CO|TE, On Being Emerging Italian Designers
posted on Monday January 30th 2017
CO|TE, On Being Emerging Italian Designers By Tamu McPherson
Meet Tomaso Anfossi and Francesco Ferrari of CO|TE, the emerging Italian brand that has its sights on conquering the world at large, one stylish girl at a time. Designers first, and digital communicators in the balance, I caught up with them in Milan to discuss the progress of their five-year-old brand and to get some insight into the design process of young designers working in fashion’s current fast paced landscape.
Where are you guys from?
Tomaso is from Albenga and Francesco from Brescia.
How did you guys meet?
We met while working at DSquared.
What is your design aesthetic/brand DNA?
CO|TE, which means shelter and protection, refers to instinctively accessible themes. We reinterpret this stylistic and existential signature in a contemporary vein. Our collections stand out for their refined and cutting-edge designs and we produce everything in Italy according to the best “Made in Italy” traditions.
How does it feel to be a young/emerging brand at this moment in Milan?
It feels great to be part of this new generation of Italian designers which is emerging in Italy.
Do you feel like the Italian market supports you?
We focus our attention on markets abroad: we see our future abroad!
What is your best performing market?
Asia and Middle East are our best performing markets.
Can you please describe your design process from start to finish?
The initial part of the job is the research and the choice of materials, which is certainly key, then we work separately, and finally, we meet to compare our ideas: the collection comes from all this.
What is the most challenging part of this process?
Convincing one another that the idea that we have in mind is good and that it can work!
How many collections do you produce a year?
We produce 4 collections per year.
What’s your take on this schedule? Is it manageable, tiring, are you used to it?
We are used to it, we have our issues since timelines are always tight, but we love the challenge.
What do you do to cope with your busy schedules? Do you work out, take trips and breaks? Treat yourselves to something relaxing?
We try to find some space for ourselves and also when we travel for work we try to find some free time to visit the surroundings and learn something about the local culture and traditions.
Where do you look for inspiration?
We find our inspiration between London and Japan where we go very often, we try to keep our eyes open since inspiration can come from small things around us: we just need to pay attention.
What has been your best research trip so far?
Japan for sure.
What has been your favorite collection so far?
Our last collection is our favorite.
Which collection have you been least satisfied with?
There was a winter collection in the past that didn’t satisfy us, but we know that we can learn from mistakes and go forward even stronger.
How did you refocus after that collection?
We have said to ourselves to be less afraid and to keep a free mind, so that we can work free from the market logics and be as creative as possible.
How has the role of the designer changed in the digital era?
The designer is not just a fashion designer but also a communicator and he/she communicates through his/her collections; we try to talk to women through our collections. We think it makes sense to show through social media what our job is in these days in Italy.
How can one successfully adapt to the fast paced, ever-evolving social media space?
You have to carve out some time to observe also the work of your competitors and take the best from it, we must keep informed about everything, not only about what there is in fashion, fashion is not just clothes and fabrics today, but it is a mix of experiences, inspirations and lived moments.
How do you communicate authentically as designers in such a space?
We try to have the least filters as possible, and I am not talking about Instagram filters: one needs to be as honest and authentic as possible when showing what we want to propose.
What would be your best advice for designers coming up today?
To understand well what image of women they want to show, and to have in mind style but also business: if you want to succeed, you need to take everything into account.
One person who you would like to dress, what would the piece be?
We love American TV series and Kerry Washington [in Scandal] is for sure someone we would like to see in one of our shirts and blouses.
One stockiest where you would like to see your collection?
Dover Street Market in London.
Dream photographer who you would like to work with for a campaign? An illustrator?
We love Ignasi Monreal’s work.
Model Monique Thomas.