Chariton Kasinis working on his sewing machine 130219 CRDIT BFBS
Cyprus

From Northern Cyprus To The Military: Meet RAF Akrotiri's Tailor

Chariton Kasinis has been the RAF Akrotiri tailor since 1991.

Chariton Kasinis working on his sewing machine 130219 CRDIT BFBS

Chariton Kasinis has been the station tailor at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus since 1991.

Known to everyone as 'Hari', he grew up in Morphou, which is now in northern Cyprus.

"I worked for two different tailors as an assistant after I finished high-school," Mr Kasinis explains. "Then I decided to go to Athens to learn the trade."

After perfecting his skills in the Greek capital, Mr Kasinis returned to Cyprus in 1967. Aged just 22, he opened his own shop.

 

In 1974, Turkish troops landed in Cyprus and a short but bitter war erupted. The conflict left the island divided and Hari and his family left Morphou and relocated to the south.

"We found a house to rent in Limassol and I bought a sewing machine," he recalls.

"I started to work from home and all my old customers from Morphou came back for me."

In 1991, a neighbour mentioned to Mr Kasinis that the Akrotiri's tailor was retiring. He applied for the position and his skills got him the job.

"Because I knew the job, it was pretty easy to adapt to sewing military uniforms," he says. 

"I watched where they put the badges, I took notes, and slowly, slowly I got the hang of it."

Mr Kasinis sewing military uniforms 130219 CREDIT BFBS
Mr Kasinis sewing military uniforms.

The British military has hundreds of insignia, rank badges and emblems, but Mr Kasinis knows precisely where each of them should be positioned on the uniforms.

"I particularly like working on the military medals," he says.

"Really, I just enjoy tailoring people's suits and jackets."

Mr Kasinis measuring a customer's jacket 130219 CREDIT BFBS
Mr Kasinis measuring a customer's jacket.

Hari still uses his 40-year-old sewing machine every day. 

"My eyes are pretty good, considering all the years I've been tailoring," he admits with a smile. "I only need to wear glasses for close work."

Now aged 72, Mr Kasinis is still working every day, and when asked if he ever intends to take a rest and retire, he shrugs and honestly says that he does not know the answer to that question.

"I'll carry on as long as I'm able [to work]."

Healthy and still strong for his age, Hari considers himself "lucky" and hints that maybe in three or five years he will consider retirement.

Hari Kasinis 130219 CREDIT BFBS