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12 March 2019

Forever Athens

By Joséphine Faisant

We meet Haris Katarelos, the Greek Fashion Designer who makes clothes that are Made to Last Forever. For about six years, a brand very different from the rest has appeared on the Mediterranean fashion map. ​Forever Classic Apparel​ is combining classical and casual elegance with urban aesthetics in a very unique way. At a time when the 00s and 90s are coming back everywhere, Harris Katarelos, the founder of ​Forever,​ is offering to the European market his own vision of a ​new old style.​ In every collection he manages to fuse Retro and Streetwear with a 100% Greek production. Harris Katarelos was born in Athens. He studied Digital Systems but he chose another way when he finished University. Indeed, he took the decision to deal with the family business specialised in the importation of professional garments like gloves, helmets and uniforms. After some years, and after having entirely undertaken his family’s company he got inspired and confident enough to create his own clothing brand. Forever Classic Apparel.

Where did you grow up? What kind of dreams did you have as a child?

I grew up in the southern suburbs of Athens and i all i cared about was skateboarding so all my dreams were around that.

When did Forever start? And how?

It started in 2012. I was making t-shirts, hats and some other stuff for tattoo shops and some crews for a couple of years and as i was learning more about clothes i started getting intrigued about making a clothing company. I always loved clothes so it came out pretty naturally.

I read you took over the family business (professional équipements, gloves, helmet) at the age of 22, do you think this experience pushed you, in a way, to create your own company ?

I can't say it pushed me.. What it did for sure was making it easier legally to start my own company. I did not have to go through the bureaucracy and stuff so it really helped.

Forever is often described as « a​ mix of classic elegance and urban aesthetics​ », can you explain from where this mix come from?

This is a claim mostly referring to the first year of the brand. The brand is about what its name says Forever Classic Apparel. Classic apparel that last and can be worn forever

I feel like Forever is infused of a kind of “modern nostalgia” that gives importance to the existence of the clothes in the time. Do you feel like swimming against the current in a society where nothing lasts and everything has to be as new as possible?

Definitely.

Are you, on a personal level, a vintage shop lover?

Definitely.

Forever Athens. Is Athens City a source of inspiration?

Not really. It just happens to be the city that hosts my brand.

You’ve said in another interview that you’re autodidact. What would be your advice to young people with the dream of create their own clothing brand?

To do something else. Everyone makes clothes these days. I do not think there is any market appetite for more brands.

You started Forever Apparel in the middle of the crisis, do you feel that this context had been an effect on your determination?

I think it was easier this way because in the past you would have to invest a big capital and make big production from day one etc. During the crisis it was a little easier and cheaper to make experiments.

As we said before, Forever is a unique mix of classic and timeless elegance with some contemporary cool vibes, can you where you feed your inspiration?

I am really into 1940s to 1950s. Exactly at the period after the war where people started free themselves at all aspects of life and consequently to dressing as well.

Photography : Kostantinos Vakidis

If you could choose an icon to dress, like a singer/movie character/model (dead or still alive) who would you choose?

I would be flattered if Woody Allen ever purchased something from my collection and wear it but to be honest i do not have real life icons. I love the way many actors got dressed for roles but in their real life same people do not inspire me at all. For instance i love how Rocky looks at all his movies but i wouldn’t say real life Stalone is tempting me..

YousaidthatForeverisabout “C​ lothes made purely in terms of ergonomics, comfort and durability at work or for sport​” is it possible that this might be an heritage from your family business?​

I wish it was but my family business was mostly about importing and not making work clothes and especially the modern (nowadays) ones. I would love to inherit some classic workwear making knowledge but that was not the case with me. I fully support and try to keep the claim real through my work though.

If you had to pick one item from any of your past and current collections to represent your brand which one would it be?

I would say a bomber jacket. Either a classic military one or a varsity. They represent the brand as they are its best sellers, they are 100% according the idea of the brand and they look really cool.

Last question, in which of your clothes you feel the most comfortable/confident to wear?

I love the way my pants fit. Can't find pants like mine anywhere on the market either vintage or new.

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