Metropolitan fusions with Federica PolliWe met with Federica Polli – joint winner of the RMI for Young Designers awards in the fur category – at TheOneMilano show in September. An emerging designer who proposes ‘urban’ fashion with a young and contemporary attitude, inspired by the fascinating concept of camouflage
Where did you study? How did the fur project come about?
After passing my A’ levels in scientific studies, I signed up to the ‘Accademia di Costume e Moda’ fashion academy in Rome. I studied the history of fashion, entertainment and costume and the history of art and marketing. During the workshops I learnt about the various design stages of clothing and accessories, both in theatre and film, which enabled me to improve my work process.
Fur is a material that has fascinated me from a very early age, so when I got the opportunity to present a fur collection, I just had to snap it up. The collection is inspired by the military world, with a key focus on outerwear and the use of lots of pockets. From this study, which is based on the history of costume, came a fun play with fiction, where pockets embellished with furs become a key protagonist. The use of bright colours plays on the idea of camouflage, just like military clothing, so my furs blend in well with the urban environment.
How would you describe your vision of fashion, and why did you choose this career?
I’ve never really had a hobby or passion that lasted very long, but this is a world that’s always fascinated me. Once I finished high school, I stumbled into the fashion world without any set plan. I never thought that one day it would become my profession. Today, I think it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. It’s the only thing that never bores me and I don’t think I’ll ever get fed up of it, because it’s teaching me to get to know myself. I really feel I can say I’ve found my life’s passion.
My personal aesthetic vision is connected to everything that is imperfect. I like discord. Things that are ‘perfectly perfect’ create a sense of unease inside me. I love a detail that evokes a mysterious mood – there has to be something that I don’t want to resolve, otherwise I’d no longer be attracted to it.
How do you develop your creative process?
I look for inspiration in the world around me. I’m always very attentive; nothing ever passes me by. I’m always in search of new experiences and stimuli. My creative process doesn’t follow a specific logic. I elaborate most of my ideas at night, then in the morning I start to do quick, rough sketches, without any set direction and without concentrating too much on details, until the drawings start to have something in common. From this beginning point, I reorder the sketches and give a logical sense to the project.
What role does artisanal craftmanship play in your creations?
It’s essential to me. I think that putting your hands directly on the material is a great source of inspiration. Sometimes, starting from the material itself without a specific project in mind, sparks some of the best ideas; the 2-dimensionality of paper can sometimes be limiting.
Where do you make your clothes?
My fur designs won the 27th Concorso Nazionali Giovani Stilisti Italiani RMI young Italian designers competition “for the fresh, contemporary take on the competition theme of using and reusing old furs”. The designs were produced in a workshop in Rome, using a ‘fabric’ created by the AIP artisanal association that’s based on the idea of patchwork, hence interpreting the principles of reusing and upcycling, which are fundamental for sustainable fashion.
In this era of fast fashion and mass production, what does uniqueness mean to you?
In this moment in history, it’s hard to distinguish yourself among the multitude of proposals. For me, uniqueness simply means being yourself, without aspiring to look like someone else. I think the most important thing is to accept ourselves as we are – it’s the only way to be truly original. And fashion plays a fundamental role in this context.
Are there any collaborations or commitments on the horizon? Will you be taking part in Remix 2018, for example?
At the end of my studies, the academy organised a talent contest, in which the students had the opportunity to present their projects to an external commission, which that year was composed of Simonetta Gianfelici, Elysa Cipriani, Tom Rebel and Gianpiero Arcese. I was selected for the men’s Accessories (bags and shoes) collection, which was on show at an event organised in collaboration with AltaRoma, at the Guido Reni District (Rome), in January.
Thanks to my participation at TheOneMilano tradeshow, the Manetti company offered to finance and produce my fur collection, which will be exhibited in a corner of their booth in the February edition.
And I also had the enormous satisfaction of being chosen out of 10 finalists at the international Remix competition, judged by Sara Sozzani Maino of Vogue Talents with jury guest Arthur Arbesser. The fashion show will be held on February 25th, at Palazzo Barozzi in Milan. It’s so exciting; it’s going to be a wonderful evening.