Having switched from chemistry to fashion, local creative is now keen on inspiring the next generation finds NIKI CHARALAMBOUS

Passionate Cypriot designer Tryfonas Modestou grew up in a fashion-oriented environment, and has an impressive list of accolades under his jacket but now spends his time inspiring the youth of Cyprus. But he was perhaps at his most visible competing on Project Runway Greece, the reality television competition where fashion designers fight for their big break.

Modestou debuted his fashion brand in September 2014, and his reputation in the local fashion industry has made him one of the most sought-after names for his creative designs, which he produces from his atelier in the Larnaca village of Kornos. Modestou is living out his childhood dream of creating bespoke fashion and design, from wedding gowns to eveningwear and everything in between, including men’s formal wear.

tryfonas modestou

Tryfonas Modestou

Modestou was introduced to fashion at the age of three at his mother’s boutique. “I was, as always, surrounded by clothes, and I have many fond memories of being there,” he told the Cyprus Mail. “I began drawing my own designs when I was eight years old, but it wasn’t until I finished a degree in chemistry that I decided to embark on my own fashion fairy tale.”

According to Modestou, his chemistry degree from the University of Cyprus did not fill the void he felt for creativity and fashion, so he changed career paths and became a fashion designer and has never looked back.

Modestou excelled and was such an incredible talent that, while still a student at Kingston University in London, he was given the opportunity to work with renowned fashion designers JENA.THEO for London Fashion Week, giving him an insight into the vibrant and highly competitive world of fashion.

While working in London, Modestou met Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel. “He was undeniably an inspiring figure. His drive for success, his distinct fashion style, and perfectionism inspired me as a person and as a fashion designer,” he said.

During his ascent to fashion fame, Modestou was also selected for an internship programme, which led him to New York to work for upscale clothing and accessories retailer Banana Republic.

Many fashion bloggers have praised Modestou’s work over the years, and he was shortlisted for the Textile Print Award at the Design Means Business Exhibition in 2013 for his graduation collection in London.

“Paying attention to detail and design allows me to create polished and well-constructed garments,” he explained. “My collections feature elegant and feminine silhouettes that draw attention to the female body. They have a sophisticated and luxurious style that suits strong and confident women.”

His collections have also been featured in fashion publications in London and America, and he has worked with many stylists on fashion shows. “The key to my success is hard work and determination,” he added.

In terms of success, Modestou has become a household brand in both Greece and Cyprus. In 2015, he received the Best Catwalk Award at Athens Exclusive Designers Week for his Autumn/Winter collection, and a year later he was named Designer of the Year in Cyprus. “I was also a contestant on Project Runway Greece in 2019, where I competed against 16 other designers and finished seventh.”

fashion2Modestou finds inspiration for his creations after researching different concepts, colours, silhouettes, fabrics, and materials. “The design and development of the collection comes next.”

As part of his process, he develops his own patterns for all the designs and then sources the best fabrics for the garments. The final stage is to put all the pieces together. “My motivation is my creativity; I can be inspired by anything and anywhere,” he said.

His Spring/Summer 2023 collection will be shown in Nicosia on June 14, after which it will be accessible for purchase online.

Modestou also believes that his vast experience and fashion know-how should be shared, especially with the younger generation. He has been teaching fashion design to first, second-, and third-year pupils at the Larnaca Technical School since 2020. “I enjoy teaching and inspiring today’s youth, and I am impressed by the interest and talent of the new generation in Cyprus, which gives me hope that the local fashion industry is making an indelible mark in the fashion world.

“We are the authors of our lives, we create the life we want to live and how we want our story to play out,” he tells his students.