If the world ended tomorrow, you should make sure to buy their clothes today. Gall is the Rome-based brand you didn’t know about but that will make you fall head over heels. Justin and Chiara, its founders, fell in love with each other and started to build a future dictated by themselves, freed from conventionalism and full of hard work, passion and understanding. 
Through their clothes, they prepare for a dystopic future scenario where greed and surveillance have taken over completely. In their Spring/Summer 2020 collection, which they presented earlier in July at Altaroma, Gall went the extra mile and presented shimmering silver garments perfect for another planet or outer space in contrast with other pieces that featured more organic textures and colours like blue, lilac, and turquoise. Titled Nihil, it refers to nothingness as “nothing is the space for creation, existence and life itself. It’s the emptiness that allows rebirth continuously”, explains Justin. Today, we speak with the US-born designer about anonymity, dystopia and the pros and cons of being based in Umbria.
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Gall is run by Justin and Chiara, how did your paths cross?
Our paths crossed at a night club in Miami some years ago – nothing to do with fashion. We shared one kiss that night, which eventually evolved into an intercontinental relationship, which then evolved into a hypernova love for one another. We’ve been connected at the hip ever since.
So you got romantically involved before launching a business together. How did Gall start then?
Even if coming from extremely different backgrounds and environments, we shared many of the same outlooks on life, as well as an embedded passion to construct our futures via our own terms. No dictation from others. For her and I, creating Gall was taking a chance against conventionalism, a connection point and fire which sparked itself. The union target that has allowed us to work, create, struggle and succeed together starting from absolute zero.
Describe Gall in three words.
Anti-nostalgic, modular and abstract.
Justin, what drew you to fashion, and what brought you to Italy from the United States?
What drew me was the ability to submerge and perform. Fashion is a personal domain of transcendence, a place where I’m able to meld my personal skills and techniques to create garments from a perspective unique to me. Moving to Italy was a decision we made due to manufacturing reasons. We’ve done a lot of work establishing the right laboratories able to reproduce each garment category at a high level. Maybe someday we’ll be back in the states though.
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What has been your main inspiration for the brand?
Overcoming the inevitable hard times and becoming stronger because of them will forever be an inspiration.
You’ve said you design for the future, do you envision it as utopic or dystopic?
Dystopic masked by utopianism. It’s difficult conceptualizing a perfect world when deception, control and greed are forever lurking behind the curtain. It’s hard enough trying to reach such bliss within our own minds. To envision an actual utopia is impossible to me. Thinking optimistically: it makes things interesting.
Justin, you work on the visual side and do it all, from designing to the styling and shooting of your campaign lookbooks. How important is it for you to be fully involved in every aspect of the brand?
It’s as important as being able to speak, see, smell or dream. When I take on all aspects, I’m taking full responsibility for the work and universe I’m trying to create. I’m giving myself permission to push the limits of my job title and set a standard of how a designer should be expected to perform. To me, this is how I’m wired. This is how I’m challenged. This is how I gain more perspective and insight for the next collection; fully submerged. The only way I can see clearly and develop a consistently evolving collection. No reliance, no distractions, no compromises, no confusion.
In all of your campaign lookbooks, we see the same recurring model, surely this is this a premeditated decision. Why is this?
It’s nice that you noticed! Yes, it was premeditated. I envisioned our followers being able to grow with our model, never having a motivation to follow industry standards of switching the faces each and every season. This way it’s more about the garments and not the flavour of the moment. You’re almost following a journey of a single character, which you’ve now become familiar with, even if masked. I’m not convinced that most people notice, but for me, it’s fun to see the evolution season after season with Luca morphing along with the latest looks.
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You’ve stated in the past that you like to work in a very intimate way. You guys are the only two people involved in the brand’s growth. How is it being coworkers with your life companion? How do you draw the line between your personal life and business?
Chiara and I are Gall. Gall is what we eat, drink, think, sleep, breath and live for. Drawing a line between work and personal life is somehow not a matter of discussion, we don’t think about it. We don’t need to draw a line in a sense as we simply do not want one. We believe in what we do and it’s only natural to be brainstorming about the next step as it is to talk about other things, organically, without imposing rules or time constraints for one or the other topic. We do believe that being in Gall together is the only way it could be. We don’t think the stress and the pressure are understandable for somebody that is not in a project like this. So if one of us was not working on Gall, we wouldn’t be able to achieve the depth of understanding we have of one another.
In your recent collections, we’ve started seeing a lot of face-masks and headwear that fully cover the face. How did the brand evolve towards the concept of pure anonymity? Does this have a deeper meaning?
To be precise, I started covering the face almost four years ago. It was a natural feeling of mine, wanting to mask the model so to focus solely on the garments. It completes the uniform. All Gall covering each area of the body, supplying the viewer with less distraction, unless sight of a masked man or woman puts you in a state of panic. Anonymity scares some while empowering and unifying others. At the end of the day, we’re all wearing masks. These are just more obvious I guess.
Your Spring/Summer 2020 collection, which yo showcased at Altaroma back in July, goes by the name Nihil, meaning ‘nothing’. Can you elaborate more on this?
To find everything, for everything itself to exist, needs nothing to co-exist. Nothing is the space for creation, existence and life itself. It’s the emptiness that allows rebirth continuously. So the name wants to embrace and represent that nothing, which without, we don’t exist.
You’re based in Umbria, a region in Italy. What advantages and inconveniences does having your studio in a ‘liminal’ space – meaning that it’s not Milan, Paris, etc. – have?
Our home base is Rome, but we continue to manufacture a portion of our seasonal productions within our original laboratory in Umbria. Being dislocated from the major fashion cities means independence and distance. It means more focus on the product and less about running into the right people. It means looking at things from a different perspective. I’m sure there are negatives as well, but I choose not to focus on them as it’s just not our current reality.
Looking into the future, what do you envision for Gall? What are your plans and projects?
Always creating a better collection than the last.
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