WWD Series: Stavros Karelis

January 20, 2022
Stravos Karelis,
Founder & Buying director Machine-A
Courtesy : Tom Alexander

How is buying evolving in the age of phygital seasons and the metaverse? 
Fashion has often been about a ‘fantasy’ world. The difference is that in this ever-evolving pre-in-post-meta pandemic environment we live in, this fantasy is becoming a world we are all exploring deeper and is becoming a reality for many who want to move away – at least aesthetically or visually –from the recent past. 

The available technologies and the rapid adaptation of those in our fashion ecosystem have given us so many great mediums to work with, so many ways to connect with designers and our communities – regardless of physical locations or time, or even a physical environment. 

Whether it’s the circumstances or an innate need to experience the new and unknown, designers and brands have been freed to explore ways to show us not only a beautiful collection, but the universe where they see their collection and their community existing. 

That is quite liberating and makes you wonder as a buyer how you can push and find ways to make things more exciting for your audience and customers. However, there is one fundamental and unchanged principle for us: to always create emotional connections above all.

How are you approaching buying this season, where physical appointments (and life) are back but much of the fashion process remains digital? 
A large part of buying has always been a digital process. The major difference is that we don’t get to experience the clothes in a physical setting – see them and the fit, feel fabrics and textures, etc. 

This season, while many appointments are digital, there are a lot of physical ones. I believe that the ones we see in person will be those in which, instinctively, we would be investing more into. It creates an emotional connection, helps you to understand how you will curate your store and take less risks. 

The thing about newness – fundamentally what consumers want in general and from MACHINE-A in particular – is that, as a buyer, you only project yourself and your store with novel ideas, styles and brands by seeing them physically. 

Tailoring vs. Streetwear: who could win the match this time? 
From what we have seen so far, tailoring is the winner in the traditional meaning of the word. However they both have influenced each other so the real winners will be brands balancing both sides well, bringing the traditional forms of beautiful tailoring, evolving them with details from the streetwear culture and offering them in fine quality fabrics.

Y2K influence is massive, clubbing culture, futuristic / apocalyptic/ space vibes, goth references & no gender fashion, workwear & sensual empowering dressing are what young customers and audiences want to wear and I think these will be the dominant trends of the season. 

Any trends that were raised during the pandemic, like loungewear, will slow down as everyone wants to move to the meta – even as a state of mind and a way to express themselves through the power of dressing. 

What’s in your fantasy wardrobe for Fall 2022? 
I think that Prada this season was the perfect example that, moving Goldblum-style into a futuristic post-apocalyptic environment, dressed for work but in a ceremonial way. 

My fantasy wardrobe is fast filling up – the boiler suit with graphics from Peter De Potter, Martine Rose’s checked one piece coat blazer, that Alyx by Matthew Williams shearling jacket with black feathered hoodie, GmbH metallic leather jacket and trousers, Steven Ma ice gray leather boots with red and black heels, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy black kilt, Mugler spiral denim jeans and Bianca Saunders’ olive green folded crewneck – but I’m leaving space for Raf Simons, Rick Owens & Y/Project. They’re always part of my fantasy and real wardrobe. 

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