The Greek/Danish designer and entrepreneur Nike Kondakis seeks to provide an alternative to the polluting fashion industry and is one of the talented designers featured in the soon to be released book Fashion Africa by AFG’s founder Jacqueline Shaw.
The parachute line (she also designs accessories and knitwear) is available in an unexpected and wide range of colours such as snow white, lava orange, bush green, sea blue, pitch black and Barbie purple to name a few which are all the original colours, minimizing the energy used in an additional dyeing process and adding to the novelty of each piece. Stamps revealing when and who the parachute was made for and original parachute stitching are subtle details that make each piece unique.
Kondakis’ style is avant-garde and extravagant yet breathes Scandinavian minimalism , making her creations very wearable, modern and pure. This is definitely visible in her knitwear line named the Natural Collection, which is made from un-dyed wool from Kenya and is spun and knitted by hand. Oversized sweaters and ponchos with a raw, natural look are made in unbleached white and black tones and are complemented by the accessories made from African “dead wood”.
Her accessories line consists of bangles, earrings and necklaces carved from wood which has died naturally or been broken off by wild game in the Kenyan bush. Her graphic pieces have a rustic touch, some surfaces still covered in bark and others polished and stamped with the Kondakis logo.
In 2002 Nike Kondakis started a three year program in responsible entrepreneurship at the Kaos piloterna in Copenhagen. After completing her education, she traveled to Kenya to set up a development project for 30,000 Maasai’s at the Lorika Foundation. The project is now currently being run by local managers, but Nike still contributes to the education of Maasai girls who she says are often under prioritized when it comes to schooling. Her ambition is to create many more collections from different recycled materials, to sell more internationally and to employ 100 people in the coming 5 years. Overall through their growing sales they want to take many more girls to school.
Kondakis has received a large amount of attention by international and local press for her design and work with the Maasai community, and has shown her collections on the catwalk in NYC, Nairobi and Sun City. If you happen to be in NYC, San Francisco or LA in September, you can book an appointment to meet Nike and view her collection.
As Kondakis say “Your mind is like a parachute, it only works when it is open.”
Author: Ella Soccorsi