eternal optimist

SEPTEMBER 20, 2010
INTERVIEW : Conquistador designer TASSOS SOFRONIOU
Tassos Sofroniou has been working as a stylist and a photographer in the fashion industry for years, being very successful. This fall he launched a menswear line, titled Conquistador. I’m sure most of the articles presenting Conquistador will use the words conqueror and irresistible which translate the term Conquistador to speak about its creator. Sofroniou does have a Rebel Citizen on his mind when designing. At the same time he is also a very experienced professional who is aware of fashion and its terms deeply. Hence, he created a menwear line based on a very specific aesthetic which the greek designer aims and wishes that will bring the contemporary man’s style one step forward, more consciously this time.

The eternal optimist met Tassos Sofroniou a few days after the presentation of Conquistador at Grande Bretagne hotel, Athens.
You have been working as a stylist and a fashion photographers for years. This fall you chose to enter the fashion commerce . Why now?
I think that in a real Conquistador’s DNA the adversities and the difficulties are part of his daily adventure. He understands them but he struggles to overcome them and clean his future from ideas and actions that do not include creation of new perspectives. I refuse to settle for a social and political quagmire that we “must” apply and which consist of frugal elements, of cosnervatism and absolute ignorance. I cannot believe that we are slowly sinking into a new version of medieva culture, while  the classical arts, the democracy and the civilisation were born in this country. A nation that has praised the physiological beauty throghout the centuries now remains in silence. Conquistador is my way to react and cashier the absolute stupidity by which we are surrounded. For me, it was the perfect time to present my view and my perception over the contemporary man who is a rebel citizen. A cosmopolitan Greek man who respects and worships law and order an at the same time he reacts actively when those laws do not serve the citizens as they should.
Tell me about the creative context of the menswear line you created. Is there a major source of inspiration and reference?
 I wanted to create a new kind of clothing without being conceptually oriented and hence to address my work to a very specific and limited target group and consequently a very insecure commercial future. I started creating based on a classical silhouette of a college top hoodie. The outlook was like that of the artist on a white canvas; endless.
I leangthened the distance from the neck to the finish of the garment much lower than the waist, srhank the sleeves, the fit is more tight over all and i used patterns and material combinations that you can only see in Pret-A-Porter Deluxe menswear. It’s a bit like sur mesure but more versatile. I want the customer who buys my stuff to see them as functional throughout the day and to see it as his armour, his power. I used elements of the style of the navigators of the 16th century, the scuba divers, the motorcyclists and the greek folklore and tradition which i find very rich in references. Although it’s a greek brand with a spanish brand name, the civilisation and the tradition are the wealth of every nation in the world. This is why I am planning to travel a lot with my collections.
At the same time, I do like a Conquistador total look, that’s why I design two styles of pants every season. This fall I was inspired by the Apocalypto movie . I created a biker skin pair of pants and another which is called Apocalypto, a pair of intergrated and removable male skirt worn with four separate ways, but as trousers and skirts only. Because the tops are a big part like handmade, so I wanted the bags, wallets and the rest of my accessories to have a raw quality, but with terrible sound quality leather, stitching and superb versatility. The versatility of my products is a big plus. There are endless ways to combine my clothes and do this live and then not force coveted date.

You are aware of fashion and its trade. At a time when fashion aims to be both communicative and more readable to the average consumer, how does this affect the line you follow for Conquistador?
I think fashion in terms of trade has somewhat lost its direction. I never realized how can a brand be at a 4500 square meters shop where the clothes are ultimately just an excuse for modern people in order to worship a religion that has collapsed. I do not accept an item as a luxurious one when one can find a host of excellent copies but also endless choices in the store itself. Luxurious is not only the quality, but also the eagerness and the way one discovers something unique and something exclusively his. The so-called “fast cheap” fashion brands are earned because big brands do all the hard work of design innovations. Their need for  visibility is so huge that when someone reaches the shop floor for sale, the proposals of the big brands are already old and very expensive, especially since the reflexes of the cheap ones have already won the fury for the fure and the spare immediately. As the mouse finally chases the cat in a strange but perfectly logical chase.  On the other hand, fashion magazines increase, bloggers star in any form of disposal alternative information and fashion editors do not know whether to dress or to dress in order to survive in the fierce need for the Hip, The The gorgeous fantastic. Never in 24 years working in fashion I have not seen such a large gap between the new and the old, fresh and stale. I think that the smaller a company, as being reasonable always under, the more easily it can react. Fashion as we knew it has died but the new type of consumer wants style and only style. This is where I consider myself indispensable as Conquistador. I want you to discover and follow me, not to be bored and hate me. The prices catch an audience by an average to high but ultimately much more “expensive” than what you actually pay for. The feeling of superiority is invaluable to me and I give it free of change along with each of my creations . I never intend to become botox trendy. I just want to be contemporary timeless.

You will be eternally optimistic that…?
I will eternally hope and wish that fashion will always be the place mixed up, mix and mixed with dreamy effects and strong, unforgettable emotions.
CONQUISTADOR and Tassos Sofroniou will be at Grande Dame bar in Athens on October 14th, at a night hosted by theeternal optimist

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