CONVERSATION

Adriano Meneghetti

The Diary of Adriano Meneghetti, fashion designer and founder of homonymous brand of accessories. Welcome to Caleido, an inspirational diary, that narrates many stories: about creative people, trends, travels, objects. / Read the Editor’s letter here

 

Diary of: @adrianomeneghettiofficial

Adriano Meneghetti
Ph. @mauroparma_ph
1. One of the concepts that emerges most strongly from his work is that linked to Made in Italy. An Italy that emerges from inspirations, places and know-how. What does Made in Italy mean to you? What do you think are the new challenges that a creative designer like you is called upon to overcome in order to ensure a successful future for Made in Italy?

The expression Made in Italy, which was initially created to protect Italian products from counterfeiting, and today is synonymous with a certain type of quality and know-how, is, in my opinion, a consequence of the very ancient roots of history, culture and traditions developed, preserved and handed down over the centuries. Just think of historical periods such as the Renaissance and the heritage we inherited from it to get an idea. This is why it is very difficult to define the term Made in Italy without being reductive or falling into the usual clichés. As far as I’m concerned, Made in Italy linked to craftsmanship was the starting point of my project and is still the fulcrum of it today: skilful hands and bent garments that make dreams come true. For this reason, I have always said that being born in Italy was a great privilege: being able to turn to the best artisans in the world at or near zero kilometre is a huge advantage. I try to spend as much time as possible in the workshop, our products are defined, evolve and become concrete there, from comparison and learning. The real treasure is knowledge. Today, more than ever, the challenge that every designer or fashion brand should win is to enhance and safeguard the supply chain, marketing products that are truly Made in Italy. At the same time, we should all be committed to demanding clearer and stricter regulations for the use of the Made in Italy label, which is currently much abused and poorly protected.

Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
2. He recently posted a (very stylish) photo of Lucio Battisti on social media, asserting that listening to good music is a key ingredient to living well. Who are 5 traditional and 5 new generation musicians he suggests we start listening to?
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
@adrianomeneghettiofficial

Music is a very powerful art, which influences emotions like few others. It can have many different functions, and for me it is fundamental. I interpret your phrase “starting to listen” as meaning starting to listen to musicians other than the classic sacred monsters such as Battiato, De Andrè, Dalla, De Gregori @degregoriofficial, Paolo Conte @paoloconte_official, Rino Gaetano, ecc… that I believe and hope everyone will listen to. In any case, this is a very difficult question! To name just 5 is a very difficult task, so I will just list the ones I have been listening to lately. In no particular order, as far as traditional artists are concerned, I would mention: Bruno Lauzi, Nada @nadamalanima, Fred Buscaglione, Avion Travel, Enzo Jannacci. Of the new generation: Vinicio Capossela @vcapossela, Subsonica @subsonicaofficial, Bluvertigo @bluvertigoofficial, Ex-Otago @exotago, Brunori Sas @brunorisas.

3. When you think of a new product, how does your creative process take place? What are your sources of inspiration or creative rituals? Are you a solitary creative?

I live, as I believe everyone who does my job does, in a constant creative process, in my case without precise paths or rituals. Creativity, as far as I am concerned, is synonymous with freedom; my approach is free from any scheme or preconception and quite instinctive. I always quote the title of a book published in the early 2000s by a designer I hold in high esteem, Paul Smith, which sums up the essence of creative freedom in this way: “You Can Find Inspiration in Everything*: (*and If You Can’t, Look Again!)”. I think creativity can be found in anything, it’s more how you look at things that makes the difference. I have a very mental creative path, when I have an idea or receive an input to create something, it becomes an obsession that I think about non-stop until it takes a definite shape and I can finally realise it in a drawing or something. In this sense I am a fairly solitary creative, at least in this first phase, until I have cleared my head. After that, however, it is essential to have the help and comparison of the people I respect, above all my wife Carolina, who is the first person to whom I submit any new idea or project.

Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
4. As a brand and as a designer, you are very popular in the Far East. What aspects of that culture fascinate you most? Which people do you recommend following on Instagram?

Far East means many different worlds and cultures. I will focus on Japan, which is our target market and a country I love deeply. There, human relations are governed by education, and the approach to others is always humble. While in the West people are often encouraged to demonstrate their personal value and talents, often resulting in unjustifiably arrogant behaviour, in Japan people prefer to maintain a modest attitude, always ready and willing to learn something new from others. Another characteristic that fascinates me a lot is the obsessive search for perfection, a positive obsessiveness, motivational, of course, that spurs one to never be satisfied, continuing to improve throughout one’s life, being aware that perfection does not exist. In conclusion, the strong sense of civic duty shared by the entire population makes Japan an extremely evolved and enchanting country. On Instagram I recommend following Yasuto Kamoshita @kamoshita, dear friend and founder of United Arrows, KAPITAL @kapitalglobal, the craziest brand in the world and an unmissable stop on my trips to Japan, Berberjin @berberjin_harajuku, one of the best vintage stores in the world and Recouture @recouture__, a “shoemaker 2.0” specialising in customisation: they do crazy things!

