We have lived for a long time in and with the conviction that knitting was an old-fashioned, in short, out of date thing. Hence the famous grandmother's sweater. Come on, who has never said this? A cultural heritage that has influenced our way of thinking and dressing for years. At least until a few years and a collection ago. The reflection of our Talk about starts from here, from knitwear.
Today the story has finally changed. The knitwear has taken its ransom, its deserved revenge and whoever has bet on her since the beginning, in times like saying no suspects, has gone from brave to visionary.
A trend is breathed in the air, is perceived. There are those who catch it and those who don't. And then there are those who take it and nourish it, feed it, make it grow. Some young brands have, with curiosity and passion, launched a challenge to knitwear itself and its complexity. Giving it a new life, a new shape, a new story to tell. Maria Sapio (founder & designer of the Maria Sapio Knitcouture brand), Arianna Di Maio (founder & designer Arianna Di Maio brand) and knitwear: they are the protagonists of our Talk About today.
The video interview begins and with you the greetings and presentations: a big mutual smile replaces a handshake or a hug, but the warmth comes the same. Beyond the screen. The on and off (line) no longer stand out. Profiles and people coincide, telling each other.
You have both chosen knitwear, an art born in the past but that lives, is handed down, is the subject of innovative experiments... in short, it dresses today's woman. What led you to her?
Arianna Di Maio: “I approached knitwear during my graduation thesis; it was a natural choice. For me who has always tried to stand out, to do something different. I found myself playing with yarns, creating, experimenting with my own technique. It was a choice of belly, of emotion, of love. After the first positive results of my creations, I launched the brand: I had found the innovation, the experimental and innovative character was there, now I had to take a step back. Driven by the curiosity of tradition, I focused on the origins of this art, on knowing and understanding how it was born. Knitting needles, crochet hook, machine ... I combine experimentation with various traditional techniques and come up with something different. Exclusive."
Maria Sapio: "The love for knitwear was born during training at Polimoda. I speak of love because you fall in love with her or you don't fall in love. It's difficult, it's complex, it's complicated. I then got to know this world more closely through professional experiences and collaborations that gave me the opportunity to experiment and enrich my knowledge. Up to my brand, the need to communicate and express this art in my own way ".
What do you think has determined and brought knitwear back on the catwalk? We have been witnessing a real boom for a few seasons...
Maria Sapio: “For some years the concept of the handmade has returned to the fore, let's think about the" working on the knitting needles "for example. Knitwear is something abstract, it gives infinite possibilities compared to a fabric. It comes to life, with processes, treatments... It is an extremely complex job, it requires a lot of manual skills and its niche placement is precisely for these reasons. Behind it there is a story, something to tell, a relationship, an individual ... all this has led to rediscover it ".
Arianna Di Maio: “For so long, too long, it has been mistakenly seen as ancient, flat, uninspiring work. But that's not the case at all. On the contrary, it is experimentation, research, possibility, uniqueness ".
You are women who create for women: how did you discover your ideal woman? And how do you imagine it?
Maria Sapio: “Before asking myself how the woman I create for, for whom I make my creations, I ask myself what I want to convey, what emotions I want to convey. I dig into myself, in how I see being a woman, trying to discover and communicate a new way of sensuality and femininity. My woman is emancipated, determined but at the same time she has the class, the ways, the bon ton of the past. In fact, I look for it in history, in the past precisely. A bit like a return to the origins, they are part of us, it is also thanks to them that we become what we are. So my woman is a mix between past and present but also between male and female: the strong part is mixed with sweetness."
Arianna Di Maio: “Well my woman is strong, determined, she feels adequate in her originality. Dare, wear a lively color even in the middle of winter. She is brave, take on, unique. "
Create timeless clothes. For aesthetics and quality. Does the femininity of tomorrow look like what you are creating now? Do you think it will evolve, will change...?
Arianna Di Maio: "She will bring what is today into tomorrow but she will evolve, will grow".
Maria Sapio: “The collections will evolve because we ourselves evolve but the identity will remain solid and rooted, she will renew herself but will remain coherent in herself ".
Founding your own brand requires a great daily and constant commitment. Take a step back with your mind... did you imagine having to face such hard work?
Arianna Di Maio: “I thought it was difficult but not so difficult. They are an integral part of the whole supply chain. In a small, very small company, the jobs are not divided: the problems grow, the unexpected too. Creation goes hand in hand with design and implementation. And then there is experimentation, the study of processes, shapes, colors, the relationship with suppliers, with the laboratories, the management of social networks: even posting a photo requires time, understanding how to intercept and get to the public."
Maria Sapio: "When you start alone you are the company and you have to think of everything. Any problem is yours but it's part of the game. You go from one activity to another, trying to organize yourself better. In this path of growth it is important to find the right people to start delegating. We need others, humanly we cannot be good at everything".
Delegating unloads us from an incessant flow of activities but at the same time it is not easy. It presupposes listening, collaboration, questioning, synergy. Don't you think?
Maria Sapio: "This is in the quality of the entrepreneur. In communication, in listening, in transmitting ".
Arianna Di Maio: "I agree, it is difficult but necessary, it is important to be able to delegate".
Well then among your future projects you can officially note having a staff to delegate! Between smiles and complicity the Talk about continues, finds its place between us and the will to share a moment as well as a thought.
As founders of young brands made in Italy, what message would you like to send?
Arianna Di Maio: "To believe more in Italian craftsmanship and in what we bring with our creations to the world. Made in Italy is a security, a guarantee known and recognized all over the world. We use made in Italy materials, we encourage the Italian market. We make sacrifices on sacrifices to support us. "
Maria Sapio: “I think there should be more rigidity in the Made in Italy declaration. They should protect those who really do it and not those who write it only on a label. This is one of the biggest obstacles for those who really try to carry on the value of the fact in Italy. They should give new brands with growth potential more space, include, give the possibility ".
I'm curious: when you don't work what do you like to do?
Arianna begins her sentence just as I expected. But he does it smiling. The effort and commitment dedicated to work are rewarded by the great passion: “But when don't we work? Ahah ... In the small scraps of time from work I go out on the weekend and read. I like reading."
And Maria Sapio continues: “When you like your job so much it is not often perceived as a job. Sometimes I feel the need to recharge, to have new impulses to use as baggage for my business. I love visiting art exhibitions, immersing myself in nature, listening to music. "
Do you have a place of the heart?
Arianna Di Maio: "Shanghai. I presented my brand in a nearby city and had the opportunity to visit it; Oriental culture in general fascinates me and excites me ... Shanghai has entered my heart ".
Maria Sapio: “Rather than returning, I would like to discover a new place. I feel the need to get hit by things never seen. "
Fashion moves many people. It is a flow of thoughts, a chain of hands. It is a cultural background. Do not dwell on appearances, go beyond the cover, venture to the end. There, where the thought and time of those who designed, sewed, unmade and remade that product resides. Where the true value of Made in Italy resides. Thanks to Maria Sapio, Arianna Di Maio and their knitwear for being with me in the second Talk about.