The world of knitwear is a field of the fashion industry particularly active and vivacious that has dedicated itself in recent years to research, but also to contamination. It is a clear demonstration of this the success of some young brands that are reinventing the concept of knitting through the use of colors and pop references, of an eclectic mix of stitches and textures. One of these brand was founded by an Italian, who has lived now for a couple of decades in England, where, after studying at the Royal College of Art he has created the brand under his own name. The collection Carlo Volpi was born in 2014 and in a very short time stood out in the fashion industry, attracting important people, such as Sara Maino, senior editor of Vogue Italy, who selected Carlo Volpi to attend the Vogue Talents section inside the Super fair last February. Carlo Volpi will be in a few weeks one of the brands at Pitti in Florence because he has been chosen for The Latest Fashion Buzz, a project of the fair, in collaboration with L'Uomo Vogue, GQ Italy, LAGENTE and Mini, which offers a selection of talented international designers who are innovating the concept of menswear. We contacted the designer to learn more about his work.
Can you tell us how you started the brand?
I've always loved knitwear, I am a very "hands on" person and I really like making things. I wouldn't strictly consider myself a fashion designer, but I feel fashion is a great medium of expression. I decided to set up my own label soon after I graduated from the Royal College of Art, but it was more of a personal project rather than a business. When I started to get quite a bit of media attention, I decided to focus more on it: even though I'm still at the very initial stages, I love working on and shaping my own brand.
What are its main characteristics? How could we define its style?
I absolutely love working with colour and texture: my work is very playful and I pay particular attention to stitch developments and yarns. I use mainly Italian yarns, I think they are the best and for this collection I have been sponsored by Zegna Baruffa. I am a knitting geek: I like making so it is very important that my work has a hand crafted feel but I also love experimenting with innovative technologies and developing new techniques. For this collection, I have collaborated with Dyloan Studio to produce some of my pieces.
My style is bold and fun, with simple silhouettes that showcase the complexity of the fabrics.
Where do the inspirations come from? Which are the icons of reference?
I take inspiration from anything, art, music, people, things I love and things I hate. This last collection, 0 LOVE 4 LOVE, was inspired by cheesy love songs that we always listen to on BBC Radio 2 at the studio. I have a recurrent aesthetic that is inspired by sportswear and pop art: I am very interested in how certain sports are associated with a very classic ideal of masculinity and machism. My work makes a light hearted mockery of these stereotypes, and I am hoping to create a new ideal of masculinity that is quite camp and a lot of fun. I don't have any particular icons, although I am a big fan of Leigh Bowery, Candyken and King Krule.
Can you give me your definition of elegance?
Putting an effort into what you are wearing and loving those clothes!
Which do you consider is the importance of fair like Pitti? And what do you think are the strong elements of the fair in Florence?
Pitti Uomo is the most important menswear trade show, it is an amazing platform to show your work to the most relevant representative of the industry and to be considered as a relevant brand.
Do you have any personal memories or a story about Pitti to share with us? If it's your first time at Pitti: what do you expect from the fair and from your days in Italy?
Although I have been living in London for nearly 20 years, I grew up near Florence so I've always known about the various fairs of Pitti Immagine. Being a knitwear designer, I have been going to Pitti Filati for a number of years and I have been working for the Research Area at Pitti Filati for about 5 years, but I never attended Pitti Uomo. I love Pitti Filati because it's a very small, informal show, so I look forward to seeing how much bigger Pitti Uomo is and the different types of visitors that come to the show.