Sophia Kokosalaki has never gone about things the usual way. Instead, she relies on single-minded individualism. Born in Athens in 1973, Kokosalaki's first love was literature, studying Greek and English at the University of Athens. She came to London in 1996 and completed a womenswear MA at Central Saint Martins. For her graduation show she worked with Abigail Lane to produce the video installation 'Never Never Mind' and her graduate collection was snapped up by the (now defunct) London boutique Pellicano.
Kokosalaki set up her own label in 1999 and quickly established a trademark style, dipping into the rich heritage of Ancient Greek drapery, a '70s folk aesthetic and complex leather-work. It wasn't long before others wanted a piece of the action. In June 1999, Kokosalaki worked on a knitwear line for Joseph. By 2000, after just three solo collections, she was invited to work as a guest designer for Italian leather goods label Ruffo Research. She also entertained the more accessible end of the fashion market, producing two capsule collections for Topshop's TS label.
In 2004, she was chosen to design the costumes for the Athens Olympic Games, the highlight of which was a vast marine-blue dress worn by Bjork. Despite such demanding extracurricular activities, her day job has flourished. A menswear line was set up in 2000 and a shoe collection was added in 2003. The recipient of many awards, Kokosalaki's notable gongs include the first ever Art Foundation Award given to a fashion designer.
Kokosalaki constantly develops her themes, and dedicated fans return every season as she evolves - rather than rethinks - her signatures. Spring/summer 2005 saw ruched pastels for a delicate seaside feel and a somewhat strategic move to the Paris schedule. Both cerebral and fun-loving, Kokosalaki is never complacent.