Adriano Meneghetti
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
5. In his profile, he begins by describing himself as a “sentimental” person. I was intrigued by this narrative order, so I’m taking advantage of Caleido, a travel diary that tells the stories of people and objects, to ask his for 3 anecdotes that help us get to know his better from this point of view.

Being sentimental is a part of my character linked to a certain type of sensitivity that I have learned to appreciate over the years. I don’t know any precise anecdotes about it, but I think that being sentimental includes a whole range of actions and approaches to life and relationships, with people and animals as well as objects. I can hardly throw away anything that has lived important moments with me. Every object that surrounds me is an ambassador and custodian of memories and experiences that have contributed to making me who I am today.

Adriano Meneghetti

@adrianomeneghettiofficial

6. Your work and your brand image reveal a continuous contamination between the fascination of the past and contemporary aesthetics. Does this allow your products to be timeless, like a beautiful watch that accompanies us through life, transcending passing fashions? How do you manage to bring these two dimensions into dialogue, transforming them into an element of identity?

Timeless is one of the keywords of my project. It’s a question of taste and inclination. Personally, I have always been fascinated by products that last so long that they can be handed down from generation to generation. On the subject of watches, the payoff of a major brand states that “their products are never really owned, they are simply kept and passed on”. I don’t think I could have summed it up any better. I have always tried to start from the past to write the future and this has also helped me to be consistent without ever forgetting who I am and where I come from. It is important to remember, however, that the past must be a starting point and not a cage in which to remain trapped: you live in the present thinking about the future, always.

Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
7. Your brand is a single-product brand (or almost). If you were to explore other creative fields (even outside fashion) what would you like to design? How would you do it?

In fact, we produce and distribute almost all accessories apart from shoes and, for almost four years now, we have also started a small project of made-to-measure garments which, for the moment, is still reserved for an intimate few. Let’s say that the belt, the product from which we started, is still the most developed and recognised accessory. My vocation and artistic training have always led me to explore several fields at once: art, architecture, interior and product design, graphics, photography, fashion. This has been my daily bread for more than 20 years. I say this with humility and speak of my passions, which does not mean that I feel like a photographer or an architect, of course not. If I had to choose, architecture and interior design would be among the very first options, they are disciplines that I feel very close to and for obvious reasons more challenging to realise than the others mentioned. I would do it in the way I approach everything: trying to be honest with myself, respecting the genius loci and seeking my own uniqueness. As Giovanni Gastel used to say, “We humans are all similar but unrepeatable beings and the real challenge is to bring out our uniqueness”. Which is why you choose one person, one thing or one product over another.

Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
8. Your communication universe, unlike many other brands, is very inclusive. You are hardly ever seen, and very often it is the people who wear your products who take centre stage. What is your favourite way to relate to them? What is the social dimension (and social) in which you feel most comfortable?

I’m happy that it shows. I’ve always thought that the product should come first: if there’s no substance, you can create the most beautiful images, you can sell yourself to the best of your ability but you’ll have little durability or credibility. The madness of social networks has, in some respects, subverted the order of importance of things and I have always distanced myself from it with conviction. Self-centredness is boring, it bores anyone after a while, but not products, if they are good, they last forever. The relationship with those who wear our products is very honest and natural. As it should be, they choose us, and we have always placed great importance on customer service: total transparency and quick replies, in real time if possible, and if necessary, we follow the customer through all the stages of purchase, especially nowadays where this is mostly done online without having the opportunity to touch the product. In this increasingly digital age, providing an accurate service is even more important. The dimension I feel most comfortable in, however, is one that includes human relations. It’s great to be able to make calls with someone on the other side of the world, wherever they are, but many times a handshake or a pat on the back can solve hours of emails and phone calls.

Adriano Meneghetti
9. What will you be looking for from the MM Award contestants? What are the characteristics of the young creatives that fascinate you most?

I will be looking for culture, uniqueness and honesty: essential characteristics that come before creativity itself.

Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial
10. What is an object in your home that you would never give up? What is the memory associated with it? Can you send us a photo taken by you?

An old statue of St. Anthony holding the baby Jesus, which belonged to my wife’s grandmother, Marilù, who was devoted to him. She was an extraordinary woman who became a third grandmother to me. So extraordinary that our eight-month-old daughter is called Marilù in her honour. Legend has it that when Marilù made requests of Saint Anthony, she made the Child disappear until the requests were fulfilled. I’ve always found this very funny and ingenious at the same time, and considering the type of woman Marilù was, aristocratic and of infinite class, it always made me smile because it was so unexpected.

Adriano Meneghetti
@adrianomeneghettiofficial

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