Updated: Aug 31
Tsemberi Fashion Project is the first fashion sustainability project in Cyprus, with a strong focus on Cypriot heritage. The project is a collaboration with the Royal Commonwealth Society and Clarion Futures in the UK as well as Fashion Revolution Cyprus.
Both Founders, Christina Dymiotis and Anastasia Philippou were members of the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Programme between Cyprus and the UK, which was launched by the Royal Commonwealth Society and Clarion Futures. The programme called on young leaders to develop a social action project that would benefit their local community. Henceforth, Tsemberi’s founders identified two key issues in Cypriot society. The lack of education on sustainability (especially fashion sustainability) and the lack of opportunities for young people in the arts/fashion sector. As a result, they developed the idea for the Tsemberi Fashion Project.
The Tsemberi Fashion Project team consists of 23 young Cypriots living both in Cyprus, the UK and the Netherlands working remotely in different departments from marketing, and coordination to event planning. The project has two main aims:
To promote elements of fashion sustainability and circular fashion by introducing to our community alternative/greener ways to purchase and treat clothes.
To provide opportunities to young Cypriots from all communities to work collaboratively and to promote their work through exhibitions, social media campaigns and short films.
Fashion sustainability and circular economy has always been a significant aspect of Cypriot heritage. However, over the years this notion started to fade away in Cyprus due to various social and economical reasons. Nonetheless, here at Tsemberi Fashion Project, we want to re-introduce this notion back into people’s lives, with the goal of minimising clothing waste, which has a negative impact on our environment. We believe that by connecting the notion of fashion sustainability with Cypriot heritage, which is deeply embedded within every Cypriot’s identity, we will enable them to familiarize themselves with the concept more efficiently. It will give them the opportunity to reflect and rethink their current purchasing habits (and in general the way they treat their clothes), and to give space for the adaptation of fashion sustainability tactics.
The question is simple "If our ancestors were sustainable, why can’t we be too?"
Hence, through our fashion exhibitions, we strive to keep this sustainability legacy alive by exploring the beauty and uniqueness of Cypriot fashion heritage.
It is no secret that in Cyprus young people in the arts sector, including fashion designers do not have many job opportunities. Accordingly, Tsemberi Fashion Projects works as a platform for young Cypriot fashion designers to showcase their work via social media campaigns, short videos and exhibitions, where they will be able to network with industry professionals. It is important to highlight that during their participation in the project, fashion designers, had the opportunity to attend meetings with local Cypriot sustainable fashion designers, as well as in-person fashion workshops and also had their work shared with the global fashion network, the Commonwealth Fashion Council. Overall, we strive to help young Cypriot fashion designers to grow as fashion designers and gain some exposure both on a local and global level.
The final step of the project concluded with a fashion exhibition that took place in Nicosia on the 7-8 May 2022. At the exhibition the designers showcased their zero-waste and sustainable fashion designs inspired by Cypriot heritage. We were very honoured to have had the presence and support of members of the Royal Commonwealth Society and Clarion Futures. The exhibition was a massive success and was covered both in online and offline media. The project continues through the Fashion Heritage Network Cyprus which is led by Christina Dymiotis.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Christina Dymiotis is a Sheffield based Social Entrepreneur and Marketing professional. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Cyprus and an MSc in Marketing Management from the University of Sheffield. Moreover, she’s an active member of the Greek and Cypriot diaspora community in the UK and a fashion sustainability activist.
Tsemberi Fashion Project continues through the Fashion Heritage Network Cyprus which is led by Christina Dymiotis.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.