Neon Raum is a unique and creative space based in the central part of Athens and serves as a photographic studio, as well as a showroom for chic, stylish and funky up and coming Greek designers.
Owners Sotiris Trecha from’ The Dreamer’ and Diana Vardaxis of ‘Cat Black’, opened the loft like studio back in 2013 and have since collaborated with numerous fashion designers from all around Greece, who use Neon Raum as a way of promoting their range of clothes, jewellery and other fashion accessories.
Sotiris spoke exclusively to GCT about the idea behind Neon Raum, his own label ‘The Dreamer’, as well as the current fashion scene in Athens.
What is the concept behind Neon Raum?
It’s a photographic studio and showroom for upcoming Greek designers. My business partner Diana and I have known each other for years, as we both started our brands around the same time and we were taking part in bazaars and expos together. After some years and numerous pop up shops around Greece, we thought that having our own space was the next logical step. We decided to do that together and here we are.
When did it all begin & tell us about the success of your studio?
It started two and a half years ago, in December 2013. The feedback from people has been overwhelming to be honest. I think there are many reasons for something like this to become a success. For sure, the fact there isn’t any other space like this in Athens, makes Neon Raum pop up in the shopping map of our city. Moreover, both of us are independent designers, facing the same problems as all our peers, so we know the needs of our designers.
How does the studio work?
Our goal is to promote our designers and make their start into the fashion industry easier. We live in an age where images are more powerful than ever before, so we mainly focus on creating visuals that would be beneficial for both our designers and Neon Raum, as a brand itself. I’m a photographer myself so taking pictures on an everyday basis is kind of my thing.
Are most of your designers from Athens or all over Greece?
I’m happy to say we host designers from all around Greece. Neon Raum works as a very good base for interacting with the Athenian crowd, so many designers from the countryside and the islands choose to collaborate with us.
What do you love most about your space?
Hard question. I’m doing so many things for Neon Raum that it’s hard to choose. I guess what makes this more interesting is the interaction with the people. Both the audience, the collaborating designers and photographers. As I have never worked in retail before, only selling my own stuff it’s now very interesting seeing the crowd’s reaction to various brands we have hosted. As for the collaborators- I love to see how creative minds work.
How did your t-shirt label The Dreamer come about?
The story behind The Dreamer T-shirts is really simple and common. I started designing some T-shirts for myself, then for my friends and later on for friends of friends. Back then I was not called ‘The Dreamer’ and I was using my real name. After I created ‘The Dreamer’ logo, people started calling me that, it seems ‘Dreamer’ is easier than Sotiris. Six years later many things have changed, from a hobby it became my actual work; paying my bills. Moreover, I have changed the way I work and the way I print. What remains the same is my passion for all of this.
What is the inspiration behind your designs?
My friends. I love to “study” my friends and their habits. My T-shirts are very personal. I want people to be able to relate to them one way or another.
You also have a book, which is available internationally. Tell us more about your love of art?
Yeah, I’m very happy with my ‘baby’. I have always wanted to publish my own books and magazines and Dream Color is my first complete fanzine. It took me a whole 3 years to finish it and consists of my work so far, presented as a colour book. So basically you see my work and you can colour it yourself. It’s based on the idea of uniqueness – how differently each one of us looks at the world. That’s why the cover is unique to all 300 copies; because everyone is unique. Art is what keeps me going. After a lot of thinking I came to realise that everything could be art. So keep doing what you love, keep admiring what you admire, and for sure you will be smiling.
You are obviously an extremely creative person, have you always had a passion for design?
Yes. I always remember myself creating something. And more specifically, something colourful. I never thought of getting into fashion to be honest. However, at some point I just realised this could be a way of paying the bills, while being an artist.
How would you describe the current fashion scene in Athens?
Interesting. More and more interesting designers are popping up. It’s because of the crisis that people try to become more creative and really try hard to achieve their goals.
What do you love most about Greek fashion and design?
The fact that some things remain classic, while new ideas can always make a difference.
Who are some of your favourite up and coming designers from Greece?
In terms of jewellery- ‘Cat Black’ and ‘Bord de l’eau design factory’. ‘We are still bold & beautiful’ and ‘Jojo Blanc’ for clothing.
How would you describe your own personal style?
Pop and colourful for sure. I have a thing for “happy” images.
Are there any exciting events coming up for you?
The opening of my first solo exhibition just took place a month ago and I couldn’t be more excited. Moreover, we are visiting Patra for our first pop up shop there with Neon Raum.
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