Tatiana Raftis is a Greek-Cypriot fashion designer whose work reflects that old traditional Greek style with all the elements of modern design.
Raftis took to the art of dressmaking as she learned it firsthand from her giagia. She comes from a family who has a long line of tailors on both her mother and father's sides of the family.
Her great grandmother, Maria, on her father's side, lived in Athienou, a village in Cyprus, and was the youngest tailor in the village. She also recalls her grandmother, Panayiota, who tailored suits with a perfect fit and finished all her items off with every detail in place. The profession has run in her family for generations and is a natural talent which Raftis picked up on throughout her lifetime.
From the time that she was a young girl, she already started making clothes for her dolls using scrap pieces of material which her mother gave her. When she was nine years old, she began creating jewelry pieces using beads. Raftis said that she would spend hours thinking of new techniques to make necklaces and earrings, as well as rings and other items of jewelry.
Although her parents immigrated from Cyprus, she was born in New York and feels that she has the best of both worlds. Living in New York, she has the opportunities and exposure to an urban lifestyle, while still being firmly connected and inspired by her Greek background. She loves the classical Mediterranean style and brings it across in many of her designs by adding a modern touch in keeping with fashion trends.
Raftis believes that the passion one puts into your work is what makes a great designer. She admits that it is also essential for a designer to understand the female form and know how to create a garment step by step. She, herself, knows all about the curves on a Greek women's body but feels that every woman is gorgeous, whether she is full-figured or petite. Her designs aim to cater for women of all shapes and sizes, whether too short or too tall, designs for the curvaceous women and delicate designs for petite women as well.
Being a small woman herself, she has often found it difficult to buy clothing that she hasn't had to alter. Taking this into consideration, she has created a line for petite women so that there is no longer a need for them to keep trying on different items until they find one that fits.
Raftis says, "I design because it's a passion of mine and create things just like any type of artist," she says. "I do try to create my designs to flatter all body types."
Her designs have featured in the Greek Fashion Week along with other Greek designers, and she continues to create new collections for each season, as her career progresses.