Reviving an industry on the Greek silk road

Reviving an industry on the Greek silk road

SOUFLI – Silk had never been high on the list of fabrics Electra-Yvonni was used to working with. For the Larissa-born fashion student with a penchant for the Aztec civilization and a tattoo to prove it, it was more about latex, for instance, and less about the finer fabrics with a higher price.

Things changed when the 24-year-old recently joined a group of 18 aspiring and young fashion professionals from public and private fashion schools on a working weekend trip to the silk-producing town of Greece, Soufli. All of them finalists in a competition defined as part of a broader effort to revive the local industry, the students became acquainted with Soufli silk through workshops, presentations and visits to local silk mills.

“The idea is to promote the silk of Soufli. We have the industry; we’re waiting for the orders,” said silk producer Giorgos Tsiakiris, president of Chryssalida, the association behind the competition which culminates in June next year.

Until a few years ago, orders had rarely been an issue in the northeastern Greek town. Situated 70 kilometers east of Alexandropouli (the capital of the Evros region), Soufli had become part of the silk road during the Byzantine era, with the fabric turning into the town’s main source of income up until the 1980s. The architecture still mirrors the local silk economy through the town’s signature “koukoulospita” – high-ceiling houses whose upper floors once housed silk worms and their cocoons. About 200 individuals are employed in the local industry nowadays, ranging from sericulture to selling silk products at stores as well as artisans working on embroideries at home. Three local families – Tsiakiris, Mouchtaridis and Sardanidis – run the last remaining silk factories.

You can read the full article here - http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite4_1_26/12/2013_532740

Author: Alex Dounavis

An avid traveller and keen writer about travel destinations in Greece and the Greek islands

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