Interview With Gabriele Santoriello (Owner and Designer)
Italian Family is a project born in Cava de’ Tirreni, Campania (Italy) where the sartorial skills of expert tailors are part of the region’s DNA.
The brand was launched by Gabriele Santoriello who, after his cooperation with various Italian fashion companies, decided to start his own project with the help and collaboration of his own family, that has gained a fortieth-year experience in the field and specializes precisely in the tailoring of classic trousers and men’s suits, even if the idea is to bring a total look as soon as possible.
Revisiting classic menswear, high-value fabrics, research and innovation are the major aspirations of the brand, who blends Made in Italy sartorial tradition with a fashion unique product.
Each product is a limited edition, all Made in Italy and all Made in Family!
1. Please let us know more details about the “Italian Family” company. History and success story
The starting point for the Italian Family collections is surely the Neapolitan tailoring in terms of construction and forms, with a trendy twist and more current revisiting in the details and in the combination of fabrics and accessories, while remaining attentive to the proportions in the total.
A classic soul but at the same time playful and sporty, which mixes the elegant with casual, shapes, volumes, fabrics and colours, where sometimes the casual part emerges, others more elegant but often combined together.
Fabrics from the classical world, which become protagonists for sportier pants or jackets with particular accessories and details belonging more from the urban world, tuxedo shirts that can made of printed and coloured fabrics or a suit that do not need to have a shirt and tie but also t-shirt or shirt with a relaxed fit. Inspirations, however, also come from the world of travel and for this reason, some garments are designed for those people who often move just like in the current reality where we live. Trousers with an elastic waist only behind are an example, which ensures comfort but at the same time are hidden or the drawstring trousers with more classic fabrics to remain comfortable even in less comfortable situations.
Another characteristic of Italian Family is that of wanting to take inspiration from the own culture and territory, we are near the Amalfi Coast, the city of ceramic, with this ceramic we have created accessories and charms hand made and hand-painted.
2. Could you please give us brief information about 2021 new collections and its details?
The Italian Family S/S 21 collection contains the best of the brand’s concept: The art of the Neapolitan tailoring tradition combined with contrasting elements as shapes and colors that often take inspiration from the Amalfi Coast panorama, the birthplace of designer Gabriele Santoriello.
Fabrics and details from the classic world, which become stars for more sporty trousers or jackets with particular accessories and color games, that lead to a simple but charming final result, comfortable, witty but elegant too.
Stylish clothes for him and for her that however become versatile, practical but above all comfortable; Comfortable like trousers to wear casually.
Suitable for going to work, on the subway or train but also for driving the car with comfort.
In short, a garment suited for different occasions: From an “aperitivo”, to a business meeting, from a trip to a walk in the city.
3. How was the impact of COVID Pandemic on your business and Italian fashion industry?
COVID19 has been the cause of so much damage everywhere and in almost all sectors. In Italy, perhaps the fashion system was among those most affected, from big cities like Milan, which had to give up all the events related to the fashion week, fairs, events, meetings with buyers and showrooms, etc. but also other smaller realities as manufacturers of fabrics, accessories and all the various manufacturers.
Clothing sales have fallen, both due to the closure of businesses and an understandable decline of desire. Many companies have had to reinvent themselves. Reinventing oneself, I think is a keyword for this situation.
Those who started producing work coats, some masks, even us in the first part of the lockdown for don’t stand completely still, we have produced masks by donating them as a gift on the purchases on our e-commerce www.italian-family.it
On a positive note, however, there was. The greater use of online platforms to make purchases, even those who normally did not use e-commerce, have now approached this “world”, for example, we have been able to see it with the many requests of adult people who asked us how to buy, or that in any case, it was obvious that they were not great connoisseurs of the web world.
The web was also helpful to the services, instead of in physical showrooms, the presentations were done virtually. Even castings with models have gone digital. It can be said that e-commerce has been a lifesaver for brands. Especially for the big ones. It was certainly a help for us too. Fortunately, we are still a small and young reality and COVID19 has not caused lot of damage, but it has certainly slowed us down in our growth.
My hope, as a creative, is to be able to see returning to thinking about fashion as a basic necessity and not just as an economic machine, also because, perhaps for our culture is it really.
4. As a leader manufacturer of High-Quality fashion clothing what do you think about the fashion industry in the Middle East and Africa Region and its potential in future?
I have always been fascinated by the world of the Middle East and Africa, in particular for the different cultures and traditions that often seem really far from ours, perhaps this is what makes it so fascinating in my eyes.
Surely these are increasingly growing areas in the fashion system, both as regards consumers, who are looking for high-quality products (and for this reason, the Middle East has always been, more than other countries, interested in luxury clothes or in any case great excellence) both in physical stores (for example in Italy, in the most important fashion streets, among the most interested in top of the range products, they are people from the Middle East) but also through e-commerce;
But also a growth from the “employees” of fashion to the many new designers both from the African and Middle Eastern world, who look abroad as a new market, but also who want to represent their history, (Today consumers want to wear clothes that reflect even their own culture) fashion weeks both in the continent and abroad or the various participations in those in different countries. All this certainly leads to guaranteeing important opportunities for the protagonists of fashion, both with the import of great Western fashion garments and the export of local traditions.
5. COVID 19 shows us we should rely more on sustainability and green products, please let our readers know how much the fashion industry is green? Do you have any special attention to sustainability in your products?
We have been talking for many years about the protection of the planet, but today more than ever it is necessary to apply these concepts also to fashion, which remains one of the largest polluting industries in the world. Surely in addition to the concept of environmental protection and more green choices and not only in the fashion world, this has led to making the concepts “bio”, “eco-sustainable” and “green” almost a trend, but all the better, even if many times we tend to use these terms incorrectly or in any case not 100% truthful.
More and more companies are aiming to explore new alternatives to traditional materials, replacing them with new and more sustainable fabrics. We too, in our collections, try to help and contribute; We use many natural fabrics such as linen, cotton and wool, we have recently added hemp, trying to limit dyes in industrial laundries that use chemicals and release polluting vapours, I’m always looking for innovative materials such as organic pulp cotton buttons, with particular processing and pressing of the cotton.
I created these buttons collaborating with a company that produces accessories, which in addition to being certainly a novelty are also a choice that meets the problem of pollution, the buttons are also biodegradable.
Organic cotton, hemp and linen are becoming part of many collections of different fabric companies, with the organic choice, the chemical steps due to fertilizers and pesticides for plant cultivation are eliminated.
Slowly, also the final consumer is becoming more attentive to these details, and more and more often there are those seeking greater guarantees on the product and traceability of the supply chain.
Sustainability is therefore certainly one of the keywords of the current fashion market, to make everything more real than the simple concept, we, fashion producers, should offer less quantity but focus on quality and consumers, opt for more “sustainable” choices and not aim only to “fill the closets”. More selection, which often also means refinement.
In my opinion, we are in the era where we should really start thinking that “a lot” does not help us and does not make us more interesting, better to aim for less but of quality and not only in terms of fashion.