They say there is only one thing more precious than our time, and that’s who we spend it on. And when your time together is just never quite enough, then it feels right.
Anastasia Xenaki and Petros Christoforatos are not only a couple, but also two young designers and –quite bold- entrepreneurs based in Athens. Their latest adventure involves traditional, wooden hand-looms and the luxurious feel and genuine textures of mother nature’s fibres carefully woven into both traditional and contemporary fabrics. It’s an art form, that proves both a pioneering spirit and a love for tradition. An art form that has everything to do with time. Since the Neolithic era, it has survived hundreds of centuries of progress, even industrialization. Because it magically links generations together. And it’s time consuming – it takes many hours of precision and patience to complete each piece.
It reminds one of the world of haute horlogerie, where master engineers with trained eyes, nimble fingers and precision instruments put together watches from a collection of single parts, each a fascinating showpiece of meticulous workmanship, functionality and design. No wonder they both chose to wear IWC Schaffhausen watches.
So, it was about time I met them in person, and asked what gives them strength to b-loom in such difficult times. Obviously, the answer consisted of a four-lettered word with the immense power to give birth to masterpieces. And it was right there, in front of me, glowing.
How did you meet?
We met in August 2012 at Egremni beach, on the island of Lefkada. I saw Anastasia who sat a few meters away with her company, and I just could not stop staring at her. Finally I decided that if I did not make a move now, I would never forgive myself. To be honest, I did not know how to approach her, in order not to seem weird or funny, but fortunately Bob Marley’s «Could you be loved» was playing in the background giving me the opportunity to ask her to dance! Fortunately, she smiled, took my hand and the rest is history.
Is it easy to live and work with your other half?
Nothing is easy and nothing is impossible. All relationships, personal and business face countless problems. But if you complement each other, the routine will not wear what you’ve got. We always operate with respect towards each other’s needs and handle any conflicts not as a threat to our relationship, but as an opportunity to grow further. Fortunately, for both of us, the presence of our friends and families has helped overcome obstacles, many times.
Name one thing that makes you go mad at the other.
The calming and relaxing state in which Anastasia usually is. I sometimes feel like I’m living together with a Buddhist monk. On the other hand, this helps us maintain a balance, because I’m the exact opposite: alert and restless, 24/7.
Do you share common beliefs on life and ethics?
Of course we do. Respect, dignity, honesty, self-awareness, patience, humility and dedication. We don’t know if we are indeed what some call “soulmates”, but we certainly wish to be. I guess, time and fate will decide for us.
Have you grown within the relationship? If yes, what shifted?
If I were to tell you that our relationship hasn’t made us grow and become better people, then we would have failed – both as a couple and as individuals. We dare to speak out. I admit that Anastasia has proven to be more mature throughout those years, while dealing with some difficult situations. And I’m thankful for the security and confidence that I feel by her side.
Is time important to you? What does it mean to you?΄
Time is the ‘’currency’’ of our lives. We decide where and how to spend it. And the magic lies herein: although invaluable, it can never be saved. So we need to live each moment, while valuing its uniqueness, because once passed, it will never come back.
Do you always wear a watch? Why?
Always! It is an essential accessory. But also a reminder, shouting at me “live in the moment”.
Do you believe in good timing? Is there such thing?
The timing is always right. Sometimes it works positively and others, negatively. Timing is the experiences we gather throughout our lives, that help us build our personality and evolve as individuals and professionals. Therefore, there is no right and wrong timing, there are only right and wrong people, good and bad choices. Above all, however, there are experiences and experiences build strong personalities.
What was the exact moment that you knew you are for one another? And when was the exact moment you knew you would make looms your next business endeavour?
For better or worse, it’s only through difficult situations that you can actually evaluate the courage and strength of your companion. If this person stands by your side and supports you when the going gets tough, then you can rest assure that this is the one you are looking for. We have been through such times in the past, we stayed united, we faced the problems together and we know now that hardly anything can bend us.
Why did you start “LOOM%”? What need was hidden behind this decision?
The idea has been haunting us for the past two years. We knew that the art of traditional weaving tends to extinction and with it, a piece of our culture and history. We knew, since we do possess excellent expertise on weaving that we had to somehow channel our love for tradition and our vision and disseminate it to the public. It was certainly not easy because we have both left our careers in other sectors to dedicate 100% of our time to LOOM%. But every day that passes by, it is creativity that fuels us with the necessary impetus, energy and power to continue.
If Anastasia is behind all designs, is Petros the brains behind the PR/Marketing?
We had to have clear and separate roles in order to be more functional. Anastasia is behind the weaving projects and I’m behind all matters concerning the proper operation and promotion of the company. But at the end of each day we have a meeting, where we exchange views and thoughts regarding everything. Especially our next steps to become better, more efficient.
Why is it important to always remember where you come from?
We strongly believe that you cannot create the future, unless you know what has preceded in the past. Once you lose your roots, progress can be tricky. Besides, Greek history is reflected upon these textile creations and we should be proud of it. And it is another source of inspiration for everyone around the world – as every other art.
What can we expect from you in the future?
We are ready to launch quite a few new products, soon available to the public. But, given that everything is made by hand, no major production openings are possible. What satisfies us and gives us strength and optimism is that our work has already been enthusiastically welcomed both in Greece and abroad and we have received a number of cooperation proposals with several artists and designers. And hopefully we will live up to their expectations.
All clothes, sunglasses and shoes are by Brooks Brothers.