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Petros Kaminiotis, 24 years old today studying in the Department of Marketing and Communication at the Athens University of Economics and Business, has a great love: popular culture and tradition in all possible forms. He became famous all over the world, dressing Playmobil in traditional costumes and skirts!
By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexandros Theodoropoulos
This interest has its roots in his childhood and, as he says, it started as a question, seeing his great-grandmother wearing her traditional costume every day: “In my eyes it all seemed very strange and every time, all I asked her was how she doesn’t get warm when she wears heavy woolen clothes in the summer. Her answer was simply that this is how she learned to dress all her life; an answer that I understood much later".
This was followed by his participation in traditional dance groups, which may initially have been an opportunity to make friends, travel and participate in performances, but in depth, for sure, there was something that fascinated him a lot and still fascinates him. Maybe that was the rich popular culture of a small country like Greece, where each village has got its own tradition which many times can be very different from that of even the neighboring village. This is also reflected in traditional costumes.
"There is so much rigor but at the same time so much freedom. That is, the types of costume of an area can be very specific, for instance for the teenage girl, the engaged, the bride, etc., but every girl had the freedom to show her personal taste through this outfit ", says Petros.
Many people love tradition, but Petros does something that sets him apart. From a young age his favourite toys were Playmobils - and still are. So, at the age of 5, he decided to turn pirates and knights into traditional dancers. In the beginning, the conversion was done with small pieces of napkins roughly glued together.
Then another idea was born, which much later was called PlaymoGreek. He slowly gathered information, until the age of 18, when he tried to make some costumes that would capture the authentic ones with full fidelity. The process that followed was quite long and time consuming, but in this way he felt that he was creating his own, personal collection on something he loves.
After all, tradition is something continuous, which doesn’t stop. "We are all part of the tradition, although the meaning has changed with the years. It is encouraging that more and more young people are interested in exploring popular culture, either by participating in dance groups, or by going to parties and festivals, or by capturing traditional designs on clothes and objects," says Petros Kaminiotis, who has managed to attract with the "Children's toy" the interest of collectors from Greece but also from the international arena.
"When this idea started, I hadn’t imagined it would resonate. The big surprise came after the first article for an online magazine and I finally made sure of the interest of museums, institutions and organisations for exhibitions, but also of the attendance of people at them. There is no greater reward than to see young children standing and fooling around with your work. Because this is the main goal of the project: to bring the younger ages in touch with tradition through a more creative and modern way. In the future, I want to expand the collection and to include costumes from most regions of Greece but also foreign countries, so that a comparison can be made and we can see the differences but mainly the similarities that, believe me, are many", he concludes.