When the designer is a vintage fanatic

At the start of every season, which in fashion is when work on a new collection begins, we feel the need (it later becomes a pleasant habit) to plan a RESEARCHTRIP.

Research into what exactly? New trends, a convincing spark, new ideas. Of course, every creative person has their own SECRETPLACES, in Italy and abroad, where they go to CLEAR THEIR HEAD (a kind of shock therapy: new places generate new ideas!), but also to find NEW or VINTAGE pieces and items of any kind.

As you will know by now, research in this particular instance is a race to find “stuff” that can provide MOTIVATINGINSPIRATION.

What is Motivating Inspiration? It's the air (and of course you need air to do this job) that you breathe in cities such as Paris, London, New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Amsterdam or Antwerp as you walk the streets. Walking is one of the most creative actions of all. It's the mechanism that allows you to take photographs that generate emotions, buy interesting new and old books in incredible little stores, and see how the people there are dressing. All this enables you to store meaningful memories of the atmosphere of a place at that precise time.

It's the tips you build up in your mental database by following a precise method: you take a detail from each thing or place, which will later be used when the time comes to work on your collection. These little visual memories can be a Colour, an Accessory, a Design, an Unusual Piece or a Particular Fit.

A garment or an object can provide a lot of INPUTS simultaneously. It seems strange that travelling can open the mind in such a creative way and it seems every stranger how many ideas can be found in a single vintage object or garment.

A seemingly INSIGNIFICANT garment can give a plethora of ideas to a creative person or a FASHIONWORKER starting on a new COLLECTION. It's a strange and beautiful feeling to travel the world with the aim of discovering new things, without knowing exactly what it is you are looking for!

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Nowadays it's called coolhunting or trendwatching, but in the end it all comes down to observing, sensing and then creating. All you have to do is take notes, make drawings, scribble down a detail, note down an interesting street, or make a list of all the places you want to visit.

But the best feeling is when you come home and start pulling out all the material you accumulated on your research trip. You look at all your notes, scribbles, sketches, doodles, photos, books and the pieces you bought.

Only when you actually see and touch all this stuff do you realise that the trip was really worth it. That is when you know that work on your new collection has finally begun.

Aside from the “popular” destinations, there are lots of places off the beaten track that are great sources of inspiration and an inexhaustible amount of interesting material. They are smaller cities unspoiled by mass tourism, where people are still genuine and authentic and can generate BRIGHT ideas. Some of these places still have massive vintage clothing depots that are inaccessible to most people. They have these huge hangars piled high with USEDRAGS that are painstakingly sorted through to separate out what can be sold and what needs sending on to other sorting centres.

These places are either freezing or boiling (depending on the season). They are “extreme” places in every sense. There is an overwhelming smell of USED stuff and you'll have a strange ITCHYSENSATION and will want to have several SHOWERS and change into NEWCLOTHES afterwards… but even that is not enough!

But VINTAGE is a kind of mania that gets a hold of you and doesn't let go. Entering these places is like getting a big adrenaline rush, a HEALTHYADDICTION that leads you to touch everything, to dig into these mountains of clothes because it's a wonderful, exciting kind of chaos. Vintage-lovers never give up, they'll keep on looking forever because they know that somewhere in that foul-smelling heap there just might be the right piece that will make your day.

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When you come out, you have this nagging feeling you've left something behind and you want to go back in and search for it! I've visited these hangars on overseas trips and have had to call a courier to have boxes of stuff sent back home. In Italy, my car is never big enough to transport it all, so I'm often forced to hire a van to carry the material back to my studio.

It's INCREDIBLE when you realise you've found a piece that tells you something. It's like entering into a story, trying to understand who might have worn it, perhaps several people did, or when the piece might have been worn.

I often smell and touch these pieces and it makes me stop and think why I am so attracted to a particular vintage piece. Often it's only when I get back to my Studio that I realise why I made a particular choice.

In the end what counts for me is adding pieces to my private collection, the closely guarded one that few people know about. My VINTAGEARCHIVE is a part of my life that I am very proud of… and it's the perfect place for me!

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