1. In recent years we are rediscovering the value of the local dimension. Not only from a manufacturing point of view, but also from a creative one. Do you agree?
I absolutely agree: in my case the local dimension is fundamental.In Federico Cina there is in fact a strong link with an authentic and non-globalised dimension, which in my case is represented by Romagna (my land of origin in Italy). But it was not always like this, we could define the re-approach to Romagna as a path. Immediately after my studies at Polimoda, I took some time to identify what the creative path of my brand should be. It was a period that helped me to experiment, practice, settle, and reflect on which path I really wanted to take. The brand’s first collection, “Romagna mia“, was the answer. But there was still a crucial question on the table: was it really a “cool” choice to talk about “Romagna”? No one could guarantee it. What was certain, however, was that, thanks to “my” artisans, I would be able to create something different from what I was used to seeing.
2. Your generation of entrepreneurs has the responsibility of bringing Made in Italy into a contemporary dimension. What are the main challenges you are facing?
As an independent brand (not part of a group or investment fund), the main challenge is to build credibility. Buyers wonder if the brand will really ship the pieces, if it will stay on schedule, if it will be constant. You have to work with determination, perseverance and positivity, collection after collection, to get your message across. It is not easy to be appreciated for your content and not for the investment you are willing to make.
3. Your website includes the ”Archivio” project: a new environment for research, collaboration and sharing. Can you tell us about it? Can you tell us about the next chapter you are working on?
“Archivio” is a section where I meet artists, photographers and emerging talents. It represents the most cultural part of the brand, in which I try to convey my conviction that fashion is not just about clothes, but about culture and a lot of research. Starting from here, I asked myself: how can I convey the values that inspire my brand? “Archivio” was therefore born from a personal need for expression, which was then also picked up by our customers. The idea is to collect other interesting contents and turn this online collection into a real paper publication, maybe a book.
4. Are you a person of habit? Can you tell us about a routine that makes you feel good?
Creative work leads me to have no routine: I always have to be flexible and ready to change my schedule, often even my ideas. This leads me, in my private life, to implement a compensation where I take pleasure in being more routine. A “concession” that leads me to always go to the same restaurant whether I have been satisfied.
5. You often talk about human relationships and physical moments. What is your personal relationship with the digital? How do you balance these two dimensions?
Personally, I’m very attached to the physicality of relationships and actions, like meeting someone or spending time in the countryside in touch with nature. But I realise that being digital is not a choice, so the challenge is to translate the nostalgic and emotional world of my brand through liquid crystals. To do this, the brand’s way has been to involve people more, taking them (virtually) backstage: showing them the pages of the research book, spoiling some photos. Trying to show me for what I am, without artifice: letting them enter my world with an accessible and inclusive spirit.
6. In this historical moment, many fashion protagonists are conducting campaigns with a strong social impact, especially in terms of rights and inclusiveness. What do you think is the role of fashion in this field? Are there any social battles you particularly care about?
I believe that, on important issues, a person or a company can and should take a position. Even a political one. I realise that it could be a double-edged sword, but I am convinced that with one’s clients and followers it is necessary to build an honest, two-way relationship, in which one really needs to know and like oneself. If a follower decides to move away because they disagree with your point of view, it means that perhaps they are not part of your “family”, it’s a natural path… We as a brand have, for example, spoken out in favour of the Zan DDL.
7. Are there any other issues close to your mind?
Safeguarding local production excellence. As a brand, we collaborate with many local, often hidden, artisans. We are finding a way to interview them, asking the public what they would like to know from them. I believe that the real added value for a company is given by the people who surround it; it is important to build a relationship based on competence, but also on personal value, on the wellbeing you feel when you are together. You need a feeling, you need to look each other in the eye and smile.
8. How do you think a new generation brand can work in a sustainable way?
“Sustainability” is not only about protecting the environment, but also about protecting local communities and their work. Starting on a simple human level, showing respect for each other, valuing each other’s work and skills. I believe that in today’s world these things are the foundations of a long-term entrepreneurial project. An example? Respecting the fact that a craftsman cannot produce more than 30 pieces of a certain garment per week, because the production technique he uses imposes this limit. I realised that it is precisely in this exclusivity that the value lies: a value made up of passionate craftsmen, small workshops and “slow” knowledge.
9. If you were to create a moodboard of yourself and your brand, which artists, musicians or photographers would you include?
This is a question that no one has asked me before… I would put Andrea Venerus @venerus at the top, an independent singer-songwriter whom I appreciate very much, and who manages to express strong values through his art. Then there are many photographers, including local ones. I am thinking of Guido Guidi, a landscape photographer who lives in a charming house hidden in a forest. I met him to involve him in the FW21 collection, for which he agreed to let me use one of his hand drawings, used for the cover of the book “Per strada” (On the street) which photographed the Via Emilia in the 1980s.
10. What is an object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory associated with it? Can you send us a photo taken by you?
All the fashion magazines I have bought along the way. Each one reminds me of a period of my life, allowing me to relive a particular emotion, mood or reflection that goes back to that moment. They are like memory drawers that are always close to you.