OLOAPITREPS was born on the mantras of perfectionism, haute-couture finishing and hand-crafting. In a constant search to satisfy their vivid imagination and nurture artistic lust, OLOAPITREPS treats concepts as evolving lifestyles and thirsts for a birthing cycle of garment offspring.
How did OLOAPITREPS evolutionise?
I started as a collector of everything and anything in my early age: not just sneakers and accessories, but also toys, animals, strange objects, books, magazines and more. As I was growing up, my passion/obsession turned to clothing. In my constant search for more and more items that would satisfy my vivid imagination and nurture my artistic lust, I quickly came to realise that what I was looking for didn’t actually exist. That is when I started designing my own clothes, giving physical life to what I had in my mind. I have to thank my aunt Linda for her great help during my first steps into garment creation. I still am an avid collector. I love unique pieces, artefacts, rare stuff that have no apparent utility but just hold an unexpected beauty. And fashion pieces, of course. I religiously do not wear the clothes and shoes in my private collection.
Do you think your background in Italy has influenced your work and if so, in what way?
Absolutely. While I don’t identify myself as the typical Italian, a lot of Italy can be found in my work. Italians are historically and generically overly self-indulgent when it comes to artistic expression and aesthetics in general… so I guess I am very Italian in that [way].
Moreover, all my garments are entirely made in Italy and I personally follow every single stage of the making process. Perfectionism, haute-couture finishing and hand-crafting are my mantras: nothing industrialised or mass-produced will ever appear in my collections. Most of the fabrics that I use in my creations come from Italy and I have a close relationship with all my Italian suppliers: they understand my ideas and truly appreciate my work. Along with that of my family, they represent my strongest support in my career. I consider myself extremely lucky to have such exceptionally skilled people around me.
What impels the OLOAPITREPS concepts?
I don’t believe in static concepts, but more in timeless, constantly evolving lifestyles. I believe in the process of transforming and developing what is around you in your daily life. Mine is a never-ending natural urge of manipulating what I see as beauty, in order to elevate it to the next level. You need to be part of the transformation process and, once you are in it, you can never get out.
What ignited your individualistic aesthetic?
Not the fashionable, but rather the contemporary and sometimes the non-existent is what inspires me. I like to create new specimens of garments and what I wish is for these new species to mate and give life to even more new species. My continuous creation process is fluid, instinctual and spontaneous, mostly close to nature than it is to technology and to the traditional production chain. Of course, I have a long-term vision for the future of OLOAPITREPS, but I tend not to plan too much within my next collections, as I like to surprise - even myself. Sometimes it is the fabric that chooses its future garment design and I just have to go with it.
Fast fashion is being disputed and rejected more and more now. What motivated your decision to not participate in this cycle and work to your own timeline?
Far long before the dispute became so current and urgent, I have always been suspicious of fast fashion. The thing is that when I buy a designer piece for myself, I do it with the idea of keeping [it] until I die! I would never separate from something that I have truly desired and finally made mine, something that is trend-defying, perfectly crafted and that I would want to treasure for years to come.
When I design my own collections, I do it with this idea in mind, hoping that others will feel the same about my creations. I’m firmly motivated into creating something sacred and eternal, that gives never-ending pleasure to those who own it. The time, skills, care and attention to detail put into the creation of every single [one] of my garments set the OLOAPITREPS brand onto a completely different level of communication. No judgement or bragging here - I simply like to communicate something that fast fashion cannot do.
On a practical level, I also believe that those who purchase fast fashion aren’t cleverly investing their monetary resources. While a designer piece lasts forever and its value increases over time, a piece of fast fashion has a very short lifespan and needs replacing almost immediately. Sad the huge amount of synthetic fabrics won’t dissipate into thin air as fast…
Similarly, can you tell me a bit about your up-cycling tendencies in design and how using this technique came about?
Even though I have never considered myself as being strictly into sustainable fashion, I have often found myself spontaneously embracing the idea of upcycling for my creations. We are surrounded by so many beautiful and interesting things and sometimes we just forget about them and they go in disuse or are thrown away. I simply try to keep reusing them, not necessarily by destroying their past, but more like giving them a new chance at life through reinvention.
Used garments are collected, cut open and sewn back together in new shapes. I like to see the final result as a one-of-a-kind object to admire and collect. Obviously, I don’t just randomly pick up used fabrics. Research and selection are pivotal to reach an interesting outcome in this process. Most of the times this is the hardest part. It is a long process and not easy to explain, but I can say that my creations are the outcome of what I live on a daily basis.
Unrestricted gender is also a big theme in your creations. How did your artistic perceivement lead to this?
I am by definition a no-denominational designer. I don’t believe in joining ideological, sociological or political parties, I just don’t believe in gender and have never asked myself this type of question. I try not to overthink it too much. Everything came together very naturally, without the need to define the gender (or no gender) of my collections.
As I mentioned, I believe in a transforming process: everything is constantly evolving quickly. We live in a constant transformation flux and, rather than wasting time to stop and ask ourselves too many useless questions, we should just live [in] the moment before it’s gone forever to turn into a new stage and a new moment. It might sound like a cliché, but I believe that everyone should take themselves less seriously. We should do the same with clothes.
What inspires you so much about London street style and street style in general?
London is in my heart and my city of adoption. I believe there is no better place on earth where you can find so much diversity. All those different cultures from all over the world collide on these streets, influence each other, dialogue together and the visual aesthetics you get in return are exceptionally contrasted yet fluid and harmonic somehow.
I do, however, love so many other places in the world that are out of the fashion radar, where you can always randomly see something unexpected and inspiring. I’m always very curious to see how people interact with their clothes on the streets. I never look for perfection or luxury on the streets, I’m quite the opposite. I love unconscious street style: I’m a big fan of unconsciously stylish street style mistakes.
Right now, there is a lot of debate about where fashion is going, and the popularisation of street style as opposed to the thriving of exclusivity and glamour. Where do you stand on this?
You don’t need to identify yourself or your style with either of these sides of fashion. Just be! Me, I just love individuality: whether it’s influenced by street style, by catwalks or mainstream trends, or by all at once. I don’t get myself involved in [these] kinds of debates.
Can you tell us anything about what you're working on right now?
We are working on a very exciting and unique project, which requires a long development process and planning. I have always dreamed of working with a large team of people - a community - and of sharing my ideas to create something with the only intent of being inspiring and pleasing on many different levels. And it is finally happening. I don’t necessarily work with a business mind: most of the time I’ll try to avoid the money talk, as otherwise it would be very difficult for me to imagine something that is above expectations and beauty. I can tell you that the new project is breaking the rules of seasonality as well.
interview KATE BISHOP
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