Valentina Banfi: Ode to Self-love
One of the greatest opportunities I had this year, after graduating, was to be part of Young Designers, a project promoted by Istituto Marangoni, Camera Showroom Milano and The Giovanna Nicolai Company.
They selected some of the best Istituto Marangoni alumni and gave them an opportunity to design a capsule collection that would be produced by Confartigianato manufacturers and promoted through the CSM showroom network. A great opportunity for designers to get some visibility on the market!
That is when I met Daniele Macellari, CEO of clothing manufacturing company Giovanna Nicolai, who asked me to become the Creative Director of a new brand he was going to launch: Embassy of Freedom. We got on well and shared the same vision and concept for his brand.
Even though we were on a tight schedule, and the company was in Ancona, in the Marche region, we managed to create a capsule collection of 8 looks and a beautiful lookbook to showcase the samples.
Like an ode to self-love, the collection is called “Luv my”, which is short for “I love myself”. It encourages people to be proud of themselves and to experiment with their wardrobes, feeling confident when choosing their daily outfits, despite the pressure and expectations we are constantly facing.
I was given the opportunity to show my capsule collection at the Panorama showroom during Milan Fashion Week, and it will be promoted among buyers for the next season.
"I am very grateful to all the partners of the wonderful Young Designer project, because it allowed me to be creative and to challenge myself, as well as to gain real-world experience in the fashion industry."- Valentina Banfi
Paul Majer: urban nature
The “Young Designers” project was a great experience. Collaborating with a brand such as 5 Progress was a great opportunity and so much fun, too. These experiences are vital for young and emerging designers, and it’s great that both Istituto Marangoni and Camera Showroom Milano understand this need and want to give creatives a platform at the start of their journey.
I would never expect that I could be working with established professionals to release my own capsule collection so soon after graduating.
My collection was inspired by nature in the city. After Covid restrictions, when we were allowed outside again, I got back on my bicycle. I love to explore cities by bike or on foot, and I appreciate it when nature and green spaces are part of a city’s layout.
I love the contrast of the soft trees, grass, and water against the harshness of glass, steel, and concrete. I think they complement each other in harmony.
So, I worked on utility and functional details throughout the collection, the first I developed after university, and my first time working with a fashion brand. It was a great new experience, and such an important step in my career path. It was amazing to get advice from the brand, and to learn from the expertise provided by CSM and Istituto Marangoni.
One of the best things about the project is that it isn’t just a one-off event. It is about making strong connections between designer and companies, which can grow in the future.
"My capsule collection was released during Milan Fashion Week, and I continue to collaborate with the brand. This would never be possible without the Young Designers project. A win-win situation for everyone involved." - Paul Majer