INTERVIEW WITH THE DESIGNER ELISA GENTILE:
How was your passion for fashion born?
From a young age I was always drawn to art and design. As I got older, I found that I was able to express myself through fashion and my clothing choices. I learned to sew from my grandmother who was a seamstress and introduced me to the craft. I was always fascinated by garment construction and as I came into my teenage years, I started taking professional sewing classes. It was then, that I started to take my passion more seriously and decided to pursue it as a career.
What is your favourite part about being a designer?
My favourite part about being a designer is storytelling and the design process. I find it so interesting how we’re able to tell a story, evoke an emotion or inspire others through this art. The beginning stages of coming up with a theme and story, developing it through draping and design, and then finalizing it into a garment is a really special process that constantly motivates me. I do love the construction aspect of being a designer and presenting the final product, but the initial process of experimenting and designing is what I love most.
Who and which things are the inspiration while creating any design?
I believe that my inspiration comes from my consumption. I think the world around me and the world I try to create for myself is translated through my work. The art I look at, the surroundings I’m in, and the people I’m with are all a reflection of who I am and what my work is. My process is centered in emotion and thought, provoking feelings and telling stories. I’m constantly inspired by new ideas, new ways of thinking and innovation. This challenges me to push myself to create designs with a story that others can relate to, while creating a world that others feel safe in. While doing that, I try to push my creative boundaries with influence from art in all forms. I am careful with what I consume, allowing my work to be as authentic and positive as possible.
If you could use 3 words to describe your brand, what would they be?
Three words to describe my brand would be elegant, innovative and refined.
How do you want women to feel when wearing your clothes?
I think it’s important to make clothing that people feel their best selves in. As a designer, I hope anyone who wears my garments feels empowered and inspired.
What is fashion for you?
To me, fashion is a part of who I am. I see fashion as a way of expression and an art form that is constantly present and relevant. Fashion is a source of inspiration, reminding me that there is always meaning behind every creation and connection.
Which of your latest designs are you most proud of? What exactly makes you
proud of it?
One of my latest creations that I’m most proud of is the Amara Top from my Ruhe collection. That piece means a lot to me because I often have a hard time bringing together my more fantasy-like designs with an everyday piece that people can wear. I think through this piece I was able to solve that problem and combine the two worlds of couture and ready to wear. I believe the Amara Top sums up the essence of my brand which is why I’m so proud to have created it.
What is your design philosophy?
My design philosophy is about intention and art. I always put intention into any piece created and make sure that what I’m sharing is authentic. The work I create stems from emotion and thought, which makes it very personal and fulfilling. I aspire to create pieces that can be looked at as an art form, however I push myself to make them as wearable, fashionable and functional as possible. An essential part of my designs are quality. My technical skills and craftsmanship are one of the main reasons why I love to design, it’s important for me to make pieces that are just as beautiful on the inside, as they are on the outside.
How important is Made in Italy for you? Is Italy inspiring to you?
Being Italian, there’s nothing more inspiring than my culture. I’m always able to pull a source of inspiration when thinking about Italian lifestyle, art, scenery or design. There are so many aspects of the culture that are innate to my work because of how I was raised which constantly pushes me to create. This reminder of my heritage allows my brand to stay true to the craft and brings a connection to the European culture. Made in Italy is important to me because I find it fascinating to create in the surroundings that inspire you. Currently, I do produce from Toronto but hope to expand and have garments that are made in Italy.
What do you believe are the essential elements needed to be successful as a fashion designer?
To be successful as a fashion designer, I think you need a strong sense of design, an understanding of garment construction and a strong focus. I think as you grow, your design style and direction can change, but it is important to keep that sense of brand integrity and intention. With a narrow focus, your meaning becomes stronger allowing a designer to translate any idea into a garment.
How do you see the future of your brand?
I want my brand to be looked at as an art form and a source for inspiration. With a heavy art and design influence, I hope that consumers recognize my way of creating and are able to appreciate the intention and construction behind it.