In the latest in our interview series, we got the chance to hear from the emerging Italian label Paolo Errico about not only what they are doing to build their brand but also their views on the industry. One thing we love about the Paolo Errico brand is their focus on small quantity manufacturing, producing all items in Italy, as well as their detailed consideration during every step of the process. The fit of each garment is meticulously executed to show the female form in it's best light possible. Modern, minimal and sophisticated perfectly personify the aesthetic of Paolo Errico.
Now enough from us, now hear straight from the brand.
Erebus: What inspired you to get into fashion design? What motivates you?
Paolo Errico: Just I wanted to become a designer! Since my early childhood I liked art and as a child I spent a lot of time designing clothes or modifying those of my friends. I have always been dreaming having my own shop and filling with clothes and accessories of my own brand.
E: How would you describe the Paolo Errico label to someone who has not yet experienced it?
PE: I would like people to identify my brand as a sort of aesthetic design that is not only cutting edge but steeped in respect for traditional craftsmanship and innovative technological advancements.
E: What would you say is the biggest inspiration in your design process? How is this reflected in your designs?
PE: My main sources of inspiration come from my professional training and from the world around me: architecture, design and photography on one side, and Genoa, travels, the people I love most, on the other. The inspiration behind the design are geometrical and sculptural shapes that are introduced in each collection throughout oversize volumes and the “classic Erricos” square, circle and trapezium designs.
E: How do you feel your past experience working with more established labels has prepared you to run your own label?
PE: Definitely my education comes from my previous professional experiences; the chance I had to work in famous style offices, such the one of Versace or Calvin Klein, gave me a vision on different style and approach in building a fashion line.
E: How much time to you spend on your designs? How do you feel about the accelerated pace of the fashion industry?
PE: It’s hard to quantify, the "thinking" phase is immediate, the design phase can last one day while the realization phase several months and includes several procedures. The perfection of the idea, match the aesthetic tastes with the initial idea and functionality is what I call the design process. The accelerated pace fits with my personality. The pace is so fast that sometimes you need to disconnect completely and regenerate your body and mind with pauses for meditation and yoga.
E: You’ve said your pieces are not mass-produced. What responsibility do you feel you, as a fashion designer have to protect the environment?
PE: Ethical fashion is a must for me. I'm conscious and very close to this problem; I try to choose companies that certify and test their products and I try to find biodegradable and environmentally sustainable yarn compositions. I try to give work to people in need.
E: What would you consider your signature?
PE: The hidden and appealing advance of my clothing is front and back wearable items: in this way garments are multifunctional in terms of usability and personal interpretation.
E: You have described your style as “liquid architecture,” can you tell us what you mean by that?
PE: My collection focuses on innovative sculptural approaches, creating body conscious garments with unique shaping techniques: volume, balance and scale as a contrast, as a kind of architecture that is shaping a woman body like a liquid does inside a glass, a river with the earth, the see with the land.
E: What is your favourite piece(s) from your collections?
PE: My very first collection is the favorite one; it was a mixture of knitwear and vintage leather jacket, embroidery and sport-chic motives. It was quite an audacious mixture for those days indeed!
E: Who is your audience? Who do you have in mind whilst designing your collections?
PE: A modern globetrotter woman.
E: Of what achievement or recognition are you most proud in your career?
PE: The birth of my brand selected by Carla Sozzani (Corso Como 10); Almost as a joke I had a fashion show for the project NUDE succeeding right away to get into the top 10 boutiques in Italy. My participation in 'Who's on next?' contest was the second injection of optimism; In particular, the appreciation of the customer and the support of friends and co- workers, helped me to get this far.
E: What do you feel is necessary to “breakthrough” into the industry?
PE: Fashion is art, synthesis and syntax of social vanguard. Crafts, fantasy, rebellion. Is expression of a functional pleasure, but also means that you need to know your consumer, focus on product specializations, on high quality standards, invest in training and take advantage through the innovative distribution networks and the enormous potential in exports, especially in countries with growing economies like China, Korea, but also in the US and Europe. Nowadays, fashion also means belonging to the network of the web.
E: How do you feel your brand stands out in such a saturated industry?
PE: I don’t look the other and go forward for myself. Paolo Errico is a niche brand and niches have a more restricted type of target market. The field narrows addressing to the niche, thats why I focus on them. A financial investment in web advertising is also a way to stand out.
E: What advice would you give someone thinking of starting a career in the fashion industry?
PE: You must have consistency, tenacity and passion. It‘s an hard work, a continuous examination of yourself, you have to be present and not lose it. If you start this career for passion you would succeed; if you start this career for business maybe it’s better if you change your mind!
E: What is the best piece of advice you have received?
PE: Someone told me never stop dreaming and this is definitely the best advice ever.
E: What’s next for the Paolo Errico label?
PE: I'd like to continue to share my experience and passion for knitting and contribute to the development of new techniques and materials, and be remembered for this. At this point of my career, I also believe that the right amount of energy and experience could now be spent on the creative direction of building an important brand that share the values at the basis of my project.
Now, please enjoy some of the images from the latest Paolo Errico collection!