In this New Year, Orleans + Winder will be show casing designers who are creating the finest slow fashion from around the world. In our first interview, designers Stella Tosco and Maria De Ambrogio of Serienumerica speak to Orleans + Winder about the art of fashion, the importance of slow fashion and reinterpreting the culture of the product itself.
OW: What is the nature of the research you conduct during the design process?
SN: We always try to use new techniques and experiment with innovative materials, especially in fully fashioned knitwear on which we put our main focus.
In fact we have our own hand knitting machines and electronic machines. Due to this we are able to make research our strong point adding refined details, creating new texture and combination different yarns.
OW: What are the most important design aspects of this season's collection?
SN: We put much attention to high quality raw materials.
We spend most of our time researching on those.
Combing different yarns with various techniques is what we are looking for.
For example combing classic yarns such as 100% fine merino wool with special yarns such as the thick cotton yarn covered with rubber fiber makes our garment particular.
OW: Texture seems to be crucial to the designs in the A/W 2018-19 collection; is that correct? How were you inspired by texture?
SN: As just mentioned above texture and the raw materials are always one of our main focus during the research.
In fact we are not inspired by texture but by the yarn itself.
We try to find and create new textures and surfaces ourselves through experimentation and combination of the yarns and reworking the materials.
OW: To what extent do you think of your clothes as artistic objects?
SN: Every season we realize items with a more traditional equipment such as handlooms or handknitting-machines trying to give value to tradition and innovate it in order to preserve it. In this sense I think that we can speak about our clothes as artistic objects.
OW: You describe your work as "reinterpreting the culture of the product;" could you elaborate on that?
SN: We try to create garments that last in time due to their material and due to their design. We do not follow the actual trend or theme of the season. We want our pieces to be contemporary now and tomorrow.
OW: What do you think of "slow fashion" and its impact on the industry?
SN: Certainly with the arrival of fast-fashion the way of buying and the perception of items radically changed in our society.
We hope with our work and believing in “slow fashion” to give back the right value to the items that needed work and dedication.
We try to create items that go beyond trends with a style that can last during the time, to avoid an excessive consume which caracterized the big chains.
OW: You often work with local artisans to create one of a kind works; how does the making of a garment impact its design?
SN: The possibility to work with local artisans is always an enrichment.
The gathering between technique and artistic idea is what gives the special twist to the last outcome of the garment.
Ours is a constant collaboration between artisan and designer.
Together we can find new solutions in order to achieve what we have in mind.
OW: In 2013 you inaugurated the project "Multipli." Could you tell us more about the project? Is it ongoing?
SN: The project Multipli started in 2013 with “Constellations” (the first edition developed together with the artist Daniele Galliano). The aim is to contaminate Serienumerica’s minimalism with contributions from designers, photographers and personalities from different fields.
Serienumerica thus consolidates the originality of its own creations and its meticulous selection of materials, result of a unique view and of a deep awareness towards an aesthetic in constant evolution.
The project is still going on, but we have not been collaborating with any artist for the last seasons. We are thinking at other collaborations and probably in the future we will do something new.
OW: What is your design philosophy?
We believe in the collaboration between artisans and industry.
With this continuous collaboration we try to force the rules of tradition giving new shapes and surfaces to high quality materials.
Minimal shapes are enriched with particular techniques to increase the value of the Made in Italy product.
Each collection is the result of a curated work. The idea is to combine traditional process with new technologies applied to fashion.
OW: How has your work with other artists impacted your research and design processes?
SN: It is always interesting to work in collaboration with someone, because you exchange opinions and sometimes you reach something very different from your original idea, but more interesting.
OW: Could you tell us about any upcoming projects?
SN: We just did an installation during the contemporary art week in Turin.
We placed all over the city little commemorative ceramics that represent some pieces of the brand. The focus was set on the transience of nowadays fashion system, where a garment once out of reflectors is suddenly considered dead and past.
Moreover we are working on a new bridal section.
Interview by Isabelle Sakelaris