The Limelight: Emanuele Piarulli
[MIKARA] When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer?
[EMANUELE] Unfortunately, in the area where I am from, people don't give much credit to Fashion Design or Arts in general, therefore it's not until I turned 16 and started gaining more self-confidence; I became more ambitious that I decided that that was the path I wanted to take.
[MIKARA] Were you always interested in creating menswear?
[EMANUELE] When I first started my course, I thought I was going to create mixed-sexes garments. However, after I did my Menswear module at the beginning of the year I had an epiphany. It was such an intense module and I barely got any sleep that semester, but I loved every single day of it. Just thinking about the technicality behind Menswear gives me goose-bumps, so it just came natural for me to label myself as a Menswear designer.
[MIKARA] What is your favorite part about being a designer? Creating?
[EMANUELE] Being Italian, I come from a pretty different cultural and educational background compared to most of my colleagues. When I first started at Leeds Arts University, I struggled a lot as I did not attend a Foundation or have any other previous experience in making whatsoever. However, I have never really let this lack prevent me and instead I decided to put what I was passionate about into my projects in order to develop my individuality as an artist. For example, I have always been interested in Philosophy and History of Art, which I guess led me to base my projects around quite developed concepts rather then using more literal source of inspiration if it makes any sense. Even though I am more confident at creating now, I would say that my favorite part about being a designer is developing a concept and then developing my designs starting from it.
[MIKARA] In an Instagram post, you stated: " Fashion has the power to create new dimensions where people could feel safe to express their authentic selves." How has fashion made you express your new dimensions in career? Life? Confidence?
[EMANUELE] People often ask me why I decided to come to the UK to study something that made my Country of origin famous. The Italian lifestyle surely is an inextinguishable source of inspiration and the works of most Italian designers are beautiful. However, if there is something I must admit, it is that they are rarely conceptual. And for conceptual I don't mean based on some pretentious notions that regard only a few individuals. Fashion really has the power to help change and we all know that "with great power comes great responsibility". Designers need to understand what is really going on in people's lives rather then just follow trends and promote, both with their collections and their means of communication (ads, social medias, etc.), messages of inclusiveness on all levels (gender, ethnicity). Personally, my experience with fashion has opened my eyes on a lot of issues and has given me more confidence to live my life authentically and stand up for my causes.
[MIKARA] What is your definition for fashion?
[EMANUELE] Fashion is an art that utilizes clothing and styling as means to convey a message that is relevant to a particular group of people, in a particular area and in a particular historical moment.
[MIKARA] As you continue to build your brand, how do you want your clients to feel when wearing your garments?
[EMANUELE] As I said, I consider myself a Menswear designer. However the kind of garments I produce are not the classic garments you'd see on the average man. My dream is to push men (mainly straight men) to be more playful and individual with the way they dress and still feel sexy and confident.
[MIKARA] Describe THE perfect Emanuele Piarulli client in 3-5 words?
[EMANUELE] Dandy, Considerate, Witty, Quirky
[MIKARA] Out of all of your products, what would you say is your favorite item to wear and why?
[EMANUELE] A grey sand-washed silk shirt I stole from my dad a couple of years ago. My dad bought it when he was a cool kid in the 80's and I just love everything about it. It's 100% sustainable. Since it has no darts (a design feature that makes garments more fitted), it has a very relaxed silhouette, one of my favourite aspects on men's shirts, which allows you to wear them in different ways. The fabric is very flamboyant and pretty unusual in a man shirt, at least nowadays.
[MIKARA] What luxury designer/brand do you admire the most and why?
[EMANUELE] One of my main idols is Walter Van Beirendonck; his works are very clever and conceptual, aspects which unfortunately often make it difficult for some designers to sell. However, he has been in the industry for over 30 years, and has done sensational collaborations with many brands and teaches in one of the most brilliant art institutions in the world.
[MIKARA] In the next 3-5 years, where would you like to see the brand Emanuele Piarulli?
[EMANUELE] I have two plans in mind: I would like to move to London, have my own studio, possibly join Lulu Kennedy's wonderful project 'Fashion East' and show at London Fashion Week. Otherwise I would like to go back to Italy, maybe open my own store and show at Milan Fashion Week and Pitti Uomo. I feel like young Italian designers are bringing new energy to the Fashion scene and hopefully things will change in the years to come.