N: Hello Serapis Maritime team! We're excited to chat with you. SERAPIS is the brainchild of Serapis Maritime, a creative collective. Can you share the story of how you all met and what led you to collaborate on this unique project?
S: We have known each other for a very long time. We shared a specific vision for art, fashion, objects and hybrid ways of producing and distributing them. Τhis led us to gradually and organically structure and develop SERAPIS as it is today.
N: Your designs draw heavily from the Greek maritime industry and seascapes, which play a significant role in Greece's history and culture. To what extent does your work incorporate inspiration from travel and the exploration of far-off places, and how much does it remain grounded in the essence of your homeland, Greece?
S: Our work is mainly inspired by the ocean, the maritime related industries, their people, their spirituality and the hidden aspects behind different production processes.
Greece, its relation to the shipping industry, Athens, the port of Piraeus and the center of the city around Omonoia square are also things that we are in close proximity to and that have substantially inspired our ways of operating. These are central themes that create a connecting thread in our expanding multimedia practice. Voyages and traveling are some of the poetic aspects of these worlds we explore.
N: Athens has experienced a cultural and fashion renaissance in recent years, becoming a hub for young creatives. You've been actively involved in this scene, collaborating with local artists on various projects. How would you describe the current cultural landscape in Athens?
S: Athens is a deeply inspiring place in a vast variety of ways. We have lived the city in all its changes over the last decades, as we have always been based here.
The cultural landscape is changing and growing and is becoming more and more vibrant and active, and there is more international exchange than there’s ever been, but we are also interested in what was here before and how these substantial elements that differentiate Athens from other cities can remain unchanged or evolve in authentic ways.
N: You are also known for blending workwear and uniform-inspired garments with luxurious fabrics, paying homage to maritime workers. Can you tell us more about your fabric sourcing process and the idea behind elevating these functional garments to a luxurious level?
S: We source all our fabrics in Greece.
We work with silk from Soufli and Volos cotton, with recycled nylon or with fabrics made from fishing nets, and we also use deadstock wool, nylon and knitwear yarns.
We have always been keen on creating contrasts between whatever is considered ‘high’ and ‘low’, or between heavy and light, in cuts, fabrics and prints. We have always been interested in horizontality, hybridity, in holistic approaches to our output, as well as in the narrative, the story that a material or a print has to say.
N: As a collective, your creative practice is incredibly eclectic, spanning fashion, art installations, curatorial projects, arts and crafts, and collaborations with local artists. What is the underlying thread that unifies your work across these different areas?
S: As briefly mentioned above we see all of the above as one. These are all only different media in a varying output that expresses our vision, that narrates a fragmented or abstract story, like an ocean-themed novel or an expanded seascape, and that works in different poetic ways in each context and way of distribution.