Profile – Young Leaders’ Series
Interview with Despina Kotsis
By Aphrodite Kotrotsios, Publisher
Despina Kotsis is a young entrepreneur from Brooklyn that is in the fashion business. Her unique street line wear has attracted thousands, even actress and screenwriter, Nia Vardalos. Kotsis admits that her journey hasn’t been easy, but she wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. Here is her story of how she started MINX NYC. Aphrodite Kotrotsios (AK): Where were you born and raised?
Despina Kotsis (DK): I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.
AK: What is your educational background?
DK: I am currently studying at St. John’s University towards my Bachelor’s degree in education.
AK: Where are your roots in Greece?
DK: My roots are from Thessaloniki, Chalkidiki, and Euboea.
AK: How did MINX NYC come to be?
DK: I always loved fashion ever since I was little. I would always sketch and color my own outfits when I was younger. When I was around 12, I asked for my own sewing machine but I had no idea how to use it. I kinda thought this meant my fashion dream was over but I don’t like giving up so easily. Around my senior year of high school, I couldn’t believe how fast the time had gone by and that I was actually going to start college next year. I noticed that streetwear was becoming really popular and that since I couldn’t use a sewing machine, I thought of why not taking apart in a streetwear line. I really wanted to follow my dream which was becoming a fashion designer, and I realized I have the best opportunity because I am young.
AK: How would you define your brand?
DK: I would define my brand as a New York City-inspired streetwear line. My designs are inspired by New York City and it’s people. Minx New York isn’t only a fashion, but art. The symbol of Minx New York is the pigeon. I want this line to also give a message to the people something that a lot of clothing lines don’t do. I wanted to give meaning behind this company. I choose the Pigeon as the symbol for Minx New York because in New York Pigeons are seen everywhere. We as people like to have fun & scare the birds when they have not done anything to harm us! Even though we are much bigger than the little guys, they have the power to spread their wings & fly wherever they want in this great big world. I want people to realize that we are all like the pigeon and all have our own set of wings and if we spread them, we are able to live a life full of endless opportunity. Life really is short and people have to live it to the fullest.
AK: What was your inspiration in creating your own line? What inspires your creations?
DK: The inspiration for creating my own line was New York City. Every time I would go to New York City I felt a love that would only grow stronger. I loved the city lights, the art, and the diversity of people and different cultures and traditions I would notice that came from them. What inspires me to create my creations are the city skyline, colors, people, and even my own emotions. The best inspiration is when you get to visit a new place and take in the art, culture, and people.
This 2020 collection was really special to me because I also wanted to incorporate some Greek influence into the designs — I got to visit Greece for the first time this year and it really impacted my life. I got extremely inspired me to create some of my designs for this collection while visiting the motherland!
AK: How does it feel to be a young entrepreneur?
DK: Being a young entrepreneur is awesome because you have the advantage of being young. In the fashion industry, there aren’t many young designers so this does give me the advantage to stand out and show what ideas I have but I also know I have a lot to learn. I have made mistakes in this business and will continue too, but that is the beauty of being a young entrepreneur. You also get to learn about others who have experience and knowledge they would like to share with me where I can take in and learn from them.
AK: What is your greatest accomplishment?
DK: My greatest accomplishment has been getting my product out to the public at an early age and getting acknowledged for my work by so many celebrities and magazines. I have been really lucky with social media because it has allowed me to share my line and its story with the world and connect with others. I do this thing I started called worldwide plugs when I started traveling to Europe with my school this year. I wanted to involve other places from around the world with Minx New York. I would make little videos at the country I visited showcasing my designs while also capturing the countries’ beauty and culture. We live in a beautiful world and I love visiting new places and meeting new people so I think this was an awesome idea I had to not only connect Minx New York through fashion but also with the world and its people. There’s no specific look to be a model. Everyone is beautiful. Everyone can be a model.
AK: What makes your brand stand out?
DK: What makes my brand stand out are the designs I create because each one is so vibrant and just so unique. I wanted my line to be different among other streetwear lines that usually just consist of a logo. That is not Minx New York. My clothes can be seen not only as fashion but as art. You could see it painted on a canvas, or on a jacket. Each design has a specific meaning. I work very hard for what I create because want my line to stand out. Basic is boring, I did not want my line to have the vibe of any other streetwear lines.
AK: Have you faced any obstacles and how did you overcome them?
DK: I have faced multiple obstacles in this business but one of the biggest obstacles I have faced is thinking of new designs. Sometimes I get nervous when I haven’t thought of a design in a while but that is the beauty of inspiration. I overcome this because I realize that I have to get an idea that naturally flows and that is from inspiration. I try to go out and look at the world and what’s going on. You need to get inspired. You can’t rush the process.
AK: How has your Hellenic heritage guided you to get to where you are today?
DK: I am a very proud Greek and I am always inspired to tap into my roots when it comes to my designs. I have been extremely blessed to have so much support from the Greek community, and I am very proud to be representing Greece.
AK: What do you think about the future of Hellenism in America?
DK: The future of Hellenism will continue to flourish as the proud youth carry their heritage proudly wherever they go.
AK: How are you involved with your Greek American community?
DK: I have been involved in my Greek American community ever since I was born. I have been apart of my church Holy Cross Brooklyn. I have gone to it’s awesome Greek Festivals every year as well as volunteered. I also went to Greek School like every other Greek kid and even though I did not want to go, I made some of the best memories in Greek School. I have been apart of Joy and Goya as well and played on the basketball teams that would play against other Greek churches. I try to be involved as much as I can with my Greek community because it not only makes me feel better connected with my roots as a Greek, but I also have the opportunity of meeting a lot of other awesome greeks who we share a lot of interests with which I love.
AK: What is your one piece of advice to young aspiring professionals?
DK: One piece of advice I can give to young aspiring professionals is to believe in themselves and their vision. Do not listen to what other people are going to say about you or what you are doing. If you are happy and believe in something, then you can do it. You need to think positive no matter how many mistakes you have made or how difficult something maybe. You got to stay away from the negativity and don’t let it affect you. Always think positive as well as you wanting to be unique and different from everyone else.
AK: Where can people learn more about your brand?
DK: People can find my brand on my website MINXNEWYORK.COM.
Instagram @MINXNEWYORK. My personal instagram is @DESKOTS.
AK: When are you launching your next line?
DK: I just came out with this collection for 2020, so I honestly don’t know when I am launching my next line. I am not in a rush because like I said I need to get inspired, so I am excited about what the year 2020 will bring!