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Once disappointing and even asphyxiating, the Italian region of Romagna is now something that Federico Cina takes pride in. When he dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, the little villages around him and the non-existing (corporate) fashion scene were something that made him want to escape. After chasing his dreams though, he’s coming back to it, imbuing some of the values he learned growing up – sincerity, humanity and transparency – into his collections. After presenting his Fall/Winter 2020 collection at Altaroma, we sit down with the up-and-coming designer to discuss everything from showing in Milan in the future to the collection’s inspiration sources.

Federico, we first interviewed you in 2017 before showing your Fall/Winter 2018 collection in New York and after winning the first prize at Fashionclash in Maastricht. Where do you feel you stand now after these years?
In 2018, after the experience in New York and the victory of the Fashionclash contest in Maastricht, I decided to return to Romagna, my home in Italy. Today, after just two years, I have the awareness of transmitting the values that once belonged to the people of Romagna through my collections.
In last Altaroma’s edition, you won the Who’s On Next? prize. How has this achievement helped your brand in these last months?
Winning the Who’s On Next? prize was unique, I felt so many emotions. Being awarded by remarkable figures in the industry such as Sara Maino or Simonetta Gianfelici, among numerous international buyers, has made proud. Also, it gave me access to a six-month mentoring and tutorship course with Pitti Immagine.
Let’s talk about your Fall/Winter 2020, titled I bei tempi. You turned some of the garments inside out, like blazers and pants. You’ve constantly focused on the body and tailoring, so this is an interesting new take on it. How has this exploration/experimentation process been like for you?
My creative process starts mainly with the study and research of tailoring. Turning the garments inside out is a metaphor of the deep meaning of transparency and sincerity. Emphasizing what is inside a garment and showing it off means to share my most intimate emotions with the entire world.

There’s a sense of continuity between your Spring/Summer 2020 and Fall/Winter 2020 collections. For example, in the printed motifs inspired by or taken from the typical tablecloths in your region. Are your personal history and origins an endless source of inspiration? How else do they influence your take on fashion?
Yes, my main goal is to continuously search for a common thread that links my collections. In fact, I consider the ‘Romagna print’, which in everyday life decorates the typical tablecloths of my land, the element par excellence capable of linking my stories collection after collection. Romagna has been, especially during my teenage years, a cause of great disappointment. Today, however, I have the necessary maturity to affirm that the values that my country has transmitted to me, such as sincerity, humanity and transparency, are unique in the world.
Another link between both collections are the colourful striped, long knitted dresses, for example. Do you feel like you’re finding a sort of style or signature pieces, or is it too early to say?
The knitted dress with colour stripes is a garment that I wanted to propose again in the Fall/Winter 2020 collection because, to me, it represents a piece that tries to revisit the traditional male silhouette. In spite of this, I think I have yet to find an iconic garment that is a symbol of the brand.
Italian craftsmanship is still at the core of your brand. Could you tell me more about the artisans/suppliers you work with?
Most of the companies I work with are based in Romagna. Also, for this reason, I decided to change the label of my garments from Made in Italy to Made in Romagna, Italy. My approach to the quality of materials is meticulous, almost as if it were a faith. My goal is to involve and collaborate with unique, based realities in the Romagna region. This would mean for me promoting the culture, tradition and craftsmanship of my country within a global context.

In a growingly digital and technological world, how do you feel hand-made, artisanal garments – and products in general – will evolve?
Our time is characterized by a reality that is superficial in regard to detail and quality; one of the concepts of the Fall/Winter 2020 collection is precisely to break this down and go beyond this, bringing out the artisanal and traditional aspect of the brand.
On the previous interview, you said you dreamed of showing at Milan Fashion Week. Do you feel closer to achieving this dream now?
I think so. In fact, I will present my first collection in Milan next September. I can't wait!
You’ve just presented the collection, so I hope you get some rest now – at least for a few days. What are your plans for the upcoming months?
No rest, unfortunately. I’m going back to Romagna and I’ll immediately resume working as a fashion design consultant, and in the next few weeks, I’ll start designing the next collection for my own brand.

Arnau Salvadó
Portrait and backstage photos
Marc Medina
Luca Paolantonio
Earrings handmade in collaboration with Matilde Del Bianco

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