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Crafting a Cyprus fashion story

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How young designer from the island made it on international fashion platform with a focus on sustainability and smashing gender boundaries. SARA DOUEDARI meets him

In the vibrant landscape of modern fashion, where each brand tells a story, Cyprus-based TOMMAZO has its origins in the modest Larnaca studio of Toumazos Charalambous. It has since transcended the boundaries of its island roots to make a mark on the global fashion stage.

“Larnaca is not just a place; it’s my home town, it’s a part of me. It’s where every stitch of TOMMAZO started,” Charalambous said. His designs, initially echoing masculine elegance, evolved into a sophisticated blend of masculine and feminine energies creating designs for both sexes. This evolution reflects Charalambous’ belief in the fluidity of fashion.

His journey to becoming a designer was as intuitive as it was destined. “I was born to do this,” he said. His innate love for styling and a keen eye for detail have seen Charalambous seek a challenge and bridge gender fashion norms.

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Tommazo AW23 design

Still far from the fashion capitals of the world, speaking from Larnaca, Charalambous said that passion and vision are the true catalysts for success. “It’s not about where you’re from, it’s about the dream, the skill, and the unique perspective you bring.”

Charalambous’ approach to blending traditional Cypriot influences with contemporary design quickly garnered international attention. “Designing is a learning curve, and with each collection, we strive to be better, to go beyond what we’ve previously achieved.” Since starting out in 2017, his designs have resonated across cultures, finding a special place in Japan for their contemporary appeal, in Germany and the Netherlands for their quality and avant-garde aesthetics, and globally for the brand’s ability to harmonise and mix designs across genders. A further expansion to the United States and Middle East is planned for this year.

“Finding wholesalers across the globe has been an exciting part of TOMMAZO’s journey. We prioritised partners who appreciated our aesthetic values and commitment to sustainable fashion and had a track record of supporting innovative designers. Networking was crucial, so we attended Paris Fashion Week, which opened doors to in-depth conversations and relationship building,” Charalambos explained. “We also leveraged social media to showcase our collections, which caught the attention of potential partners. They could see the reactions of our audience to our designs in real-time, which built trust in our brand’s marketability. Editorial features in high-end fashion magazines further stated our positioning in the industry.”

Through its online shop, the brand delivers worldwide, while in Larnaca it recently presented a pop-up store opposite the Ayios Lazarus Church.

TOMMAZO’s designs, while distinct, speak a universal language: a language of passion, creativity and an unwavering dedication not only to fashion’s transformative power but also its enduring legacy. Within TOMMAZO’s world, fashion emerges as an art, a narrative, and an emotion to celebrate the diverse aspects of human self-expression. “We never just created clothes; we crafted a story, a dialogue between the wearer and their identity.”

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Tommazo AW23

TOMMAZO’s distinctive collections showcase a deep understanding of material and design, where Charalambous’ creative flair is evident. His use of robust materials like denim and leather, alongside the high-gloss finish of lacquer, forms the cornerstone of the brand’s signature aesthetic. These are complemented by the softness of silk satin and the comfort of fleece, highlighting luxury embedded within the practicality.

For women, the range is extensive, featuring tailored suits that command authority with a feminine edge, and denim pieces that offer both comfort and style. Hoodies and tops speak of a casual elegance, while skirts, shirts and dresses exude versatility. The collection for men is equally thoughtful, with suits that blend traditional craftsmanship with modern cuts, and denim that marries durability with trendsetting designs. Hoodies, skirts and shirts break conventional boundaries, while coats round off the ensemble. Price points are accessible yet reflect the quality and design ingenuity, ranging from €100 to €500. Whether it’s a basic top or a lacquer coat in black or statement-red, each piece is priced to value the craftsmanship and narrative behind it.

Embracing a mix-and-match approach, the brand encourages individuals to curate their unique style by blending pieces across various collections. In a revolutionary step, all these pieces are designed to be interchangeable between genders.

toumazos charalambousTOMMAZO’s commitment to ethical fashion and sustainability is also at the heart of its philosophy. “Fashion should be a force for good, a medium that respects both our heritage and our planet,” Charalambous said. This ethos resonates deeply in an era where consumers seek brands that align with their values.

As TOMMAZO looks to the future, Charalambous envisions a brand that continues to break conventions and redefine fashion narratives. “Our journey is about pushing boundaries, about creating a symphony of style and substance.”

As the year came to an end, TOMMAZO invited style enthusiasts to its six-year anniversary celebration and THE HOLIDAY SHOP, a pop-up held in Larnaca during December. Visitors enjoyed shopping the current winter collection and also explored an exclusive preview of the Spring-Summer 2024 line. “We are excitedly working on the upcoming Spring-Summer collection and wanted to give a small hint of what’s to come. I can’t wait for next year’s vibe to unfold,” Charalambous said.

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