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Behind the Label | Otrera

In 2004, NYC native and Columbia grad Elle Sakellis left her Wall Street career to pursue what was always her dream?creating her own fashion label, which she named Otrera. After stints designing accessories for big-name brands like Victoria?s Secret, Sakellis realized she wanted to create pieces of her very own, launching an ultra-chic line of whimsically-printed scarves that have been spotted on the likes of Alicia Keys, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Jennifer Lopez.
In 2004, NYC native and Columbia grad Elle Sakellis left her Wall Street career to pursue what was always her dream?creating her own fashion label, which she named Otrera.  After stints designing accessories for big-name brands like Victoria?s Secret, Sakellis realized she wanted to create pieces of her very own, launching an ultra-chic line of whimsically-printed scarves that have been spotted on the likes of Alicia Keys, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Jennifer Lopez. 
 
 
 
 
Otrera?s modern take on beloved ancient symbols like the evil eye and the Hamsa hand are perfect additions to any globetrotter?s wardrobe.  We especially love the label?s Pontillism Scarf, as its soft cashmere blend and eye-catching exotic print add the perfect touch of luxe to our urban black wardrobes. Shop Otrera?s must-have scarves and read more about the world travels that inspired the collection below.
 
What inspired you to create your collection? 
 
The Evil Eye has had such a significant presence not only in my culture, but in my upbringing as well.  It was always worn in the form of a charm or amulet, or even used as an accessory for your home and hung above your front door to keep all things negative outside and away.  The concept of translating this good luck icon into print came to me after an extended vacation in Mykonos, where I passed by a tourist shop and saw all of the amulets hanging on one wall all together.  I thought they looked so beautiful together and it was at that moment that I started working on bringing them to life in print.
 
 
 
 
What does Otrera mean?
 
Otrera was an ancient Greek warrior goddess.  She was known as the mother of an ancient tribe of warrior women called the Amazons.  She was strong, beautiful, a leader, and an inspiration to her tribe.
 
 
 
 
What is unique about your process of production? How do you come up with the prints for your scarves?  
 
The prints come from different things I see and experience in my life.  For example, the Graffiti Evil Eye print came after a stroll down on Bowery Street in New York City, where I passed a wall of amazing graffiti art that I loved and thought was so representative of the city that raised me!  This Pointillism print came from a piece of art that I had seen in a museum which from far away looked like a solid painted canvas, but when I examined it close up, saw that it was dotted and spacious.  I loved it and translated it into this Evil Eye print that you see on the Pointillism Scarf.
 
 
 
 
What is your favorite Otrera piece?
 
It?s by far the original Evil Eye Scarf?it was what we launched into the market with!  It will always hold a special place in my heart as it was what we became known for!  Now of course, when it?s cold outside, my go-to scarf is the Pointillism Scarf, as its cashmere blend is so warm and yummy on the neck!
 
 
 
 
What are your favorite "secrets" about Greece/NYC? 
 
The people in Greece call their Aegean Sea the ?doctor? as there is no ailment that a dip in their waters won?t cure!  Regarding NYC, I can?t say that I have any specific secrets, but my favorite time in the city is in the spring and early summer when the weekends tend to empty out and I can go sit in Central Park with a great book!
 
 
 
 
Who is your Muse? Describe the Otrera girl.
 
You know, I have always found the word ?muse? to be a bit confusing as there is no one woman who I aspire to be like or dress like.  The Otrera girl is strong, independent, makes her own rules, and leads, yet is sympathetic, empathetic and most of all, a woman who always puts good things into the universe knowing that it will all come back in the end?life is fair!
 
Globetrotter Stats
 
Souk or Department Store?  Souk!
DIY or Concierge Service? Concierge
Buy Everything or Buy Nothing? Everything!  A woman must be prepared!
Camping or 5-Star Hotel? 5-Star
Drive or be Driven? Drive!  An adventurous spirit is alluring on a woman!
Room Service or Street Food? Street Food
Lots of Luggage or Carry-on Bag? Luggage!  I have too many beauty products!
 
To shop the Otrera collection, click here!