An article by Mrs Elis Kiss on www.greece-is.com
“In an age of automation and mass production, an obsession for quality, detail and craftsmanship sets this family-run maker of bespoke ties and pocket-squares apart.”
It takes a special kind of man to wear a multi-fold Kydos necktie. Not because any particularly great dexterity or expertise is required – don’t expect ground-breaking, complicated knots. However the brand represents a certain philosophy as well as aesthetic.
A rarity in both the local and global marketplace, the premium Greek brand is one of only a handful of companies worldwide creating 100% hand-sewn ties. This is ‘a step above handmade’, according to Paris, who oversees the family-owned venture from its base in the port city of Piraeus.
In this niche business, lightweight Kydos (meaning ‘awe-inspiring’) ties feature invisible seams, no interlining and are made from premium silks sourced from high-end producers in Como, Italy.
“We are addressing those men who, more than anything else, appreciate the art of making a tie. People who value craftsmanship,” notes Paris.
The key element here is the complete absence of any machinery. Scissors and needles are just about the only pieces of equipment on each production table. A staff of three produces two ties daily, with each necktie requiring about four hours of work. Each design is limited to 33 pieces; the reasoning behind this executive decision remains, for the time being, a family secret.
Kydos ties are produced according to the ‘elafria’ (light) and ‘panalafri’ (very light) construction concepts. ‘Elafria’ silk ties feature eight folds and weigh between 44 and 65 grams, while ‘Panalafri’ pieces feature four folds and weigh 30 to 35 grams – ideal for hot summer days.
“A rarity in both the local and global marketplace, the premium Greek brand is one of only a handful of companies worldwide creating 100% hand-sewn ties. ”
“We felt it would be more elegant to use Egyptian cotton and French linen. Then we thought of giving them a Greek twist. It was a way to survive in terms of the competition, to say something different and give them an identity,”
This season, Kydos is unveiling novel fabric combinations, pairing silk with tweed, cotton or viscose. Signature jacquard-weaved fabrics are also part of the winter line.
While the business was only launched in 2012, a tumultuous year in Greece’s ongoing economic crisis, the family’s savoir-faire can be traced back several generations. Paris’s great grandfather was tailor on a Greek island who specialized in men’s suits. His daughter, Paris’s grandmother, focused on fabrics, while her daughters, including Paris’s mother, became experts in sewing.
Aside from the limited-edition necktie collections, Kydos also offers refined and bespoke hand-embroidered pocket squares. The predominantly black and white color palette was recently expanded with the addition of the ‘Skyriana‘ collection which features motifs inspired by traditional embroideries from the island of Skyros that have been passed down through the family for generations.
“We started off with the ties, but then we realized that we wanted to combine them with pochettes, for which we didn’t want to use leftovers from the ties. We felt it would be more elegant to use Egyptian cotton and French linen. Then we thought of giving them a Greek twist. It was a way to survive in terms of the competition, to say something different and give them an identity,” says Paris.
The ‘Skyriana’ collection embraced traditional Skyros embroidery motifs such as stars, boats and mermaids. The pocket squares are printed in the Greek silk-producing town of Soufli in the northeast of the country on locally produced fabric. They are subsequently hand sewn by Kydos.
Meanwhile, the high-end Greek brand currently boasts an international online clientele stretching from New York to San Francisco and Canada, as well as a brick and mortar presence in Hanover, Germany. Back home, Kydos pieces are available at Papadogamvros in the northern Athenian suburb of Kifissia. “Greece is a tough market, but we are developing through word-of-mouth,” notes Paris. Neckties have also been sold in Brazil, Japan, Cyprus and Scandinavia.
Is the Kydos family concerned that the rise of a more informal masculine dress code in Greece could see neckties becoming more of a rarity?
“I believe that people need to actually visualize things,” says Paris. “What I find is that people who observe images at one point begin to see that maybe they themselves would look better wearing something. There would be more of these people if there were more designers, if there was more awareness. Of course they have other priorities, especially nowadays, but I feel that more and more people are going back to tradition and values. There is a sense of security that comes with identity.”