I begin with a clarification. The idea of telling three different brands, or better still three stories related to different fashion, and of titling the piece “Milano Moda Donne” is not a way to fill pages with necessarily “feminine” events, forcing us to that idea of politically correct that terrifies magazine editors today – “there are no women”, “there are no blacks”, “there are no Asians” – but rather the attempt to present three of the most interesting things happening these days in the capital of Italian fashion. And it happens that women do these things, incidentally, and they all make clothes for women, too, but in the end those clothes can be put on anybody who wants to. Pedantry is therefore necessary, to better clear the field and leave the right space for those stories, and their protagonists. After more than a year of pandemic, rethinking the rituals of fashion is almost a bit strange, with the latest fashion shows in February 2020 blurred into a distant memory, supplanted by a series of “digital” fashion weeks that have certainly given us times more relaxed, less crowds and futile front-row psychology, some noteworthy projects, but also a great feeling of tiredness. Dwelling on what has been new in the city in recent years, because something has been born, can then serve to rediscover a certain sense of things, and at the same time to look in perspective at those structures that Milan, and the fashion made in Milan, they keep her standing. Chatting with Jezabelle Cormio di Cormio, Giuditta Testa di Garbagecore and Adriana (I’ll explain later) by Adriana Hot Couture, the immediate feeling is that those who decide today to embark on the careless adventure of starting a fashion brand in Italy, already know they don’t have a traced path to follow, or rather, that path is almost impossible to follow slavishly, and that in the end you will have to do as you can, but also as you want. But let’s go in order.
Jezabelle is thirty years old and grew up in Rome, she studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, where for the first time she gave shape to what would later become Cormio, whose first embryonic expression dates back at least to 2013, when Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, creative directors of Opening Ceremony at the time, chose her together with two other students to develop a collection for their brand. Various projects and four complete collections behind it, the last one will be released when this newspaper is on newsstands, today Cormio is one of those things that – exactly like Garbagecore and Adriana Hot Couture, curious coincidence but perhaps not – know and appreciate more abroad than here with us. Buyers and journalists who have an eye for the new have noticed for a while, this brand that has at the center of its aesthetics, at least so far, a bizarre fascination for Tyrolean folklore, which is then a way of investigating fixations bourgeois typical of Italians. When I ask her what idea she has of Milan, and of Milan that produces fashion specifically, the comparison with Antwerp comes naturally, which is certainly not perfect: “Antwerp is a space that is used to receiving ideas, to chewing them, to celebrate them. If you studied fashion in Antwerp and founded your own small brand, nobody asks you “why did you launch your brand?”, Because it’s obvious. Why not! While in Italy it is a question that they always ask you, and it is not even a stupid question, because the competition here in Milan is heavy and very often you have to deal with very big brands, even if only to find the talents to work with, models, stylists. , photographers. I believe that here there is an approach towards independent brands that is a bit “out of touch” with the real difficulties that a small brand has to face, and I am talking about the expectations of photographers, modeling agencies, suppliers “, explains. And he is right, because if we are all aware of the systemic problem of the city, which has remained crystallized in the great season that made it today’s, it is also true that certain mechanisms, and certain scaffolding, are firmly rooted not only in institutions and in those who preside over them, but also in all those who work there, no matter their age, because that’s how it’s done. Of course, it becomes a secondary problem when you put it in the more general framework, and that is the difficulty of doing entrepreneurship in Italy, especially if you are young.
Being recognized if you do things differently from the sown, even if that sown is impossible to practice, it is never easy in our country: “What I noticed is that my project, I don’t know whether for its aesthetics or for my way of presenting it on Instagram, it began to receive attention before abroad than in Italy. I find myself in a sort of community that is still considered underground, but not underground in the sense of “alternative”, but rather in the fact that it just fails to emerge, because it probably expresses things that are not so much in line with the city “, he says. Giuditta Testa, born in 1994, who studied Fashion Design at Naba in Milan and graduated in 2017 with a thesis project that later became her own brand, namely Garbagecore, launched in March 2019. «The main problem remains that of economic means, because you get to a point where you would need to make the leap and that is the hardest part. I also think that the thing that I missed a lot is having a mentor, a person who has more experience than you [nell’industria, nda] but at the same time that he has a vision, that is, that he is able to understand how someone from a younger generation looks to the future ”, he explains. Testa works only with used fabrics and has put the practice of upcycling at the center of its creative process, for which each of its garments is a unique piece, which has allowed it to build around Garbagecore an online community of customers interested in a different shopping experience, for which sustainability is a fundamental factor. Looking at the forecasts on consumption habits, it is certainly one of the most important trends for the near future and it is interesting that an Italian brand is trying to redesign Made in Italy according to that sensitivity: “Working a lot with foreign buyers, I realized that the charm of the fact still exists in Italy: emphasizing that these are unique pieces, handmade and made in Milan, still has its appeal ». And thank goodness, to be honest.
It does not seem so Italian but certainly a little Milanese is, however, Adriana who, as she writes to me via email, is also part of the collective Mindstream composed of Elisa Zaccanti, Bianca Luini and Greta Gerardi, rather she is the mononymous expression. , which all together give life to Adriana Hot Couture. Adriana’s first post on Instagram was from March 2016, today her account has almost 23,000 followers and her customers include, she writes to me, “Sita Abellan, Miley Cyrus, Jared Leto and Rihanna, who wore our pieces and that for us they represent a bit of the typical customer », that is all those who feel attracted to that aesthetic« which is always a strange balance between trash, “puccioso” and underground ». They wore Adriana Hot Couture “The girls of Porta Venezia” by M ¥ SS KETA and the most colorful and fun float of Gay Pride in July 2019, the last one before Covid-19, when in Milan it was still possible to party. What makes Adriana’s project interesting is the way in which she too has broken down the parts that traditionally make up a fashion brand, which was not the goal she set herself when she started the project: “I met Elisa Zaccanti years ago, in those years she worked from Vogue Italy and she liked the way I dressed, I always had weird stuff and she found I was doing them. So we started collaborating for her photo shoots. We saw each other with the moodboards and started thinking about the accessories that I could create based on the story. We started with accessories because that was the only area where we were free enough. When the first pieces came out, a name was needed for the newspaper’s credits and so “Adriana Hot Couture” was born. Then we started collaborating more and more often even if in reality it was a game for us, we had the same vision and we liked doing things together ».
The desire to escape the dynamics of “why is it done this way” which we mentioned earlier – “We like to do what we want, when we want and without being slaves to any system” – says a lot about the chronic obstacles that the new encounters in Milan, and Adriana’s mix of styling, celebrity culture and Instagram use is something that if she were outside Italy, well, thank goodness that thanks to the internet you can be anywhere and nowhere. Even though Instagram is old, Adriana always writes to me, because today the right ones are on OnlyFans and Twitch, just as fashion magazines are old (I agree), it has given all three of these brands the opportunity to build their niche of fans. and make your way even without all the bandwagon that we are used to associate with fashion. “The reason why I imagine my collections on our customers, at least on the ones I know, and I always know new ones because maybe they tag us on Instagram, is because I know they are intelligent women and I know we can play together. . Knowing that you are an intelligent woman, as a designer I can put you a doll dress, for example (and let me use this term that I no longer despise), and we can have fun with complicity », says Jezabelle. Milan can you hear us?