Kooreloo: The Greek bags now sold in Saks


Kooreloo breathes Greece, summer, art, and authenticity. Colourful pieces of fabric are woven together and give a sweet new interpretation of tradition in a modern and elegant way. Isn't that what all the big fashion houses do?

Kooreloo was born from a need of the artist Lila Karagianni, or Leila Karr.

"The idea for the first rag bag came from the need to have a practical bag for my personal items, but also for all the things I had to carry with me as a mother of three children. I couldn't find any on the market that met these criteria and at the same time was fashionable and durable. I had a beautiful rag in my house since childhood and decided to use it as a material for my bag. And so the first design was born. The positive comments and reactions from friends and even strangers were encouraging - people stopped me on the street!" Lila said.


"The first orders arrived quickly. One summer, on a walk in Matogianni, Mykonos, with my friend and later partner Alexis Krasanakis, at least five ladies must have stopped me to ask me where I bought it," she continued.

"At that moment, Alexis told me: We will make a brand.' He left his career in banking, and together, we started Koorelo," added the company's artistic director.

In 2014, the machines took the lead.

"I borrowed a sewing machine from my mother, and after breaking hundreds of needles, I started to create a small production," she recalls.

Lila's contact with art is a chapter in itself. Architectural structures, sculpture and textiles ignited creative sparks in her mind, and she surrendered to their fascinating world.

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In a sunny studio in Moschato, a former gallery, the Kooreloo team works non-stop to achieve the best results. Their products, all made with exquisite care by hand in Greece, are best described as works of art.

The atmosphere is family, the artisans are smiling, and the dining room at the entrance is ready to welcome suppliers and customers.

I fool around like a little kid with the whole fashion process from the inside. I see the designs, touch the fabrics, notice the sparkle from the frills and ask Lila what ultimately makes a bag of hers special.

"It's the women themselves who hold it," she replies, adding, "Behind each of our bags, there is a lot of work, and each design is unique. We don't make a bag to serve a trend but to create a feeling."

A bag is an investment, and the summer collection offers modern designs that are still timeless.

"Multi-character and colour are non-negotiable for us. Black may not be our priority, but do you believe the black leather bag is our absolute best seller?" she questions.

Yes, I believe it.


Kooreloo celebrates ten years of creation this year but still has many reasons to smile.

Today, thanks to the ladies in Mykonos and the borrowed sewing machine, these colourful Greek bags are featured in the world's biggest malls—even in Saks's windows since the American market has also gone wild.

"Abroad, nobody knows the word 'rag.' We changed the letters and brought this fabric and style to the fore. We wanted to stand out and create something unique," said Lila.


Who was the first foreign customer? How did he feel when he approached her?

"It was Barneys! The buyer in Mykonos spotted us, and we visited them to show them our bags. They looked excited, while I was terribly shocked. It is not at all easy for what happened to happen," she stressed.

Of course, Kooreloo imitations have flooded the tourist shops in Plaka and beyond.

"At first, it bothered me a little. Later, Alexis pointed out to me that all this was probably happening because we were doing a good job. I, for example, always sew six tassels on the bag, as this number is not random. It is the number of joy, creation, and family - many do not know this," Lila revealed.


Lila Karagianni created her first bag from an old rag. Now, the special bags of the Kooreloo brand are becoming popular in Greece and abroad. More at kooreloo.com

For the campaign of the amazing collection for Spring/Summer 2024, the Kooreloo creative team chose the ideal location, the "Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens", and a concept full of eroticism and glamour.

Just before I leave, with a jacket from the new collection in hand, I wonder aloud what my best wish for the next decade would be.

"Let's do even better, with more plans, new ideas and ventures. Some you will learn very soon."

We look forward to it.

Lefteris Triga is a columnist for Proto Thema. Translated by Paul Antonopoulos.



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