From The Roots
It all started with four youngsters, who had a passion for fashion in common. Introducing the Italian streetwear label FROMTHEROOTS®, that is based in Vicenza, a city in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. A project that started originally by planning a single collection, that expanded into a real brand, creating several collections. The brands motto “everything comes from the roots“ sums up quite well their inspirational route they follow for their creations. Check out our interview with the four guys!
When did you start with your label and where did you guys meet each other?
The brand was born in 2016 after a year of designing and experimenting, in Vicenza, the city where where we all grew up and where everything started. After a very short time I, Roberto entered in contact with Brando who I had only known through mutual friends until that moment.
Following the initial meetings and experimentations on the work I instantly recognized Brando’s interest in the project and his abilities in the sector, after which I decided to involve him in what was to come. And what was to come, that thing, is the brand you know as ‘From The Roots.’ Emanuele instead came in with the third collection and Matteo later on too as the work was becoming unbearable for 2 people only and so it was time to enlarge the team to keep up with the financial part and the rising demand plus the fact that we were also more and more pressured by work and studies. That’s how this brand began.
“From the roots” - how did this name come up and what does it mean to you?
From the Roots as Everything Comes From The Roots! More than a name, we consider it a message, a lifestyle. The thing we always keep in mind when we start a new collection, or in general, a new work. Looking to the future, always remembering where we come from, never forgetting our roots, it is a very important message for us, what connects us all and what made us who we are today.
(Also, the fact that FTR was originally conceived as a project with a single collection and then evolved into a real brand like a tree that starts as a humble seed, develops strong roots and slowly and gradually produces branches and leaves. Our first collection (Afrika), was born taking inspiration from African masks and was focused on the African heritage we all share and the brand’s motto: “Everything Comes From The Roots” came about as a consequence of this concept.)
Fashion in Italy is a big thing. How did it happen that African masks inspired you for your first collection?
Starting from an early age I, Roberto, grew up surrounded by African art. I associate the best moments of my adolescence with the weekends I spent in my cousins’ country home, they are half Australians and half African.
Their home is an artistic relic of everything that Africa has to offer on an artistic level: Aboriginal masks, sculptures, photographs, fabrics and various signs coming from the most varied activities, ranging from restaurants ones to those that showcased the typical hairstyles of the Ghanaian barber shops. I believe I have assimilated this aesthetic indirectly throughout my whole childhood, so with the age, it was natural for me to work with them and experiment through them. Till this day I still find them among the most fascinating and mysterious things we can find in this world.
Your Collection “A Stone Of Hope” was created as a form of criticism towards modernity. Did this Collection also changed your behavior outside the fashion world, in your daily life?
It didn't change the behavior in our daily lives as the concept came directly from a conversation we had regarding what our values are and what we think is right. Differently to what usually happens in Italian schools, we always like to have conversations regarding the ideals that our friends and our colleagues share, who they stand for, what they believe in. As we, young people are a collective movement in which we have to find ourselves, share our emotions, our thoughts and our feelings. It was the period after the elections of Trump, when the conversation around fake news started trending with all the questions raised by the media regarding the Russian influence in the elections and the trolls etc..
We were amazed by the lack of knowledge that transpired through the majority of people and how the fake news were therefore able to affect a wide variety of them, distorting their conception of reality and beliefs and of what really happened in the past and in the present. We included this in the collection “manifesto” by saying that: “The lack of knowledge of our own past and roots has led to the formation of a society of people who have a distorted conception of reality with the risk of falling back into the dark passages of our past, since that those who do not know the past are destined to repeat it.”
“Manifesto”, a Collection where you decided to break away from mainstream fashion. Who inspired you for this Collection?
We were inspired by us, we looked within ourselves and arrived at a conclusion. From the roots, for us, before being a brand, as we all know it, is a mean to express our aesthetic and our vision of the world as we see it. It never mattered to follow the trends of the moment, we have always tried to remain authentic while creating a collection, that could satisfy us and the people who followed us and believed in us. Manifesto is a message who’s aim is to firmly represents what we are and what we will always be.
Your label has no external investors, so how do you keep up with new collections and other costs? How important are those values for you of having the self-power to develop something so big on your own?
The idea of an investor who would put his money in the project, just for the interest of making profit out of it and without working for it just sounded as pure bullshit to us. FTR has never been conceived as a project who’s first interest was to make money, we always went further in the project by self-financing it with the money coming from previous collections and this obviously means a slow process growth, but being it a project that was started by 2 kids not even in their eighteens, with almost zero experience in the field, we preferred and still prefer to make it grow gradually and learn what is needed during the journey, and to not force it by putting too much pressure on it with the risk of compromising the integrity of the whole project.
Last but not least: considering all your collections. Which are the favorite pieces for you 4?
Brando: As for Roberto, my favorite ones, from a sentimental point of view, are the t-shirts from the “Afrika” collection. Then overall I would say that my favorite piece is the Vest from the “Space Control Unit” collection.
Emanuele and Matteo: We are both really in love with the “Fullmoon” collection as we think is a perfect mix of colors, that are given by the natural dying process and the print on the hoodie that perfectly matches, also thanks to the post-print washing
courtesy FROM THE ROOTS
interview KATI WEISSMANN
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