Marianna Kritsioti graduated from MA Fashion Design Management at London College of Fashion in 2016.
She has since gone on to become the co-owner and production manager of Costantino Bridal wear. In addition, she worked as costume designer for the movie ‘Ouzeri Tsitsanis’ where she was in charge of the costume design team.
We caught up with Marianna to learn more about her journey so far and her hopes for the future.
What made you decide to come to London and study at London College of Fashion?
London College of Fashion is one of the most prestigious and renowned fashion universities in the world. I wanted to get the best education and preparation possible to give me a good foundation to build a career on. After studying Textiles, Design and Pattern the next step for my education was to learn how to manage my business, and the MA in Fashion Design Management had everything I was hoping for, which is why I applied.
Was there a particular module that you found particularly exciting, that has since been beneficial to your career?
For me learning how to do research in depth, learning how to analyse all the different markets and trying to find the best and most efficient way to penetrate them, has changed my point of view, and really opened my horizons on how I am going to fulfil my goal, which is expanding my business abroad.
Can you tell us more about the Costantino Bridal wear company that you run with your sister?
Costantino was established in 1989, in Athens, Greece. It was founded by my mother, the designer Kalliope Perraki. It is a family business which has 16 employees. At the beginning the firm was purely in retail but in 1996 the wholesale production began, when the owner decided to expand beyond Athens and realised that the production was strong enough to undertake the bulk of the work. At the moment Costantino is the top wholesaler of bridal wear in Greece and it is very well known. I have worked for this company ever since I can remember, and I am really happy that I have the opportunity to take it one step further in the future along with my sister.
Where do you look for inspiration?
The three of us are very different designers, and each one of us has a very different background and insight on how a wedding dress should look. Me and my sister, being more modern, are looking for inspiration in our everyday life. We like to work with more sustainable fabrics, that are more soft and light, and our designs are more transparent, light and simple.
After undertaking the course, you re-branded your company Costantino Bridal wear. Can you tell us more about these changes?
After undertaking my course at LCF I learned a lot about branding and marketing. The first thing that had to be done was to redesign our website, as it was only in Greek so we added an English version in order to be able to attract foreign customers. We also tried to make it more consumer-friendly. We added the sense of heritage to our brand, something that we didn’t have until now, and we also started creating a sustainable line that will come out in 2018. Moreover, we became more active on social media and we started making campaigns that promote our heritage and also reveal the entrance of me and my sister to the brand. As a result the visitors to our website and to our store have increased substantially.
What’s been the greatest achievement of your career so far?
I think that so far, a year after I finished my MA, I consider that all these small changes in my company are a big achievement as they will lead to the big change that we are aiming for, which is expanding our wholesale distribution abroad over the next few years.
Where do you see your company in 5 years?
Our aim is to expand our wholesale distribution in at least one country abroad. I developed the entry strategy plan when writing my dissertation, and now I am implementing the necessary changes that need to be made for Costantino to be able to enter a foreign market.
Any advice for the next generation of LCF students?
Try to learn as much as you can from your professors and your classmates, and also try to manage your time correctly as it will be hard! Don’t forget to also have fun and explore London while you are there! Let this experience be the beginning of a new adventure.