Milan-based fashion designer Aber Gazzi is slowly taking the industry by storm with her knitwear designs, which turn art into fashion and vice versa. Throughout her career, Aber Gazzi has worked with designers such as Julien MacDonald and Pierantonio Gaspari, and was one of the founding members behind of the creative duo Bar Bar & Val Val, which was very active and praised in London a few years ago.
After studying fashion in London, where she also invented a new fabric, Aber Gazzi moved to Italy, where she founded her eponymous label Aber Gazzi and has been invited to many fashion shows, weeks and events all around the world ever since.
Proudly half blind as well as a human rights activist, Aber Gazzi has never stopped mixing art with fashion and, with a new line about to debut, we decided to ask her for an interview to see what it takes to create, invent and bring a brand and a collection to life, from the very early stages to unveiling it to public.
We hope her story will inspire many other emerging designers to follow their dreams!
– First things first, would you like to introduce yourself?
“I am a British knitwear designer and artist based in Milan, Italy. I live in a small studio in the heart of the city, where I make all of my works. I love creating pieces. For me, it is like bringing a sculpture to life, and the wear gives it the final finish by making it alive, with the wearer actually wearing it or hanging it as a piece of art.
What I love about my works is that I get to study people from different sizes and heights, as well as try to understand what they have in their mind; most of all, however, I love studying their body languages. That is where I get most of my influences from.
I believe that one’s body should control the garment, and not the other way around. That is how I create most of my garments’ figures, i.e. making the wearer control the ensemble. I believe each piece has a story to tell.”
– When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer?
“Initially, I did not want to become a fashion designer. I was a painter and I actually wanted to study fashion photography, but I was pushed by different universities to study fashion and design. While professors at Brent College wanted me to study fashion, those at LCF (London College of Fashion) encouraged me to specialize in knitwear. I am still thankful for them showing me something that I still love and currently work with.”
– What do you think it takes to build a career as a fashion designer?
“You need to have passion and believe in yourself. It is very important to know your kind of market and learn how different businesses work. It will really help you build up your brand.
No matter how many mistakes you make in the process, they will only make you stronger.”
– What kind of difficulties did you experience when first approaching the fashion industry?
“At first, being more of an artist rather than a fashion designer, my creations were more artistic than wearable. I love art, so I had to learn how to make art wearable. That is how I built my brand. It is artistic yet wearable. Art is what runs through my veins, so I would describe what I do is an artistic kind of fashion.”
– What inspires you the most, when designing your creations?
“I am inspired by people. The fact that the human mind can hide many secrets while the body always tells the truth fascinates me.
Everything stared when I was 3-year-old, I was very shy and not that talkative. One of the things I used to do most was watching people interact and behave with each other. At times, I was also interested in how they interacted with me.
As the years passed by, I also began travelling, meeting people from different cultures. I heard their stories, learnt about their cultures and countries… I met so many incredible people throughout my life that whenever I think about it, I get emotional and all I want to do is cry and laugh at the same time.
Their body languages, their stories and all the travels I made just blew my mind and became my main sources of inspirations. Whenever I think about them, everything takes shape in my mind and, when I actually start creating the pieces, it is so overwhelming I almost feel my heart skipping a beat.”
– You are now about to launch a new t-shirt line. What were your inspirations for the designs? How did you select the materials and patterns?
“The inspiration came from human rights (I define myself as an anti-war, anti-racism, and anti-discrimination kind of person). The collection is called “(Blind)”. We may have different believes, different skin colors, different languages, but we all still belong to one human race.
There are 6 different designs and the collection is limited edition, so there are only 600 pieces in total. There are 100 pieces per design, but each copy is unique and different from the others. When you see them all together they all look the same, but in reality they slightly differ in their prints and embroideries, and that is because I handmade them in my little studio.
I produced all of them from the printing process to the embroideries. The prints are 3D to 2D, so that when you close your eyes, you can actually touch and feel the printed patters. They are entirely made of cotton and the embroideries are made of wool. They are unisex and in one size, with only the necklines featuring different cuts.”
– What are your plans for the future?
“My biggest plan for the future is to open places for women in Africa and Asia to work in. I would like them to help create my works. There are so many talented people around the world and working with them and supporting them would be a dream come true for me.”
You can follow Aber Gazzi on Instagram at @abergazzi_official.
Photos courtesy of Aber Gazzi