What happens when New York City-inspired streetwear collides with a rural Greek village? You get the latest fall and winter campaign video of a fashion and lifestyle brand named Aimé Leon Dore.
Young girls are donning oversized jeans and sweatpants. Pappou (grandpa) is enjoying his morning coffee while sporting a Mets baseball cap. A young man stands on the local basketball court with a mountainous backdrop while holding a goat. Yiayia (grandma) is hanging a “Queens” sweatshirt to dry on her outdoor clothesline.
And backing these visuals is a steady-paced soundtrack by Konstantis Pistiolis, a multi-instrumentalist from Ioannina, Greece, whose track features the clarinet, laouto, snare drum and accordion.
Aimé, colloquially known by fans as “ALD,” has become increasingly popular in recent years with customer lines often running out the door from its shop and adjacent café on Mulberry Street in Lower Manhattan.
The brand’s white wooden storefront seems unassuming yet distinguishes itself from the neighboring brick and mortar buildings of Little Italy.
ALD’s latest campaign may be the first of its kind, but it’s certainly not the first time that the brand has subtly — or not so subtly — incorporated its Greek heritage.
Inside the Café Leon Dore, various Greek food products with colorful packaging feature prominently in contrast to the monochromatic white shelves. Customers can choose from a range of baked goods including melomakarona, kourambiedes and koulourakia, as well as hot or iced coffee and teas such as freddo espresso, freddo cappuccino and Greek mountain tea.
Other items including Caprice hazelnut wafers, Ion Chocofreta bars and Loumidis coffee beans are available for purchase.
On ALD’s social media pages, mainly Instagram @aimeleondore, the brand routinely posts imagery which caters to its New York-centric audience while paying homage to the ancestral roots of its founder, Teddy Santis.
Santis, who grew up in the 1990s splitting time between Queens and Greece, told men’s retailer END Clothing in a 2018 interview that his upbringing is an integral component of the brand.
“I was born and raised in Queens, New York by immigrant Greek parents who believed in hard work and making sure we never forgot where we came from,” Santis said. “That is definitely obvious in my aesthetic and I think that’s also why the brand has been so well received overseas.”
The meaning of the ALD name consists of “Aimé,” meaning “loved” in French, “Leon,” the childhood nickname of Santis’ father, and “Dore” which is the last syllable of Santis’ full name “Theodore.”
Santis decided to venture into the fashion world after the construction of the Second Avenue Subway Line threatened to close his family’s diner on 89th Street.
Since launching in 2014, ALD has built a collection of items including outerwear, knitwear, trousers, shirting, headwear and shoes, among other categories.
The brand’s fall and winter 2021 campaign video heavily features its knitwear and outerwear in the form of sweaters, vests and jackets.
A separate video shows Konstantis Pistiolis performing a full music set with multiple instruments while singing and using a looper.
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