Valeria Chrampani’s Instagram, @sushiandbaklava, is a time portal back into the all-excess fashion of the early ’00s. The 24-year-old Greek’s personality seems plucked out of some Spice Girls fan club. Her style has all of the signatures of a whirlwind Y2K nostalgia lover: Her lipliner is dark and defined, perfectly neat with Michelangelo-worthy precision. Sometimes she wears her hair slicked down with two bleached, razor-sharp tendrils curving inwards. Her clothing is also evocative of the era: Chrampani has an affinity for monogrammed shoulder bags, orange-tinted and rimless sunglasses, low-slung denim, and all things blingy. Chrampani’s wardrobe seems like an endless supply of aughts garb, and for good reason: She also runs the Instagram shop @00sgarms, a trove of her secondhand finds from Athens.
According to Chrampani, who divides her time between her home city of Athens and London (where she studies art direction at Middlesex University), Athens is a hotbed for finding off-kilter vintage. “The last four years, outlet stores with vintage and secondhand clothes started opening,” says Chrampani. “Because of the [Greek debt] crisis, people wanted to buy cheap clothes, but for me [wearing] it is a way to express myself. These [clothes] are different and sustainable and can be very rare.”
Chrampani got her start selling clothes on Facebook; her first merchandise came from her mother’s recently cleaned-out closet. Eventually Chrampani began selling on Instagram, trawling for rare vintage finds in Athens and online. Her selection includes over-the-top labels of the ’00s, including Von Dutch, Miss Sixty, and JNCO. (She’s also found a number of Bratz dolls.) On occasion she has discovered a rare designer piece, such as a Dior bag or a pair of Moschino pants.
Like many vintage dealers, Chrampani’s unearthed garb is a reflection of her personal taste. Her style is informed by the music she loves and her native city. “I always listened to hip-hop music from the ’90s and ’00s and watched video clips of P. Diddy,” she says. “My hometown inspired me too. I am always around and looking and taking photographs. In my city they don’t really care about brands and logos.”
Chrampani is also very much inspired by her mother, who studied fashion design in Athens. “She made and collected a lot of clothes when she was younger,” says Chrampani. “I kept her and my grandmother’s clothes. When I compared them to new clothes, I realized that the quality and design were way better.” Chrampani’s Instagram handle, @sushiandbaklava, is also reflective of her style ethos, which is a combination of high and low fashion. The handle itself is a nod to a techno song called “Sushi and Baklava” by Dutch electronic musician Fatima Yamaha. “Sushi is bougie and expensive, and baklava is cheaper and traditional, so I think it is about me,” explains Chrampani. “I am traditional. I love my city, but I live in London. These two differences represent me.”
While Chrampani’s personal style could appear as if it came from anywhere that has a major youth culture, her specific way of dressing is purely Athenian in a contemporary sense. “Growing up in the generation of the economic crisis, we had no job opportunities,” she says. “They tried to make ends meet independently through creative outlets like art, fashion, and music, all with a low budget. I moved to London without forgetting my Greek cultural background and use it as the main point of work.” In fact, living abroad in London has helped her highlight her noughties-dedicated style. “The freedom and creative competition exists there,” she says. “It is very important and exciting to see active creative people because it pushes you to focus and work harder.”