We Interviewed Italian Fashion Designer and Writer Marella Campagna
Since the publication of her first book "From Blank Canvas to Garment", fashion designer Marella Campagna hasn't stopped a second!
In an exclusive interview for Femie Magazine she tells us all about being an Italian nostalgic who can finally embrace her past, her memories, her present and her future in London.
In your biography you say you are an Italian nostalgic, recently adopted by London. What’s the life of an Italian nostalgic in London like?
It is dense, intense, pure and most of all, honest.
Honest to finally embrace my inner self, my past, my memories, my present and my future.
I am nostalgic, as only a nomadic person could be, with several souls, several hearts and several homes, which I equally love and miss.
But London, London is my true love, the place I belong to, with thousands faces, feelings and a multifaceted spirit.
I miss my roots, my country, my “Italy”, like a distant parent you deeply and tremendously loved, but tragically never finding a common ground with.
Scrolling through your Instagram feed it is clear that you have a very healthy obsession with red and we love it! So where does your passion for this bright colour come from and how does that affect your work as a fashion designer?
I have always felt attracted by pure, bright colours, such as white and red, but I actually discovered this intense obsession, while working on a school project, dedicated to human’s frailty, memories, interactions and connections.
I started my research, collecting and exploring some inspiring images of Louise Bourgeois’s work, and I immediately experienced a connection with her, the pervasive use of the red color, and its dense and evocative capacity gave voice to my deepest feelings.
“Red is the color of blood, red is the color of pain” as the artist suggested, it represents the summa of us, being human, our emotional complexity and fragility.
It means to me the passing of our existence, as a visual tank of human’s feelings.
"From Black Canvas to Garment" is the title of your first book. Your publishing agency Balestier Press defined you “a fashion designer by origin and a writer by adoption”. So what career are you enjoying the most, your original one or your adoptive one?
This is, by far, the hardest question to answer, in this particular moment of my life.
Fashion is more connected to my raw emotions and deepest self, it is spontaneous, irrational, vivid like a an incessant flow.
Writing, embodies my rational side, that processes and structures my feelings in a functional way.
I honestly enjoy them all, fashion is pure fun, even under pressure, writing is vivid energy, but some parts of the job of a writer are a bit demanding and almost annoying, I have to admit, especially the ones less creative such as planning tour dates, PR, and digital marketing.
We love your creative approach to fashion and to art, more in general. You put your focus on meaning, rather than shape and the result is a recognisable style that makes you a unique artist. Was it hard to find your own voice while studying to become a fashion designer?
Yes, it was and still is.
Letting your voice surface, is skilled work as well as structuring a critical approach to think, and it is often a never-ending, painful process.
Humans to me are like an “open circle”, both immersed in psychological, unique dynamics that tend to alternate and reiterate over the years, and also a continuous in-becoming flux, hardly predictable.
So far I found part of my voice, a present version of it, but who knows, maybe while looking for some answers, working on a creative project, and exploring a topic, some new elements will jump out.
As a fashion designer and a writer, I cannot escape this lifelong discovery, that is the real core of my work, the most genuine, vivid and controversial part.
Your journey in fashion started at Central Saint Martins in London, while you fell in love with literature in your young years. So is writing a rekindled first love or is it a fondness that grew over time?
It is both of them, but let me tell you something, writing, fashion and art have always played a crucial role in my existence.
They are part of the same semantic world, as a personal way of expressing and fulfilling myself.
They all are my means of communicating.
It just took me a lifetime to understand how to combine them, together, properly.
At the beginning I had to abandon my passion for writing in order to explore the world on a more visual level, throughout fashion, drawing and painting, then while experimenting with fabrics and pencils, I felt the urgency of canvassing the meaning rather than the shape, the conceptual dimension laying under the garment.
So I took my pen, back again, and how magical it felt. Hey, but… I am revealing my book story too much!
Marella Campagna is now a fashion designer and storyteller but who were you as a child? We imagine a free spirit, a fluctuating wild child dancing in a dress that’s too large for her. Did we get it right?
Yes, you definitely did!
And you know, that wild child is still there, waiting to come out, and step into new challenges bigger than her, such as as the garment she was wearing!
I would love to give you more information about me as a child and my story, but I think, this time, you should probably look for it in my book!
Article by Daniela Pisciottano
Published by Femie Magazine
Pictures Courtesy of Marella Campagna