It was Olga I met first. In between swimming, windsurfing and having barbeques on the beach at Syros, I noticed her amazing skirt and asked her where she got it. Then I found out about the brand she and Anna have, Akira Mushi, named after their lovely dogs. I was amazed by the efficiency of their designs and how simple, yet truly genious the shapes their garnments have. And that’s just the beginning. The girls are not only expanding their horizons and seing their creations become appreciated in Greece and abroad, but hey just opened their first concept store in Chalandri. Here they are, posing in their amazing Akira Mushi collection, in their newly opened store.
How did you girls meet and start Akira Mushi?
We each had our own separate brands. Anna had an accessories brand called Lost Toys and Olga had a fashion line called Blanket Lo. We met about four years ago at this fashion event called Tell a Story. We chatted a bit and discovered we would both be travelling to Milan to buy fabrics and materials for our production. So we flew together and had the most adventurous trip! It was actually a disaster! I got kicked out of our hotel, because the land lady was kind of crazy and she told me that my ID was not valid or something. We grabbed our suitcases and just roamed around the city searching for a new place to stay. After that, you can imagine our big need for a big cocktail! We chatted and found out that we really are so different, yet in some way we each have what the other doesn’t. Like we are each other’s creative half. And that’s when we decided to try out working together.
So how exactly does it work? How can two people design a fashion line?
We each work separately. And then we meet up and show each other what we came up with. We talk about it, comment on each other and the final outcome is actually a mixture of both our thoughts and ideas.
This year you decided to take a big step and open your first concept store. What led you to this decision?
We always wanted to control our merchandise and felt that having our own concept store is what really fits our brand. Our budget was really small and you can say that it was risky. But the store has helped us keep our prices reasonable, it has helped us meet new people and have many more clients, it has helped us interact a whole lot more with the people that buy our clothes. All in all we are very satisfied and happy with our Chalandri store and are planning on opening a new one pretty soon.
How about an online shop?
So far there’s our shop on etsy.com. We are in the process of changing our website, so probably by September you will be able to access our own e-shop.
How do you see your business in the future?
Our aim is to build a healthy brand, that makes profit and that can be used as a platform of collaborations between many artists and designers.
And as for your clothes? Are you including men and children?
Yup! Well, so far we have our unisex t-shirts, but we are designing a small men’s line and also there will be a children’s line. You know, mom and daughter both in Akira Mushi. That would be fun!
How has your shop changed your routines or way of working?
First of all there’s so much communication and feedback. We really value talking to our customers and when we see them hesitate, we are the first to tell them: “You know what? If you buy this and it stays in your closet forever, then just don’t buy it at all.” We want people to really enjoy the clothes we make, and it’s amazing to see that once they get them, they love them and they ask for more! Also the shop has brought up a whole different process of designing and manufacturing. We now produce a lot of pronto designs. That means we make them and sell them, regardless of the season or line we are producing. For example, there could be a design in the Spring Summer Collection that is really going great and people show they love it. So, we alter the colors a little bit, make some variations and sell them mid-season, because of its popularity. That has been fun and different from the way we used to work.
Have you designed anything super formal?
We made this dress and uploaded it on our Facebook page. Then this girl saw it and asked if she could buy it as a wedding dress. The dress was really making a statement, so it could be worn at a wedding.
Each item you design and fabricate has a special name. What is the first name you gave a dress and which would be the strangest name you have ever given a dress?
Our first was probably the Holy Dress. The strangest is Babawash! It is actually the name of the fabric used to make the dress.
Do you think about how your garments will look on different body types? Do you design for some particular physiques?
No, not really. We design for all. And our designs are made in such way, that they complement everyone who wears them. We don’t aim on the dress or whatever it is we design to bring out your best assets… we aim to create forms and structures with our designs that will make you experiment with the way you dress, that will make you take a step further.
Is it hard for a designer to survive, or even to become successful in this time, in this country?
Yes it is. But then again, it always will be. There still are chances out there, but no one is giving them to you for free. You have to work hard and focus hard on your goals and then anything is possible.
A few comments on the things pictured above:
Akira Mushi never ever show their faces in pictures. They let their designs do the talking. And boy do they talk! / The third person playing rock paper scissors is Akira Mushaki, the hand of help at the store in Chalandri. / All the origami in the pictures was made by —-. You can email him here: / The ceramic Akira Mushi was made by —- / The bathing suits sold at the store are designed by Anna and Alexia of Hysteria Asteria. They formed a brand together called —- . / Each garment has a special code on it, which resembles a price tag, and this holds all the information regarding the collection and name. / The plant will make it. We are making sure it gets hydrated during this heat.