Greek Fashion Designer Sophia Kokosalaki Dead At 46 — What We Know

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How Did Sophia Kokosalaki Die? New Details On Death Of Greek Fashion Designer At 46

Although she was of Greek origin, Sophia Kokosalaki was known for being a groundbreaking London-based fashion designer. Considered a "feminist fashion icon," she proudly challenged fashion norms. So to say her death comes as a shock to the fashion world, at large, is an understatement. How did Sophia Kokosalaki die?

A native of Athens, Greece, Sophia Kokosalaki got her start at the University of Athens, where she studied Greek & English literature, before realizing that fashion was her passion. In 1999, she started her own fashion label, and quickly became the toast of the fashion elite. She was heralded as a groundbreaking designer by the likes of Vogue, Elle, and Harper's Bazaar, but broke into the mainstream when she was commissioned to design dresses for the 2004 Summer Olympics, which were, at that time, hosted in Athens, her hometown. Credited with bringing "a Grecian element" to high fashion, Sophia Kokosalaki was truly in a class all her own. 

Let's look at what we know about her sudden and unfortunate death. 

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1. She designed the new uniforms for Aegean Airlines. 

According to Greek City Times, even though Sophia Kokosalaki's outfits were worn by the likes of Cameron Diaz and Gwyneth Paltrow, one of her most notable accomplishments was her re-design of the Aegean Airlines uniforms in 2015. Even though this move saw her fashion move to a "corporate" level, the outlet reports that it was a great source of pride for her to be able to design outfits for a Greek company. 

2. Sophia Kokosalaki was considered part of the "new wave" of British design talent. 

Harper's Bazaar UK reports that even though Sophia Kokosalaki studied literature in her undergraduate career, she went on to get her MA in womenswear from the acclaimed London college, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. The outlet reports that Kokosalaki trained under the late Professor Louise Wilson, formerly of Donna Karan and Les Copains, and as a result, she was considered part of the "new wave" of British design talent. 

3. She said that she was determined to make it in fashion, no matter the cost. 

"I was ready to abandon my home, my country, my lifestyle, my everything, to get in [to Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design]. I thought my life would end if I didn’t get in. It was either you take me, or I shoot myself!” she told Vogue. The outlet also reports that she first applied to the college when she was 16, but because she had no portfolio or samples, she didn't get in. 

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4. In her prime, Sophia Kokosalaki was heralded for fusing her Greek heritage with high fashion. 

Wallpaper Magazine reports that one of the things that made Sophia Kokosalaki so appealing to the fashion world was her ability to fuse her Greek heritage with high fashion. Rather than make her clothes look "old" and — dare we say — straight off a Hellenic frieze from Ancient Greece, Kokosalaki's fashions were lauded for "expert pleating, the incorporation of ancient mythology and even the tones of the dark Cretan landscape were all part of her vision."

5. More than 7,000 people wore her fashions at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games. 

"Ms. Kokosalaki dressed the more than 7,000 performers and athletes for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games, creating clothes to represent different periods of Greek culture and art. She also designed the uniforms for the Games information attendants and officials," reported The New York Times, who added that Sophia Kokosalaki also worked for high-end fashion brands, including Vionnet, before her own brand was bought out by a division of Diesel in 2007. (She bought back her company two years later.) 

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6. Sophia Kokosalaki died after a brief battle with cancer. 

The Guardian reports that Sophia Kokosalaki died after a brief battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband and a daughter. 

Our thoughts are with Sophia Kokosalaki's family during this difficult time. 

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Bernadette Giacomazzo is an editor, writer, and photographer whose work has appeared in People, Teen Vogue, Us Weekly, The Source, XXL, HipHopDX, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and more. She is also the author of The Uprising series. For more information about Bernadette Giacomazzo, click here.