For a long time, Athenians played it safe when it came to fashion. Now, you can see a new spirit of sartorial expression and experimentation emerging on the streets of Athens. Leading the charge are local designers creating unconventional and one-off pieces, and on-the-pulse label curators who are confidently blurring genders and mining different decades.
These arbiters of Athens street style are more than just shops. They’re places where conversation and commerce meet. You can drop in for a speedy browse and find yourself staying for a coffee and a chat, or listening to underground dance tracks until well after midnight. Far from being “too cool for school"—like you might encounter in other big cities—Athens’ urban style vendors are usually only too happy to riff about their wares or share their city secrets. (You might even get invited to a spontaneous social gathering). Here are some great places to start shopping.
Signature look: One-of-a-kind trucker caps for an instant dash of street-cred or a novel souvenir from Athens.
What’s the story: There’s nothing old hat about the exclusive creations of artist George Tromaras. From his wafer thin shop-cum-studio on Perikleous Street—tucked next to an equally small shop selling hand-made jewels—he paints bold urban artworks by hand on cotton or suede caps. George, who resembles a cross between biker and celebrity chef, is inspired by everything. Conversations with friends, a movie he’s just seen, or an Athenian street tableau. His customised and washable creations are a hit with a high-profile crowd (local sports stars are among his regular customers and he just made a Joaquin Phoenix Joker hat for a famous Greek actor). Choose anything from skulls to sunflowers or Greek icons like Maria Callas. Or customise your own design from your favourite Athens holiday snap or much-loved motto. In summer, there’s a waiting list of about three weeks; otherwise, it’s around 10 days. You can order from George on Facebook or Instagram and he’ll have your hat ready when you come to Athens. Or visit the shop during your stay and he’ll ship your hat back to you. “One of my greatest thrills is seeing a design I’ve made walking down the street towards me,” says George. “Athens often feels like a small village.”
Price tag: €25-60
Signature look: Witty, modified vintage and affordable threads with underground attitude—for people whose passion is music and fashion.
What’s the story: A new word of mouth hit on the Athens streetwear scene, this fresh little space in Psirri, a few doors down from edgy hangout Handlebar, has big energy. Label scout Panayiotis Vaxevanakis has rounded up a cool crew of small Greek and European designers and champions them on two black racks in a narrow shop that’s half showroom, half urban hangout. Most of the pieces are pocket-friendly and personality rich. Score clubby garments by Berlin brand No Shade and We Buy Gold (from the UK) and PVC raincoats by Foresight (a steal at €40). We found a great vintage men’s shirt updated with an ironic old-school Nokia phone graphic and saucy nude mesh bodysuits with kitsch prints, a collaboration with Greek designer Liana Mavronanou. Panayiotis moonlights as a music producer and has an underground electronic label, Asty Tekk. No surprise then that impromptu pavement parties often erupt on this buzzy, graffiti-strewn strip, with Panayiotis spinning vinyl in-store until 1am. “My concept is to connect the rave subculture of Athens to the street subculture of Athens,” he says.
Price tag: €10-100
Signature look: Deconstructed designs and sculptural statements for women who walk their own path (and have a penchant for black).
What’s the story: Since debuting in 2017, the monochrome designs of Athens-based duo Stella Panagopoulou and Valisia Gotsi have become something of a fetish among the city’s fashion and art pack. Edgy and intellectual, 2WO+1NE=2’s unconventional collections draw inspiration from world literature, architecture, cinema and travel. Each range anoints a different city as muse. Whether they’re diving into 1940s Hollywood film noir or Czech cubism, the garments manage to be both androgynous and sultry. Defined by sharp, geometric tailoring and made with naturally-dyed linens, cottons, wool and banana silks, you’d think their stuff would cost a bomb, but it’s surprisingly reasonable. They’ll even custom-fit garments (from any collection) to you personally in their welcoming Athens atelier on Akadimias Street and have it ready in a few days. Should you tire of your purchase—or wear it out—give it back to them and Stella will refashion something new out of it just for you. “We are definitely seeing a shift in Athens towards sustainability,” she says.
