Pampoukas was correct in identifying a gap in the market, and during its first 20 years in business, Thedi made huge
strides locally – by 1999, the brand had 200 retail outlets within Greece. They also began to look further afield,
working with companies in the US, including collaborating with Harley Davidson for several years, as well as
designing and producing leather jackets for the European market. This experience, Pampoukas says, was instrumental
for his understanding of tanning and the production cycle of leathers, as well as learning techniques from other
Thedi’s hides are vegetable-processed, sourced from tanneries in Italy. The lining is 100 percent cotton, zips are
brass, and buttons carved from horn. Leather jackets are sewn by hand (many made to measure, to order) then
specially hand-washed and treated several times over with beeswax, giving the garments a unique patina, texture and
handle. Jackets constructed of denim use a variety called ‘Armalith’, comprising cotton wrapped in military-grade
Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibres, which are twice as strong as Kevlar.
Tough and beautiful, a Thedi jacket is as singular aesthetically as it is architecturally. An enthusiastic collector
of archival pieces, Pampoukas says: “In the early years, my design started by looking at my vintage collection. We
did not copy old models, we designed our own, with details of old jackets that I had collected from time to time.”
Today, Pampoukas’ designs still reference jackets from the 1930s, ‘40s and ‘50s, while bringing in modern elements
or trends according to customers’ requests.
With a cult following worldwide (Google ‘Thedi Leathers’ and browse the rapt forum posts for proof), Pampoukas
believes it is Thedi’s philosophy of “Love, passion, creativity and quality” that customers recognise and respect.
“These are the four points that make us stand out, and that is how we’ll keep on going in the years to come.” He
continues: “We are a small team of craftsmen who’ve spent more than 30 years together, making a beautiful, unique
product, treating the skin in the old good way… With our focus on the detail, the handmade processing of the
leather, the quality of the materials, the unique and delicate sewing, the pattern itself — which we spend many
hours of studying and testing to conclude — plus our passion and love for what we do, you have an ideal final
product. This is what makes Thedi one of a kind.”
Adding to its uniqueness, there’s also the brand’s Greek provenance to consider. Pampoukas says coming from the
ancient city of Thessaloniki, on the shores of the Aegean, imbues Thedi’s wares with “The freshness of the Greek sea
and the brightness of the Greek sky. In the collection there are colours of blue, reflecting the sea; green, for the
mountains; autumnal shades of burgundy and brown; and the colour of the sand.”
For all those natural touches, however, it’s affection for the machine that unites Thedi fans. These, Pampoukas
characterises, are people with particular style and philosophy, people who love things that are authentic and
outstanding – and people who love motorcycles.
Thedi's backpack is made from hard-wearing military canvas with a leather flap and fastenings. Photograph by Kim