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Q&A: Arianna Di Maio - Arianna Di Maio

Arianna Di Maio founder: Arianna Di Maio           
Your pieces have such a distinct look about them with the use of the chunky wool knit. Have you always been interested in using wool as your main material?

I approached the world of knitwear, thus the use of the wool, as a little bit for fun during my graduation thesis. I wanted to create something that was only ‘mine’, that represented me as a designer. So I decided to develop my experimental technique. During the process, I completely fell in love with all kind of knitwear.

That led me to study all the traditional techniques, such as knitting with needles, crochet and the flat knitting machine, commonly used in the 60s.

What urged you to start your own label?

Fashion is a way of self-expression. So I thought that the best way to express myself was to work for myself. Furthermore, I have always been an ambitious person who doesn’t like to be bossed around.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I am the exact opposite of what I create. I am a very simple person, with a very simple and casual style.

How important is it to you that all of your garments are exclusively made in Italy?

It is very important to me. Producing where I live allows me to manage, at best, all the phases, from the design to the production of my garments. Furthermore, being able to print ‘Made in Italy’ on our labels gives always an edge that adds considerable value to our garments.

Can you give us a little insight into your design process?

I don’t really have a design process. The only thing that I can say is that, when I create a collection since knitwear has a very ancient history, I try to integrate the ‘old’ and the ‘new’, so that I can offer unique and particular, but still accessible products.

You have accomplished a lot since the launch of your brand. What’s your biggest achievement with the brand so far?

The greatest success was achieved with the Stay Woolish collection, being all made of very particular materials and realised with a new kind of knitwear. Since then, because of my peculiar designs, my garments have been featured in important magazines like Vogue Italy and Elle Italy.

Your pieces are generally soft, bold and have some unique aspect to it. Where do you get your inspiration from?

Generally, I get my inspiration from nature, that’s why most of the time my collections have very natural colours like brown, grey, green and blue. Another important source of inspiration for me are Asian countries like Japan and China. My next collection is based a lot on this second source.

How would you like people to feel when wearing your pieces?

I want them to feel empowered, ready to dare wearing something unusual or just with really bright colours, always feeling fashionable and comfortable of course.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned since starting the label?

Never give up and don’t be impatient. Always think for the long run.

Is there a particular Arianna Di Maio piece you reach for time and time again?

As I stated before I’m not extravagant enough to wear my creations. There are some garments of my next collection that I have already worn because I love them so much that I couldn’t wait for the official launch.

What advice would you give to a young designer wanting to start their own brand? 

To start a brand is not an easy job. There are a lot of step backs but also a lot of gratifications. There are times when everything moves very slow and times where things move too fast. The only real advice that I can give is to be persistent, distinguish yourself from the masses and grind until you reach your goals.