Dimitri (Mitso) Argyris first arrived in Brisbane and West End in 1953 having been sponsored by West End local Tony Jeroclis. He was the first of four brothers and their families to arrive seeking a new life in Australia.
Dimitri paved the way for his brother Peter (Panteli) to arrive in 1956, Michael (Mike) in 1962 and finally Theo (Theofilo) in 1964. Their father, Phillipa Argyris, was a tailor and they all hailed from a little Greek island called Kalymnos, located in the Aegean Sea off the coast off Turkey. The four brothers were trained as tailors by their father in their neighbourhood of St Stephen, where they grew up. Upon arrival in Brisbane, the brothers immediately set up shop as tailors in West End in an era when there were only five-digit phone numbers. Apart from a short stint in Melbourne Street, the Argyrises have pretty much plied their trade as tailors for more than 50 years at their current premises on Vulture Street, West End.
Sadly Dimitri (Mitso) Argyris passed away, aged 88, in 2010 but Peter (82) and Theo (88) can still be found working away to this day from Monday to Friday, with absolutely no thought of retiring. Mike (84) no longer commutes to the shop due to personal reasons but does work from home for his beloved family members. He also shows no sign of retiring soon. They still live in the same houses in Princhester and Bristol Streets, West End, which they first moved into after arriving from Kalymnos. Over the years, the Argyris brothers have provided tailoring services to many locals as well as many celebrities and even the odd seven foot tall wrestler. They have also provided tailoring to the horse riding community for many years.
Brothers Peter and Theo have come up with a few ingenious little ideas in their tailoring studio. For instance, a light bulb shares the power switch with the iron, so the pair know when it is on. At the end of the day, they turn the light off and in so doing, they also turn off the iron. “There were a few close calls in the past when the iron was not turned off after we had left for the day,” says Peter. The iron and the ironing board are more than 100 years old and were used by their father Phillipa back in Kalymnos. The brothers brought it with them when they migrated to Australia. As the ironing board becomes worn and damaged with time, they cover it with another layer of fabric, so now there are many years of fabric.
The Argyris brothers are a truly iconic part of West End and its history. When asked what he loved about the area, Peter Argyris said it was the culture, the richness of the Greek community, the close location of the Greek church and having all his friends in the area.
Words by Jimmy Bazianas | Images by Darlia Argyris