Where did the idea of creating Little Tailoring come from?
During a summer vacation I fell in love with Puglia and I decided to buy a house there. I restored it by putting myself into it and continued to go there for the holidays. At that time I had lived in New York for 25 years. I have worked for many fashion companies but since the 90s the city was no longer the same, there was something I was probably missing. In addition, my work no longer satisfied me. How many companies should I still add to my resume to be really satisfied with what I do? I wondered. A little at a time I started to spend more and more time in my home in Puglia until I decided to move there permanently. The whole project started from this change. I found inspiration there. My passion was to go to the markets where I recovered hand-embroidered fabrics. They were pieces made with great care even in a year of work and were thrown one on top of the other as if nothing had happened, at a very low price. It was a necessity for me to revive them again. So I had the idea of putting them together and making clothes and bags. It was all very spontaneous given my path in clothing.
You went from companies that produce millions of garments to your personal, niche reality. What is the added value?
The satisfaction you have when a person buys something made by you is different from when you contribute to producing something for a large company. These garments are creations that come out of my hands. Before I have never felt belonging to what I was doing, now I really feel that I express my passion. I have beautiful feedback and great satisfaction.
Yours is a style that enhances, revisiting it, an ancient tradition. Local craftsmanship goes to the heart of the human being, tells a culture. It always excites this direct line between the soul and the material that takes shape. How do you live the search for these unique pieces?
It is the most beautiful part. When I happen to see one that has beautiful embroidery and colors, it arouses a crazy emotion. Sometimes they have spots and this represents having to get around the obstacle. It therefore becomes a greater, more exciting challenge. You set out to do one thing by eliminating that piece. So every time the challenge changes.
What is the style that distinguishes your garments?
Craftsmanship brings with it quality, taste and sobriety. Not everyone can do it. It is not enough to stay there and start making clothes you must have a refined taste, you must know many passages in fashion. In my clothes, tradition is concentrated, but also modernity. There is a balance between an ancient and a contemporary fabric. I have a very strong passion for ethnic, Mexican clothing and this is reflected in my creations. In fact, many clothes have a design that is very reminiscent of the styles and traditions of South American cultures.
You who produce garments that are very sustainable for the environment, what do you think of fast fashion?
Working for the big fashion companies in New York was a fundamental step. If I hadn’t had that experience I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’m doing now. I learned to value things and how they are produced. To date I think that if many more people started making clothes manually, if many awakened to this awareness, to the importance of creating small realities, it would be fantastic. When I started creating my line, it was a bit like giving an alternative answer to H&M and Zara. The fact that there are so many disposable clothing items, companies where there are many people who work a lot and are exploited, is a big problem. I remember what the world of fashion was like before this change. It was all much more honest. Fast fashion has ruined everything, has revolutionized the market. And there are certain companies that have never recovered. On the one hand, it is true that they give the opportunity to go shopping even to those who might not be able to do it but I think there may be another way out, the consequences to pay in the direction taken are too high and unsustainable. My dream would be to create fashion projects to employ those who don’t have it. Involve immigrant women who want to learn a trade. It is something that I hold in my heart and I hope one day to achieve.
If you had to give advice to a young woman who would like to start her own business, what would you say to her?
There are no special solutions, it all depends on the idea, you must have your own identity and create your own niche. Even good or bad that the idea is if you create your niche you will always have someone who will follow you and, unless you have a strong creativity, I think the experience, the apprenticeship must be done. It helped me a lot.
Now you live in Milan. What are your plans?
The “Little S.” shop in the Polo Sarpi area where there will be all the garments that I create and in more traditional embroidered Mexican clothes, very colorful, accessories and other things made by small companies like mine. For example, there will be organic cotton t-shirts with prints made by a Paris illustrator. I was supposed to open on March 13th but because of the lock down everything stopped.
We are going through a world emergency that is making all those aspects of our society that are no longer sustainable for human beings and for nature come to the surface with even greater force. How are you experiencing this moment?
I am trying to believe even more in what I am doing and I am working hard to find other sales channels such as opening an e-commerce. I believe that the path I have decided to take is the right one because I think it is necessary to go in the direction of buying less and reusing the things that already exist. I hope this collective moment of awareness will lead us to this. I had moments of fear but I try to keep busy, I think of new ideas, I don’t want to dwell too much on the difficulty of the moment. I have already experienced deep life and economic crises such as the world crisis of 2008. I was in New York and it was very hard but in the end if you persevere a road is always found.