We asked Florentina some questions about her rising carreer, finding out with pleasant surprise that she would be made of cashmere but, depending from the days, sometimes she’d be 100% polyester.
Would you define yourself an artist?
At the moment I define myself as a young creative person working hard to get her Bachelor degree haha. But sure I love art and trying to create so called art but I just never thought about defining myself as an artist. Also at the moment I try to first make it in the fashion industry before concurring the art world.
Why did you start making clothes?
I always really liked clothes. My sister had a closet full of crazy designer clothes, and for me as a kid it felt like Narnia playing dress up in there. Glitter dresses, fur coats, kitten heels and puffy Moncler jackets inspire me till today. With 14 years I started to study knitwear design at the „Vienna Fashion School“ in my home country Austria. During my studies I started liking making beautiful garments more and more and decided then to continue my studies in Antwerp.
You think you will always make clothes or you could create something else?
I can imagine creating something else but at the moment creating garments feels just like the right thing to do. Crafty work like working with clay, epoxy, metal and other materials, I really enjoy and are part of my collection but those pieces are not always clothes. At the moment I am also working together on projects with my boyfriend Marnik Boekaerts, who is a film maker and photographer, where I try to do set design and styling which I also enjoy a lot.
What does knitting mean for you?
I started with studying knitting, before I learned how to work with sewing machines and fabric, so it does mean a lot to me. I love creating knitwear pieces but during my study I really realised that I not only do knitwear and also try myself on the sewing machine. In my last collection I didn’t really used a lot of knit but the collection I am working on at the moment will include some pieces and I can’t wait to start working on them. Knitwear will always inspire me.
How would you define the fashion panorama in Antwerp?
Antwerp is a small city but still has a lot to offer. Fashion wise it is the hometown of the Antwerp 6 and thats why we have great stores but also Antwerp has 2 times a year a huge "Antwerp Designer Sale" where you find old season fabrics and clothes from Designers like Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons and Walter Van Beirendonck. What is also a big plus to live and study in Belgium is that you are fast in Paris and London, where I try to buy fabrics from time to time.
Lately people are showing a lot of attention to your creations. What is the key for this success in your opinion?
I am very happy that I get so much attention for this collection cause it was so far also the collection I was most happy with. Instagram helped me a lot with bringing my creations out there. A friend of mine photographer Dries Verhaegen took a backstage show picture of one of my looks which then got published on the students platform „1granary“ and that was kind of my kickstart. Lots of people showed their interest in my work and I got a lot of requests from fantastic stylists and photographers from all over the world. I am very grateful that my collection is traveling around so much, also a bit jealous because my garments travelled already more destinations in the world then I did.
If you could identify yourself with a piece of clothing, what would you be?
A big coat. 100% Cashmere. Sometimes also 100% Polyester.
courtesy FLORENTINA LEITNER
interview SILVIA MACCHIONI
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