Price tag: €100-300
Signature look: Organic, custom made and one-of-a-kind, versatile designs with no a-gender.
What’s the story: This compact clothes store on Proklou Street switched up the local landscape when it landed amid the car repair shops and accounting offices in the summer of 2019. Kitted out with a mezzanine atelier, Kleopatra Kioulpekian and Dimitris Paraskevopoulos’ shared vision is to side-step mass production as much as possible and provide customised fits on-site. “There aren’t two pieces alike in our collections,” says Kleopatra. “Every item is designed and tailored according to our customer’s needs or our themed lines.” Paradi’s fashion focus shifts with each season; recently they’ve leaned into everything from vibrant Brazil and African patterns, to playful geometrical motifs and a gorgeous line inspired by Japanese imagery (drop in on their Instagram to see what you’re missing).
If you plan to be in town for a few days, you can contact Paradi beforehand and arrange a couple of fitting visits before walking away with your new, custom made apparel as the ultimate Athenian style souvenir. That favourite sweater of yours that’s well past its best but you can’t bear to part with? You can get it remade here, even with a fabric of your own choice. As long as it’s not polyester, since ethical and sustainable fashion is key here.
Price tag: €90-420
Review by Paul Pervanas
Signature look: Limited edition, exclusive and collectible sneakers at Greece’s first re-sell store.
What’s the story: Aftermath opened in Athens in late December 2021, but was conceived much earlier. Owner Nikos Lambrianos spent 48 hours outside Off-White’s store in Mykonos back in 2016 to get his hands on one of his first exclusive sneaker coups: the light blue Nike X Off-White Air Jordan 1, designed by the late Virgil Abloh. They now sit proudly in a case inside his minimally decorated store in downtown Athens. “I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to make this happen,” says the 19-year-old (yep) entrepreneur as he recounts missed late-teen mischiefs. The gamble, however, has paid off. Aftermath is now the go-to boutique for local and international basketball players, tv stars, models and actors who preach the sneaker culture dogma.
Aftermath sells strictly unused, sought-after sneakers, snapped up from around the world, both physically or online, at competitive prices. They’ve also dropped their very first limited collection Aftermath hoodie, with more to follow. “Don’t expect us to match online prices by major players, that’s not fair game for us. But we do keep our prices close to those of every brick and mortar re-sell store in Europe,” says Nikos. But first. Some rules of engagement if you plan on hitting Aftermath: set your sights on a couple of pairs only and try them on gently. Product condition is everything here - much like vinyl records. Have a specific model in mind? Ask away, they might be able to track it down.
Price tag: starting at €160
Review by Paul Pervanas
Signature look: My t-shirt is way cooler than yours.
What’s the story: When graphic designer and Athenian architecture buff Nikos Mainaris dreamt up a disruptive t-shirt line back in 2005, the result was Koukoutsi. Tired of the stale offerings after the Athens 2004 Olympics, Nikos and business partner Tasos Tzalazidis decided it was time to shake things up. The result: a collection of souvenir t-shirts that people are actually happy to receive. Made from organic cotton or feather-soft bamboo silk, their witty tees capture the essence of contemporary Athens. Particularly popular are urban snapshots, like an Athenian rooftop with a washing line and TV aerial, and arty renderings of Greek myths like Sisyphus with his boulder. Koukoutsi enjoyed a moment on the local street scene during the financial crisis thanks to their Ich bin Ein Athener t-shirts and Athens needs love totes. Their main game is still tees (check out their striking new Divine Bodies range); but they also do jewellery inspired by Greek myths and motifs (we love the Greek coffee earrings) and minimalist prints of architectural landmarks, such as the Rex Theatre and Athens Conservatory. You can also pick up one of Nikos’ one-off collages of his favourite Athens street art, which he mounts on aluminium, ready to hang. “Greece has been a very conservative country,” he says, “but when everything collapsed, we had to express ourselves in different ways.”
