A story to be worn. Interview with Stefania Alba
By Alexa Louro, Ros Gudsteindottir & Talus Andolsek
A team of artists and their creativity, an art director fascinated by fabric, colours and contemporary art: this is what gives birth to Brunellesca’s artist signed bags and scarvesWhere are you from and how did it influence your collection?
My inspiration for the collection came from a specific accessory line in an art gallery in Florence where I spent time as an art director and met many contemporary artists. Early in my project I concentrated on simple, comfortable and inexpensive merchandise but as it progressed I invested in more complicated fashion pieces. Who is your target market and how do you communicate with them?
My target market is specific, mature women ages 35 and up, although certain products such as the backpack and wallet can be appreciated by any age or gender. I mainly utilize social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to communicate with my clients. Do you have any educational background that supported your collection?
My collection benefited most from the combination of experience in fashion photography, advertising and being an art director at a gallery in Florence. What about Filippo Brunelleschi inspires you?
Brunelleschi was an important influence when creating the brand’s name, ‘Brunellesca You Art’, which is my feminine spin on the great architect. I wanted to immediately capture and communicate the mood of the Renaissance. The label phonetically appeals to women while evoking the subconscious knowledge of history so prevalent in Florence, Italy. More specifically the pattern decoration of my bags came from the chapel Brunelleschi designed. I thought it was a good idea using the same shapes and colors to attract people of the same area and culture. How do you preserve traditional art in a modern way?
There is a poetry to it. I want to touch the feelings of who wears the purse. The purse tells a story, and this connects with the emotional side of people. They are able to wear piece of the art. Personally, there is also a romantic aspect, because this artwork is made not only by artists, but people I hold close. It is very sentimental in a way. Fans of these artists showed support, and this encouraged me to begin production seriously. I started it as almost a joke, but step-by-step the company grew and became a very interesting project. In my mind, the idea is to build a union of artists and art lovers who collaborate on these projects, and develop a way to wear art. How is your collection sustainable, and what motivated you to produce in Tuscany?
Most of the important brands are born and produced here in Tuscany. I work in outsourcing; I am not a tailor. However, I work with leather crafters who are associated with these main brands. What aspects of local production did you like and dislike?
I liked every aspect of production, because I started with textiles then moved to leather, which is Tuscany’s most famous product. The images of the paintings are printed on the products, and then varnished and protected against weather. Why do you produce only bags and no clothing?
I am actually currently making shirts! They are large almost like canvases for the paintings. I want to make cotton sweatshirts that are oversized, almost hip-hop influenced. How much on average do your handbags cost, and where do you sell your bags?
They normally cost around $140-$220. I am currently selling my bags online and through other stores. I am looking forward to getting a space in the city where I can start a boutique and sell my products. I would like to meet American customers because I am very interested in the open market. Are you working on any other projects or just concentrating on Brunellesca?
I am trying to find other artists to work with so I can work with more designs and prints. Right now I am very busy with Brunellsca, so unfortunately I have no time for other projects.