Zama Athens Zips Buttons

ZAMA, romance re-born in Athens

A romantic and elegant specialty store in Athens offers timeless adornments that will elevate your mood and wardrobe

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Zama Athens Zips Buttons

Floor to ceiling shelves of colourful embellishments at zama. Photograph: Why Athens

Family run businesses have for decades been a vital part of the social fabric of Athens. The city’s history as a mercantile centre runs deep and if you wander around the area surrounding Agias Irinis Square (close to Monastiraki) or along Perikleous St near Syntagma, you’ll find the evidence of a once thriving textile precinct with fabric and haberdashery stores scattered throughout. Around central Athens, shoe stores, take away food outlets and souvenir shops are a dime a dozen, but it’s the authentic, unique businesses and workshops that speak to the city’s historic heart that I’m always hoping to find. Most are hidden in lonely back lanes that survive on word of mouth and reputation, built over many decades.

Zama was one of those hidden gems that appeared so unexpectedly one afternoon. Their beautiful window display was what caught my attention as I roamed around the old market district of Athens. On a quiet street with not much else going on, Zama will lure you inside with their romantic lacy collars, frilly cuffs, statement buttons and zippers. It is the place of endless possibility and creativity, a haven to channel your inner craftsman and transform your wardrobe into the haute couture pieces that most of us can only dream of.

Fashion enthusiasts will be drooling, I certainly was. I felt like I had been magically transported to the Maison Esage in Paris. It wasn’t until the very friendly sales assistant spoke to me in Greek that I realised this was a very real Athenian store. The shop was buzzing with clientele, regular customers were welcomed on a first name basis, coffees were being made and no one was in a rush. It is a place that filled me with joy, not only because it was adorned from floor to ceiling with glamorous beads and beautiful threads but because specialty stores like this still exist in a city that has been doing it so tough.

  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsLace frill and beading with matching zipper. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsZama's window display will lure you inside. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsZippers are the latest fashion trend and you'll find an extensive collection at Zama. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsZama is more like a gallery of inspiration. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsTassels, flowers, collars and cuffs. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsMore is more. Adornments that bring a new dimension to accessorising. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsWalls and walls of colour with endless possibilities. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsLots of drama with flowery appliqués. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsAccessorising with feathers and rosettes. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsGilded mirrors and ornate decor throughout the store sets the Parisian tone. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsA bust of embellishments and statement pieces. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsBows, lace and elegant buttons. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsThe workshop above the showroom prepares metres of zippers in every colour, shape and size. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsThe production manager is on hand for quality control. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsAll the basic tailoring materials. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsWhat else but glamorous thimbles. Photograph: Why Athens
  • Zama Athens Zips ButtonsThreads in a rainbow of colours. Photograph: Why Athens

Established in 1957 by Zaharias Vasilopoulos, Zama was the first business in Greece to import zippers and quickly became renowned as the place to go for all tailoring related materials.

Zama Athens Zips Buttons

Zama owner Michael Gerotherodoros. Photograph: Why Athens

Today, they produce all kinds of zippers in their workshop above their store and stock an impressive collection of ready-made zippers from the best brands in the business. (Lampo, Tom Ford, Raccagni among others).

Michael Gerotherodoros took over the business in 1994 and has since introduced a full range of sewing materials and fashion forward accessories that have upheld Zama’s heritage and reputation as the best haberdashery store in Athens. The recent global movement away from outright commercialism and mass production, to the desire to get back to basics through handmade crafts could also be helping spur things along.

From the elegant to eccentric, anyone with the most rudimentary sewing skills (like me) will find something to transform a blouse or jacket into a perfectly poetic fashion statement with bejewelled collars or glittery beads.

Zama is another of the city’s many hidden charms, that brings a little elegance and beauty to the grittiness of Athens. I am so glad to have discovered it, to be able to share it with all of you.

 

*This post was not sponsored in any way and as always, all opinions are our own.

  • Coming from a “sewing family” I love this old part of Athens. Its a ritual everytime I am in Athens to take my time through this old area and seek out some of the few remaining treasures. This is a favourite. I also love the fabric shops in Kalamioutou.
    Thank you for writing about a part of Athens most tourists never see or if they do they walk by as quickly as possible.

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