Price tag: €29-59
Signature look: Black is king. Whether it’s ironic “tourist” tees, shiny smocks, or monkish unisex robes (preferably all worn simultaneously).
What’s the story: “I haven’t worn colour for about ten years,” says graphic designer Michalis Baboussis, the creative force behind He-m-n-oid, an “anthropological fashion label” that seeks to experiment with gender expression through clothes.
Michalis’ tiny, monochrome boutique is little more than a walk-in wardrobe, with a long drop of silver lamé to change behind. But it anchors the progressive mood of Psirri stoa, a quirky arcade with colourful ribbons and paper lanterns hanging above old-school coffee shops, hip cocktail bars and vintage boutiques. This kindred community of independent retailers, just off touristy Iroon Square, is helping to shape the new fashion narrative of Athens.
“We are like a family; we all have the same spirit,” says Michalis. “If you have a vision, you can do many things from a very small space.”
Michalis mixes up casual street looks—like his culty “tourist” t-shirt—with more formal fabrics like organza (he sourced last season’s remains from neighbourhood fabric suppliers) to make his androgynous, one-of-a-kind ensembles. Fans of He-m-noid include art students, photographers and DJs from Athens’ electronic music scene. “And free-minded tourists who want to feel like locals,” he adds.
Price tag: €25 (tees); collection €50-100.
Ode to Socks
Signature look: Life’s too short to wear boring white socks.
What’s the story: Psirri arcade entrepreneur Xenia Vanikioti clearly lives by the Danish hygge credo that happiness can be found in small, pretty things. Her camp and cute fashion socks, emblazoned with emblematic Greek figures like priests and sailors, will add a smile to any outfit. Made from quality Greek cotton and sold in recycled glass jars at her snug Athens showroom inside the Pallados Street arcade, you’ll spot Xenia’s designs on some pretty hip local feet. They’ve also hit the spot with in-the-know tourists, sourcing quirky keepsakes from independent Greek designers. “Fast fashion is out of fashion,” says Xenia, who named her business after a Pablo Neruda poem. She describes her fellow store owners inside the Psirri stoa as “a small city of neighbours and friends who inspire each other”. Especially in-demand is her Greek merman design (you can also take him home on one of her cuddly tees knitted from sock material).
Price tag: €15 (socks) - €70 (knitted tees)
"Sink into a flea market-find leather armchair, framed by pot plants and vintage Alekos Fassianos prints, and enjoy a Greek coffee brewed by their barista."
Signature look: Loose and sassy kit for the forever young and rebellious that pays homage to the brand-aware skate scene. Think oversized graphic tees, revved up Vans sneakers and roomy hoodies.
What’s the story: Go to check out the hot international mix of street-rooted wear at Dangerous Minds’ airy store on Mitropoleos Square and you could be hanging out at a cool friend’s pad. Perhaps John Coltrane will be spinning on the record player while you rifle the range of rare-to-score-in-Greece labels like Nicce, Chinatown Market and Pleasures. Sink into a flea market-find leather armchair, framed by pot plants and vintage Alekos Fassianos prints, and enjoy a Greek coffee brewed by their barista. “We wanted to create the essence of an old Athenian apartment and the aesthetic of 1950s-’60s Plaka,” says Dangerous Minds’ Manos Tziaponis.
This two-storey concept store joins the much smaller, original Dangerous Minds outlet on Kolokotroni Street. Opened in 2016, it has a grittier vibe but also stocks extra premium brands like clubbers’ fave Misbhv, Greek street fashion star Me Then and Vivienne Westwood. At both branches, you can pick up iconic street names like Stussy, Vans Rhude and Fila, along with Dangerous Minds’ own limited-run t-shirts and hoodies. Look out for the edgy swimwear (perfect for sunbathing selfies on Athenian rooftops). The Mitropoleos store also carries hip lifestyle props like Korean face masks, sneaker repair kits, and art-house magazines from London.
Price tag: €39 (one of their own tees) to €500 (a pair of Misbhv trousers)