Since we founded The Pattern Tales back in 2015, Spiros and I have always welcomed collaborations with exciting brands.Our first collaboration was in 2016 with the Italian brand, illy, designing an exclusive pattern for their famous coffee tins. This was followed by a collaboration with the Chicago Design Museum, creating an exclusive poster for their initiative Great Ideas of Humanity.
In 2019, we were approached by Elena Nikolaidou, founder of the premium Greek swimwear brand OdysseyTen, to design four exclusive patterns for her 2020 summer collection.
All OdysseyTen collections are inspired by the epic book of Homer, Odyssey. The most accepted version of this classic poem is a compilation of 24 books.
The OdysseyTen summer collection 2020 was inspired by Book 3.
As with all our patterns, we always start by reading and analysing the content of the book. I had already extensively read this particular book when, four years ago, I designed our first series, Odyssey, dedicated to Homer's classic narrative.
In the case of OdysseyTen, however, I needed to find as many insights as possible about Book 3.
For this reason, Spiros and I read four different translations:
- the original, ancient text by Homer,
- the modern Greek translation by N. Kasanzakis/I. Kakridis,
- the English translation by Samuel Butler and finally,
- the Italian translation of Ippolito Pindemonte.
You can only imagine the richness of the metaphors and representations we gathered through immersing ourselves in these different versions and languages.
We also made more visual research collecting different materials of past and important representation of the Odyssey, both on ancient Greek vases and ceramics, and through the eyes of masters like the German painter, Christoph Amberger, the Venetian, Francesco Hayez, the English Pre-Raphaelites, John William Waterhouse, and the most modern interpretation of Swiss artist, Arnold Böcklin.
At the end of our analysis, we compiled a list of important scenes and their main protagonists, with a list of colours and materials that were mentioned throughout Book 3.
All these elements, with an added dose of creativity, would be used to inspire the design of four different patterns.
The Challenges of Design
Designing for fashionable products is always a challenge.
If you think all you need is an artistic spirit and imagination, think again!
Much thought went into the design of these patterns.
Challenge 1: Colours
You need to be good at predicting what will be trendy one or two years ahead.
I still remember it was winter, so thinking about summer sunshine was almost unimaginable.
As swimwear needs to look good on naked skin, you must also consider skin colours, which is different based not only on race, but also on sun exposure. Colours, therefore, needed to complement a variety of skin tones that we couldn't really sample.
So, we eventually decided to use the book as our compass and pick the colours mentioned in Book 3.
We opted to create a wide variety of tests: a mix of warm colours (green and fuchsia) associated with cooler colours (white and blue), and finally the classic black and white.
Challenge 2: The Material
The material used for the swimwear is mostly Lycra.
It is very elastic, so we needed to keep in mind that the design would transform when worn.
Also, we needed to design the patterns in a way that would minimise the waste of fabric when cut, to fit the design.
Finally, some colours and designs render better on synthetic materials than others, so we needed to run a few more tests on real materials, to decide which combination of colours and patterns would make it to the end.
Challenge 3: The Target
OdysseyTen is a premium Greek brand. However, their target is not restricted to Greek women, as the products are sold also in big resorts and exclusive shops throughout Europe and South Arabia.
OdysseyTen’s core customer group is women aged between 35-45. Most of these women buy more than one item of swimwear, so variation between patterns was extremely important.
Also, they love to wear accessories that match their swimwear. So, most of the patterns were used to create pareos, bags and headbands.
When Elena sent the samples for print proofing, Spiros and I looked at each other and literally said: "May the Greek Gods be with us!"
The Final Designs
As soon as we received the tests, Elena made her final choice of which patterns and colours would make it to the 2020 collection.
With all these considerations (and challenges) in mind, these were the final patterns that we created for the 2020 Collection, and how they were applied on different designs.
The OdysseyTen 2020 collection was successfully launched in February 2020.
The collection can be found on the famous islands of Mykonos, Santorini and Paros, in Athens, and in their flagship store in Glyfada (Athens). They can also be found in prominent resorts and premium fashion shops throughout Europe.
This happy collaboration between The Pattern Tales and OdysseyTen has also seen us presenting designs for the brand’s 2021 summer collection.
So, stay tuned for more beautiful and colourful designs on our website, and OdysseyTen’s webshop.
Do you feel inspired by our patterns?
The Pattern Tales is not simply an artistic project. It’s also a graphic design studio that specialises in surface design and print.
So, if you love beautiful designs that breathe with life and expression, you are absolutely in the right place. We will add a magic story-telling spark to your products, with our ultimate goal being to help make your customers fall head-over-heels in love with them.