New Craftsmanship June 1st, 2021

Aroma30: the contemporary evolution of traditional tailoring

by Valeria Oppenheimer

 

Working slowly, in harmony with nature, respecting people and the environment. Is it possible today in the fashion system? Michela Fasanella, the founder of Aroma30, follows a slow philosophy, focuses on quality, and adopts an experimental approach that revolutionizes traditional Italian tailoring. 

Your career in fashion started a long time ago. Would you tell us your story?

I can say that my fashion journey was born with me. I started designing clothes even before knowing how to write. What pushed me to start will always be a mystery. At the end of high school, I enrolled at Accademia di Costume e Moda in Rome. When I concluded my studies, I had beautiful experiences, including an internship in Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli's team at Valentino and a period of work in the style office of Ferragamo. I owe a lot to the people I worked with. It was incredibly kind of them to share their knowledge and train me in the creative and technical aspects of the job.

When and how was Aroma30 born? Why this name?

Right after those experiences, I felt the need to create some garments to acquire more confidence in fabric choice and dealing with modelers and tailorings. I was not planning on setting up a brand, I just wanted to learn and deal with aspects I had not dealt with before to feel more confident about my skills. I gradually started selling my garments, initially to friends and acquaintances and then to shops and private customers. The satisfaction of growing developing my vision led me to keep on until today. I named my brand Aroma30 because I have always seen it as a process in evolution, something never accomplished and finished. I chose the name as if it was the name of an unfinished perfume, only identified by the label. 

Which is your brand's philosophy? 

The process behind the production of the garments is slow, closer to the old concept of tailoring than fashion as we mean today. I don't create seasonal collections, but the offer is based on a selection of continuous garments, I sometimes add capsule collections or unique pieces with an artisanal touch. All garments are custom-made by small independent laboratories in Rome, my city. I think that today, we designers and entrepreneurs have the fortune to reach a larger market than in the past, thanks to the Internet. Aroma30 is the contemporary evolution of a traditional concept. Many customers order garments abroad and send me their measures and sizes online through a service provided remotely, that has the same connection and authenticity characteristics as a direct relationship. Local customers can live the same experience as in the past: they come to the study to see the collections, try on clothes or take the measures, discuss potential changes and valuate colors. 

Which materials do you use? Where are your clothes produced?

I prefer to use fabrics with a natural composition or purchased from businesses' overstocks to give a new life to existing materials and avoid oversupply. All garments are produced in independent laboratories, which I have been turning to for many years. Mutual respect, trust, and the feeling I have with my collaborators give the process a unique mark. I personally think that the strength of Made in Italy lies in these aspects still today: in partnerships where each skill is valued and respected and the craftsman is not just a simple executer behind a machine but is an active part of the process. Each worker's dignity is sacred to me. 

Today doing fashion means taking great responsibilities, especially in terms of ethics and sustainability. Is Aroma30 trying to be sustainable? If so, how?

The first steps I took in these terms mainly followed my values and intuition rather than an actual path. That led me to explore solutions that today are recognized as part of an ethical and sustainable process: a design conceived to be long-lasting, made-to-order manufacture to avoid oversupply, the use of fabrics from overstocks, and the preferential use of natural compositions. In the last few years, I have experimented with techniques of natural dye and botanical prints, using leaves, roots, bark, and spices. I use these techniques for few unique pieces or limited-edition garments, whose final color depends on the material and its characteristics, in an unpredictable way but always unique. Still concerning sustainability, I create small accessories with the leftover fabric cut-outs, I use recyclable packaging and I have added a section on the website related to clothing care according to the type of fabric so that they can endure over time and be recycled. At the moment, I am studying fits that can be worn even in case of size variations. It is still difficult today to be entirely sustainable, but I trust that we will soon be backed by a greater sensibilization of the entire chain, from supplier to producers of raw materials. 

When the pandemic is over, what can we expect from the fashion of the future? 

The world is changing at a high pace, the pandemic has accelerated ongoing processes: the request for more inclusive communication, a transparent path of the supply chain from the raw materials to solutions for the end of the product life cycle. I believe that the number of platforms for selling pre-loved garments and collecting recyclable fibers might increase together with proposals of enduring design and sustainable manufacture. Fashion has always been a symbol of change. Now, the challenge is to bring this transformation also into the regeneration of the final product. 

 

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