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How did you approach the world of fashion and why did you decide to found the Cividini brand?
During a summer job as a student, I happened to be, by chance, in a knitwear factory where I had the opportunity to discover this world and above all to get to know the designer of the company, with whom I established immediately a good relationship of interaction.
Apart from your wife and you, who, within the Cividini family, contributes to keeping the history of the brand vivid? Who is in charge of the creative direction of the brand?
Besides my wife and I, our daughter spent 4 years within the company during which, starting from the warehouse, she got to know all the gears and secrets of the company. Today, after attending a Master’s degree at Bocconi University, she is gaining experience in other companies in our sector. In the future, she will return and take on more important assignments until the handover. While at the moment the creative direction is relied on by my wife and me.
"Hand-made" underlines the importance of both craftsmanship and reuse: can you explain to us how you ensure the development of the art of handmade fashion and the preservation of this artisanal heritage?
The story of Cividini was born in the late 80s, while the design of knitwear raged on laptops, we had the intuition to launch a collection of handmade cashmere knitwear, using only old knitting machines. To be clear, those used at home by knitters in the 50s. This tradition, interpreted in a modern key and combined with a minimal design has accompanied us until today. As such, this "hand technology" is the one that still allows us to make highly handmade products. Thanks to the elevated craftsmanship, it also allows us to use recycled yarns that are properly blended with our creativity and provide us with the creation of products that can be considered to have a powerful degree of sustainability.
From the point of view of textile innovation, for which elements does Cividini stand out? What are new fabrics that you would like to include in the next collections?
Both in knitwear and the pret-à-porter collections, Cividini has experienced precious fabrics such as cashmere, silk, linen, cotton and fine wool. We used them in unusual applications, obtaining the "modern classic" style for a wardrobe that does not become obsolete quickly but that lasts over time, thus helping us to take the first steps on the path of sustainability. It means creating garments you don’t want to deprive yourself of.
A material that Cividini developed in the 90s and that we still use is silk combined with steel, both created in yarn and fabric. It has required us long studies to find the correct application and processing, given the apparent incompatibility of both materials. Another peculiarity of Cividini's products is the dyeing process, Tie & Dye, or the hand painting that allows us to embellish the surfaces of the garments as if they were some paintings of an artist.
As you told us, with the same accuracy with which artwork is painted, so Cividini's clothes are dyed by hand and through artisanal techniques. The dyeing of the garments is a valuable element of great importance. Can you tell us what the creative process is when a new pattern is developed? Where and who are the professional figures involved in this process?
The artistic processes we apply to our garments are carried out by our external collaborators, whom we define as "artisans artists". On our input and on an executive level, they create real works of art, using the most disparate techniques. From brush painting to stencils, as well as Tie & Dye applications or airbrush use. All this artistic work makes every garment different from the other, since it is not mass-produced, as is precisely one of the many characteristics of Cividini products.
In addition to digitalization, what are the substantial changes that the brand and the team have had to face in these 30 years of careers?
We are certainly aware of the evolution of textile technology, but it is always interpreted by us in its minimal connotation. The fundamental element for us is the human involvement in designing the product, not only from the creative point of view but also from the processing point of view. Let’s say that the evolution of technology serves us only as a support to the "Homo Faber" mindset on which Cividini still bases all its collections.
"My advice to those who want to venture on this road, is to work, work and still work, additionally to have great ideas. Without this, there are no future prospects"- continues Piero Cividini.
Due to the new fast fashion business systems, tradition has slowly been lost. How does Cividini keep this connection with the past alive today?
Cividini keeps this unique and exclusive bond, carrying on the search for ancient processing, belonging to the Italian craftsmanship and traditional worlds, translating them into a modern key. Obviously, it involves considerable creative and managerial efforts, even with significant costs. These are necessary to make the product special and planned for a customer who knows how to appreciate the content of quality and originality, which are inner to our products.
What advice would you give to those who want to launch their own brand? What difficulties did you meet when you launched your brand instead?
They were different years from today when we started this adventure and the entry threshold to this sector was quite accessible. In the past, an idea could open many doors to you and if you had a minimum of entrepreneurial and administrative skills, you could have tried to take this path, even if it is full of obstacles and surprises. Nowadays, everything is much more complex and the tools we have used before might no longer be useful now.
In any case, my advice to those who want to venture on this road is to work, work and still work, additionally to have great ideas. Without this, there would be no future prospects, since what from the outside might seem easy, when you experience it from the inside, it is not. Total self-sacrifice is essential to hope to succeed one day.
How does the brand reduce its environmental impact? What are the challenges that the brand still has to face from the point of view of sustainability?
As I often say, Cividini was born "sustainable”. Having chosen, from the beginning, the path of quality and of durable products, the company has immediately moved its first steps on the road to sustainability, even if we were unaware of it.
What about the future brand goals?
At the moment, on the basis of the current international political and economic emergency, our principal goal is to strengthen more and more the positions we acquired, in order to be ready to seize the upcoming development opportunities.