and give it a high end finish and esthetic,” says Nikolas Minoglou.
As the company expands its designs, other materials such as wood, nubuck and suede, and leathers from water snake and pony, and metallic finishes are being used.
“My grandfather founded the first rubber rain boot factory in Greece in 1957, so bringing the company’s heritage and know-how to our iconic winged Ikaria sandal came really naturally. It’s great to be able to connect a family tradition with the launch of a new and contemporary design,” Minoglou writes of the new Debut Jelly Sandal for Resort 2015.
Concurring with Christina’s assessment of the company’s success, Minoglou says, “The idea was pretty evident to both of us. No one was doing it at the time. We saw the opportunity and went for it and… we’re here.”
Let’s not forget Ancient Greek gold. Appropriately, Ancient Greek Sandals has launched a limited edition collection in collaboration with the iconic jewelry brand ilias LALAoUNIS. Gold plated jewelry motifs in 24k gold from the brand’s ‘Minoan & Mycenaean’ and ‘Paleolithic & Neolithic’ collections have been re-worked to compliment a range of 7 chic sandal designs named after Greek island locations.
Note: This writer restyled the original PVC “Greek Fisherman Sandal” and other PVC footwear of DERMOPLAST, SA, in Thessaloniki. Greece, several decades ago, created national publicity and imported them to the U.S. Never done before in bright colors for men and women, the Gladiator Sandal, Jazz shoes, Oxfords, Rainboots and other styles began the ubiquitous international “Jellies” trend that continues today.
Some statements by the company’s founders are taken from a video is created by Gecko media, an Athens-based creative production company specializing in video and motion graphics for corporate promos and advertisements and working across all sections of production from concept and storyboarding to shooting, editing and delivering high definition video to the client.