My story


Me, Eugenio Vazzano, craftsman in Sicily

Hands that replace machines.

A workshop instead of a factory.

A passion that becomes a job.

 

This is my idea of an artisan. An artistic artisan, as I have often been described, who doesn’t rely on digital technology, but instead is deeply rooted in high level handcrafting techniques. Skills that come from the ancient italian, and specifically Sicilian, crafting tradition.

I have two recurring themes: Sicily, intended as love for my land; a love that inspires all my creations; and Art, which I infuse in everything I do. All my creations – clothes, bags, kaftans, tapestries, Moorish heads – are the result of a deep bond with the traditions of my land: everyday I learn something new from it and it constantly feeds my creativity, and together with a relentless research they help me to dig deeper into the selection of materials and the way I work with them.

 

I am the last of seven siblings, born and raised in Melilli. When I was 14 years old I moved to the USA. I wanted to study art, and in order to pay for my studies I worked on various jobs: I was a fishmonger, greengrocer, and worked even in tobacco plantations. When I came back to Italy, I decided to live in Florence in order to attend the The Florence Academy of Art, while working in a prestigious haute couture boutique at the same time.

The right thing for me to say here, would be that I am constantly analysing the market while carefully studying how to position myself in it, but the truth is that I only follow my instinct. I look around and find inspiration in faces, bodies, but also situations, moments and landscapes that become an abstract idea behind my creations, and try to communicate those specific vibes and energy.

 

I call my creations “pieces of art à porter”. I consider them to be not just simple clothes, pieces of furniture or home design pieces, but actually in a way works of art, each of them unique and handmade, with the ambitious goal of making whoever wears them feel unique.

The same goes for my pieces of furniture and design for the home: I believe that the environment we are immersed in reflects our personality as much as the clothes we wear, by telling a story.

 

When I used to live in Miami, in the ‘90s, my desire to learn and explore led me to visit a few warehouses where second-hands clothes for the homeless were stored. Those clothes made with original materials from the 20s to the 50s were my starting point for my first patchworks. That original idea of rejected, unwanted scraps and clothes has evolved to now include rescued and repurposed textiles, processed and hand-dyed by me using natural dyes.

 

My workshop in Melilli used to be an old “caponata” factory, a typical Sicilian sweet-and-sour dish made with a selection of local vegetables, and this amazing space is all dedicated to creativity, using and combining precious and unique textiles such as silk, cotton, linen, cashmere, brocade and jacquard.

Una filosofia di vita e di stile

“inhabiting the body and dressing the house”

 

The human body is a vessel of experiences, and by wearing specific clothes we add to it significance, which plays a crucial role in building a cultural and artistic identity. I believe that there is a strict connection amongst speech, the human body and clothes. A deep link that allows me to define fashion as a language, a means of communication. There is a deep connection between clothes – but also objects we surround ourselves with at home – and our socio-cultural identity, the way we choose to identify ourselves as part of a community which is at the same time local and global.

The decision of coming back to my birth town, Melilli, comes from the need to reconnect with my roots and my familiarity with the cultural heritage of this beautiful island: It includes historical references, cultural suggestions, artistic inspirations and a complex system of customs peculiar to the island of Sicily and its traditions.

 

What’s left from my juvenile experience in the US is a “global curiosity”, which allows me to naturally put together the richness of Baroque style and elements of Arte Povera (literally “Poor Art”), and has brought me to create my workshop, “Melilli Factory”, where all my creations come to life thanks to the passionate work of a team of 11 people.

 

What we do in our workshop is bring back to life ancient traditions from the past and try to rely on recycling materials creatively as much as possible: every scrap of leftover fabric is the beginning of a new story, the founding piece of a new work of art. I am fascinated with traditional fabrics and have a preference for fine silks, natural cotton, linen and velvet, and I mix these with less common types of fabrics, such as coarse jute, oriental wool and denim, which are then dyed, and hand-refined.