An art of living good. This short sentence summarises the motivations and goals behind Escape Karma, an online lifestyle magazine established by Eleni Kadigkou. Whether it is wellness, art or fashion, the brand approaches it with inspiring positivity and authenticity. Meet the author of this unique practice of finding art in everyday life.
Please introduce yourself. Tell us why you decided to create Escape Karma.
My name is Eleni Kadigkou. I was studying Mechanical Engineering, but once I realised it wasn't meant for me, I dropped out of university. I’m a certified sommelier, and currently, I’m studying for WSET3 certification. I always had an artistic tendency, and the idea of creating an online magazine is something I was craving for years. During the first lockdown, we did the first steps with my collaborator and photographer and then, in November 2020, we had it ready. We designed everything on our own from scratch. As cousins and we share the same vision for the world. My intention is to offer our authentic and unique perspective through our photographs and ideas, approach art and the rest of the categories with my personal style.
What quote do you live by?
‘Yet there's no one to beat you
No one t' defeat you
'Cept the thoughts of yourself feeling bad’. It’s a piece of Bob Dylan’s To Ramona song.
What has been the highest and lowest point on your journey so far?
Well, my highest point isn’t just one huge success, I’m in the beginning, so the warm welcome, the feedback, the messages I receive every day, the few collaborations I did, the acceptance some of my articles received from people that I appreciate for their professional background, and last but not least - your kind of proposal to be interviewed, which is my first one, these are the things among my personal highlights. On the other side, my lowest was when I faced a technical problem with my website. It’s bilingual, and my platform's support couldn't help me, so I had to figure out everything on my own and make it work.
I had some hard days, but eventually, I accomplished it, which helped me engage even more with my project.
When there are setbacks, how do you continue to stay motivated?
Never forget why you started! I try to keep the big picture on the frame to continue. And music! Music is vital to me. It's from where I draw inspiration and strength. I dance to it when I need to release my energy, but I also find calmness with it.
Describe a typical day in your life.
I’m not the kind of person with a routine, but I try to have a program. That means that I adjust to the demands of each day. Some days I wake up around 9, sometimes later when I work till late at night. If the weather is good, I will wake up and go running to the stadium close to my house. Otherwise, I would have an indoor workout that varies from yoga, cardio, ballet exercises, etc. Due to the pandemic, I left Athens and came to the countryside to live with my parents, but I prepare my own meals because I follow a specific and healthy diet. Breakfast is essential to me. Then I have to check my e-mails, do some research and prepare new articles. If I’m with my photographer, things are more creative, we have photoshoots all day. We will find a concept together, we do the styling, the make-up, the hair, we decide the location, then we do the final selection and the edit. When we’re apart, we have video calls during the day to do some brainstorming and plan our next steps. Panagiotis Kadigkos is an inextricable part of Escape Karma and of my life too. During the day, I also study for my sommelier certification and for my upcoming exams. They are quite demanding, while at the same time, I have to do wine tasting and keep notes. I also run my social media campaign and have to prepare new stuff or create videos to upload, plus I have to answer all the messages I receive daily, which takes a lot of time and energy, but it's a part of the process.
Where do you see yourself and your lifestyle magazine in five years?
Not in Greece! I want to expand my online magazine, build my team and have an international impact. My future plan is to move out. I would love to live and work between Paris and the US, preferably Los Angeles or New York. My ultimate goal is E.K. to be a reference point when it comes to art or to what we call an alternative magazine.
If you could give one piece of advice to our readers, what would it be?
Stay authentic and true to yourself and try not to be stubborn at the same time. Being adaptable to change is essential to survive. Modify things that don’t work for you without having to sacrifice your beliefs. Live and manifest your uniqueness. Humanity needs your individuality.
Who is your style icon?
Daphne Guinness, definitely. There is no other woman wearing Iris Van Herpen, Alexander McQueen or Gareth Pugh with such grace and an imposing attitude. However, style is not only a fashion-related matter but a way of living and thinking. I love Daphne’s music, her vision of the world, philosophical and political point of view. But before her, there was another woman who influenced me, Marchesa Luisa Casati.
How do you define success?
My definition of success is to feel satisfied with things you are dealing with every day and being useful for humanity at the same time. Money and fame are only a part of it. They’re not the most important. To leave my mark and a body of work worthy of being mentioned is more valuable.
What is the part of your life experience you would alter if you had the chance to?
If you asked me two or more years earlier, I would say my studies and the ‘aimless’ wandering I experienced. Today, with my current mindset, I wouldn't change a thing. My personality and temperament are the results of all my past experiences and my decision to launch Escape Karma. They happened at the right time as I felt my own existence is complete.
Website: ESCAPE KARMA
And check out the official profiles:
@ELENIKADIGKOU [Personal Instagram]
@ESCAPE_KARMA [Professional Instagram]
Don't miss out on Panagiotis’ photographs: @PANAGIOTISKADIGKOS