A spotlight on leading Made-in-Italy craftspeople around the world, with their ability to create value for the entire industry with their creativity
The new challenge for the future consists in combining traditional Italian craftsmanship with sustainability, with a focus on research and experimentation.
The first to showcase their creations and vision are the protagonists of #IAMTHEMAKER, the HOMI Fashion&Jewels Exhibition project that highlights Italian craftsmanship with their personal stories and handmade products - more than mere craftspeople, the custodians of unparalleled know-how.
A passion often born as a family heritage, cultivated with love and respect and yet evolved anew by each generation, as recounted by Valentina Garavaglia from Dag-Gioielli, who took over the family business at a very young age and created her first collection at the age of 24. But DNA is not everything: “you find a winning combination by researching materials, experimenting and keeping a close eye on the world of fashion. You need intuition to find the right product.”
Because versatility is key to craftspeople who, having started with a very different identity, often have to re-invent themselves to arrive where they are today, guided by passion for their work. This is what convinced Barbara Mogni, from Bambu Bijoux, to abandon architecture and graphic design and dedicate herself to jewellery - a return to her childhood hobby. “Working with your hands involves the brain, heart and guts, you put everything into it, competency, craftsmanship, patience, research - everything that an industrial product lacks,” - a full spectrum commitment that is rarely found elsewhere, and yet is vital to the work.
“The difference between a handmade product and an industrial one is the heart: we work with the heart, we put heart and soul into it, and everything you see is an expression of our soul,” says Claudio Canzian from Dueci Bijoux, who started making earrings almost by chance, almost 40 years ago, and has never stopped since.
In an increasingly globalised world, individuality and the personal touch are winning factors, especially in the case of a handmade product which expresses quality, creativity and uniqueness.
But that's not the whole story. Every handmade product is supported by important relationships, a synergy of individuals who find a perfect agreement. “The winning combination is designed by all of our staff, who choose unique materials and work them by hand,” says Simona Rossi from Creazioni Beppe & Sandra, who have been making resin jewellery for export worldwide since 1976. Because when you buy something made by hand, you create a direct relationship with its designer and maker, you support their work and, above all, you have the unique experience of following all the steps of the work in progress of their process for yourself.
Sustainability is also a key factor. Because the added value of handmade products - and the focus of all our efforts at the present time - is sustainability, respect for the environment and persons, an aware connection to everything around us that we are called to protect, safeguard and value. And working by hand is its perfect representation, minimising wastage, recovering materials and creating objects that are not seasonal but rather long-lasting.
“We fell in love with a product because it respected the planet, and we have continued in this direction: re-using things that have finished their production cycle, their life cycle, recovering things that are of no use otherwise, destined for the scrapheap,” says Rita Benti from Nicitta, explaining how her brand was born from her experience of recovering scraps of fabric after a trip to India.
Nature itself is an essential part of craftsmanship, demanding respect and offering creative inspiration, as seen in the jewels made by Portuguese Paula Castro with her brand Little Nothing, which aim to share the beauty and value of the simplest, most natural things. Her jewels, with their organic, rough-hewn heart, aim to be as sustainable as possible, from fabrication to packaging because, as the designer says, “nature is truly important and when I started this work my first concern was to protect our planet”.
The HOMI Fashion&Jewels Exhibition will return to Fiera Milano from 20 to 23 February 2021 to share, as always, stories, projects and ideas that anticipate industry trends.