What is hidden behind a garment, an accessory, a jewel? Have you ever wondered? We often pause to wade through the shapes, struck by the colors, cuts or details of a product, but rarely do we go to the bottom to discover its manufacturing and processing. Made in Italy is made up of stories, traditions, arts and that recognizable good taste that has made us famous and appreciated all over the world. Stkreo and its jewels are part of this Italian craftsmanship so precious that we cannot fail to tell you about it. Stefania Tortella, founder and designer of the brand, opens the doors to her world full of research, color and creativity. How is a Stkreo jewel born? Read and find out with us...
Each story has its beginning. Do you want to tell us about Stkreo?
"The story is that of a woman with her work as an architect, with a great passion for fashion and design, matured since childhood, when I had fun with my mother sewing clothes and accessories (obviously designed by me) and with a great aptitude to experiment and create objects with their own hands. So, in a particular moment of my working life, I felt something ... I felt that it was time to give voice to that still unexpressed part of me. One day I was looking for something original to match my look for an event and, finding nothing satisfactory, I remember saying to myself ... "What if I create you?". These words kept resonating in my mind, until they turned into my brand name Stkreo, in which S and T are my initials. It was the beginning of a path made of study, research, experimentation, to give life to a new project, in which there is everything about me, my values, my inspirations, my creative vision."
No gold or precious diamonds, but a brand that experiments and finds a new dimension and interpretation in eco-sustainable jewelry. What led you to choose leather as your raw material and to find your maximum creative expression in the jewel?
"Sustainability and non-waste are topics that are very dear to me. I have always been attracted to forgotten, unused, waste objects in which I saw potential. I have always loved "playing" with these materials to give life to something new and unusual, I got to know and experience the most disparate materials. Then one day I was at the upholsterer for a job I was following and seeing all those unused scraps of very precious leather enlightened me: leather is a material that has always fascinated me, it is soft but has its own texture and identity, it is a material "alive", it is sustainable throughout its supply chain, as a "waste" from the agro-food industry. Thinking of using a waste to create an object that in the common sense is precious, like a jewel, for me is the maximum expression of upcycling. I consider the jewel not a simple accessory, but a small piece of architecture to wear, it represents our inner habitat and must perfectly "dress" the wearer. This is why I love to define my creations as "tailored architecture". I chose leather as a raw material because it lends itself very well and also contains all the characteristics that I would like in a jewel, in three words it is sustainable, light, precious."
The choice of leather, the study of the shape, the wearability... Stkreo jewels are made in many and more stages of processing. Do you want to tell us the most important? Let us immerse ourselves in your creative process...
"As in any creative work, the starting point is always the idea or inspiration that can come from anything, or sometimes even from the material itself. Immediately after, the idea is transformed into a project, this is the most important phase because it defines the real feasibility and the phases of realization to get to the finished object, so that it is impeccable in manufacturing and attention to detail. In this phase I define the cuts, the dimensions and the type of leather that I will select, as well as the processing on the individual pieces. The next phase is that of the actual realization, based on the developed project. The leather is selected, cut, painted, assembled and sewn, all strictly by hand. I make everything myself: of course, it took a lot of work, research and experimentation, before getting to refine the various techniques ... but this is the most stimulating aspect, seeing an object born from your own hands exactly as you had thought it. For each new model, I always make a prototype to be able to verify the fit, which for me is fundamental, especially for some types of necklaces. However, by its nature, each jewel is a unique piece, even more hand-painted ones are, as it is impossible to recreate identical color shades as in the print."
The material has a great weight in your creations: the leather is in fact recovered, transformed, reused and painted by hand! Like real works of art...
"Yes, the material is essential. There are numerous types of leathers, each with different characteristics of grain, softness, thickness and finish. I learned to recognize and value them. I use fine, recycled, full-grain leathers with various finishes, often laminated, and natural vegetable tanned leathers, not finished, which I will then paint with my textures. Very often I go to mix different types of finishes to always create something unique and original, as happens for example in my "Texture" bracelets, in which I "frame" the hand-painted parts with other different leathers, just like works of art..."
You make handcrafted items that take a long time to go from idea to wearable jewel. How do you live this path, this waiting?
"Very true. I can define them as sartorial jewels in which design and craftsmanship coexist, revealing great care and meticulous entirely manual workmanship. Very often it takes several days to make a single piece. An undeniably demanding process, but very exciting and stimulating… As often happens, the path to reach the goal is even more exciting than the goal itself. However, even seeing the finished and worn object is a great satisfaction."
What is never missing in a Stkreo jewel? And which jewel should never be missing in every woman's jewelry box?
"A Stkreo jewel never misses a combination of shapes, volumes, lights, shadows and shades of color. I like to think that each of my creations becomes a sensorial, tactile, visual and, why not, olfactory experience. I imagine that it moves as if it were an extension of the body, chameleon-like, capable of interpreting the emotions of the contemporary woman. Jewelery is an object that has a strong power, is capable of expressing the personality and mood of the wearer and at the same time has the ability to transform basic clothing into something sophisticated or, on the contrary, to play down. a rigorous and elegant look. There are jewels that can make us feel confident and at ease on important occasions, those in which we cannot go wrong, whether it is a minimal piece or a strong impact, as it is called a "statement", whether it is a ring, a necklace, bracelet or earrings… our Linus blanket, in short. Here is what should never be missing in a woman's jewelry box."
With your brand you have managed to overcome the canonical concept of luxury, finding it in a new exclusivity. How would you define luxury today?
"Quoting the great Karl Lagerfeld "Luxury is wearing unique and not easily identifiable pieces". I certainly agree, but I would add that today the real luxury is to indulge in a jewel that is truly ours, that represents us, perhaps made "to measure" with the right timing of realization that the craftsmanship, in which we Italians are unsurpassed, It requires. Better still if sustainable. Slow-Fashion therefore, in the name of quality, well-made and exclusivity."
Stkreo, tomorrow. Do you hide any news in your chest?
"A couple of projects are boiling in the pot… which need the right degree of maturation… Above all due to the uncertainty of this historical moment. I can only anticipate that I am already working on the next collections… and I am very enthusiastic about them; some news will not be missing as early as September… as they say "stay tuned"."
And we will definitely stay tuned. Discover Stkreo!