Born in Verona, a nomad by adoption, Camilla lived in Milan, Paris, Melbourne and now New York with her husband and their two children Emma Rose and Timothy. After working as a Graphic Designer for several years, she decided to create her own career as sustainable designer. Her commitment to a production that focuses on rights and respect for human beings and nature combined with his passion for art, travel and world cultures has resulted in an innovative, ethical and elegant brand single.
Where does the Amorilla brand come from?
Officially in March 2018 with the first Love Story I called “India” because it was made entirely in Rajasthan but this idea was already present in my mind a year before. I studied Communication Design in Italy and I have always worked as a graphic designer, but here in New York I felt I wanted to change and to be able to create something entirely of my own. In those years I started to learn about sustainable fashion and, after seeing the documentary The true cost (https://truecostmovie.com), I could no longer pretend not to know what was hidden behind the low cost of many of the garments that I was buying. Most of them, coming from brands that we know, are not produced in a sustainable way. They don’t respect the ethical standards that are considered basic workers’ rights for the Western world: I speak about child exploitation, safety in the workplace, the possibility of being part of a union and much more. So I decided to create some videos on my You Tube channel that talked about this reality and I immediately noticed by those who followed me a great surprise to discover the truth about fast fashion. On the other hand, the question arose: since the alternatives are few, how can we make sustainable purchasing choices? Behind Amorilla there was this thought. I wanted to create a line that entirely followed these principles, which was also extremely transparent with the consumer, explaining every single choice and its purpose. My intent is not to create fashionable collections that pass quickly but Stories of Love that come from a stroke of lightning towards a textile tradition making it become so lasting. I use local fabrics, workers and local laboratories, even labels and wires come from the area. The whole process is sustainable and takes place in full respect of the rights of the workers involved, with whom I often become friends thanks to the frequent contact that we establish during processing.
What was the biggest difficulty you faced?
For the Love Story “India” I wasn’t able to follow the production in person: to begin with I picked up the contact of an Indian boy who has a shop in Verona the city where I was born. I remembered he had relatives who makes clothes in India and so I called him. He followed me for the first 6-7 months of production, during which I was in constant contact with him in Italy and with his brother in India. It was a big work between India and the USA. We shared fabric samples, color samples and real clothes, so that I could touch the garments and give them the most detailed directions possible to create the clothes I had in mind. For the Love Story “Italy” instead I worked with a pattern maker and two seamstresses near Verona. I spent 4 weeks in Italy to make contacts, choose the best fabrics and start production.
What inspires you to make your clothes?
A strong influence come from the vintage clothes that my grandmother and my aunts have handed down to me. The bellows around the sleeves and on the waist that I inserted in the clothes the Love Story “Italy” are born from this but I also draw inspiration from the people I meet on the street: New York is certainly an inexhaustible source of styles and personality.
How important do you think is to use natural materials?
The fabric is one of the aspects on which I pay the most attention. We are now used to wearing low-performance, non-breathable fabrics, without realizing how harmful it is to our skin. To be harmless, a garment must be free of harmful substances that unfortunately are often used in the fashion industry. I think it is very important to understand the difference by wearing natural fabrics, try them on the skin. I always start from the choice of a natural fabric, ipooallergenic, organic, grown on site and produced in a sustainable manner. For the Love Story “India” I used a local cotton, the Khadi, which is woven by hand on traditional looms according to an Indian technique. It is an ancient fabric with many properties: it keeps the body temperature constant and is extremely soft but at the same time resistant to washing and use. It was also used by Gandhi as a symbol of the economic revolution, as opposed to the cotton imposed by the English. For the “Italia” collection, I have always worked with local, Italian laboratories, which have created a rare and extremely comfortable fabric, mixing the Italian hemp fiber of its nature because it is a plant that does not need chemical treatments to be cultivated and the yak wool fiber, which is the sustainable alternative to cashmere. It is a very fine yarn and is among the lightest and softest of animal origin. We talk about sustainable fiber because the wool is recovered from the bushes, after being naturally entangled.
What other alternative fabrics exist?
Often “natural” does not mean “sustainable” and there are very few really sustainable fabrics at the moment. Silk, for example, is natural but not sustainable because the worms are killed. There are alternatives to silk, like the viscose that comes from the cellulose of trees. However, I do not consider it an alternative because many plants must be felled to be produced. Many experiments are underway on how to create stable fabrics that can be real alternatives not of animal origin but particularly sustainable because they derive from waste such as the fabric created from the fiber of the pineapple or oranges, from the skins of the grapes or even from the dust of marble.
How can we make consumers aware of these issues?
It is always necessary to explain the tangible value of the garment, its history and the various productive choices, which fabric has been used, if there are certifications on the colors, where it was made and by whom. This is what makes it unique and valuable. Fashion is often associated with a leisure activity: one takes pleasure in buying, especially when one does “big business” and often one does not even read the label of what one buys. We should go back to making purchases consciously by choosing only items that we need, of which we know and appreciate the story, which are good for us and will last over time. We should prefer quality over quantity and give value to the purchase, stopping to think rather than give in to the low price, which hides not only a bad quality of the raw material and the processing of the garments, but unfortunately also stories of exploitation and slavery that are more frequent, even in Italy, than we dare imagine.
Do you also follow a sustainable lifestyle in your everyday life?
I try as much as I can. A few years ago I was very focused on sustainable fashion and less on other aspects of everyday life. As for fashion, I started informing myself and doing research to understand how I could make my purchase as sustainable as possible. It is a lifestyle that I like and I want to pursue for consistency. But I am convinced of one thing: it is not necessary that few people make their lives 100% sustainable, when all the rest of the population does little. Rather, we should all commit ourselves even a minimum to have a more ecological and less impactful lifestyle, only in this way can we really make a difference.
What are your future plans?
I want be focusing on Amorilla. I want create memorable patterns and graphics, increase the range of sizes available and why not, put me in the order of ideas to create physical stores in addition to online sales. I already have three collections in my head, but I know that only with the right time and the right people I will be able to complete them as planned. In addition, I will continue to inform those who follow me about the importance of making purchases and sustainable choices. We have enormous power as consumers and we must assert ourselves, asking for greater transparency and quality from fashion brands.
Do you have some advices for young women who want create their own business?
Be original and carry on something creative that doesn’t already exist. To do this you need to bring your personality to the surface and above all to practice yourself to pulling out your own style. Now everyone takes inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest: the result is that everyone copies everyone and nobody stops to create something that really has a quid and that is new. Using shortcuts does not lead you far, if you want to stand out, you must commit yourself.
What book are you reading now?
I just finished “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, a frank and inspiring book. Right now I’m reading “The wall” by Marlen Haushofer and I’ve already got the book “Genius friend” and a sustainable fashion book, available only in Italy “You’re crazy to wear it” by Elizabeth L. Cline.