GIORDANO LAPEGNA shares details of tagliovivo
In our exclusive chat with Giordano Lapegna, we’ve learned that TAGLIOVIVO is about more than exquisite leather bags: it’s a brand from South Italy that values the history behind materials & the importance of human touch thru meticulous craftsmanship.
The Italian designer chose to enter the fashion industry with a slow approach to guarantee more quality & sustainability in his practice. Besides spending two years researching design aspects & crafting techniques, he decided to pay tribute to the past — something he got from his background in Puglia, a city known for its appreciation of antiques — and work with materials that have legendary characteristics, such as leather.
Besides allowing him to express his respect for the past itself, the material used in Tagliovo’s production process is vegetable-tanned from artisanal tanneries in Tuscany, which ensures their high sustainability standards + aesthetic preservation — maintaining all original signs, marks & features of the skin. An environmentally-safe way to embrace the animal’s lifetime through the product & still celebrate leather’s natural origin, revering the wildlife. For Lapegna, chemical treatments kill the natural aspects of the material, turning it into an artificial matter & subtracting the ability to inspire sustainable design — one of the most important elements of Tagliovivo's ethos.
That’s right: the endless possibilities of natural leather is the main empowering aspect of Lapegna’s creative process, for its capacity to provoke non-stop experimentation & limitless ideas that bring all of his collections to life — all shaped by minimalist design, impeccable craftsmanship & respect for nature.
It’s like the future of fashion, right before our eyes.
To learn even more about this green & innovative take on leatherwork, scroll down to check out our exclusive interview with Giordano Lapegna, founder & designer of TAGLIOVIVO.
So many aspects of Tagliovivo's design identity pay homage to traditional Italian aesthetics. What were your biggest sources of inspiration while exploring design in Italy?
For me, the primary source of inspiration comes from the past — in particular, the antiquity influences the choice of materials and colors.
Material selection, mainly leather and metal, is the heart of the product itself. The selection we make is constantly inspired by the patina antique objects have.
Antique books, old surfaces of wood or stone, and many other things are the texture inspirations that I look for when I select the leather. I live in a region, Puglia, which is rich in antiquity, and I'm strongly influenced and inspired by this land.
The materials you work with, like leather, have been used since the dawn of time. How do your processes pay tribute to traditional, ancestral leather techniques? And why is this the best medium for expressing Tagliovivo's message?
As you rightly said, leather has been used since the dawn of time. As the past inspires us so much, leather, particularly vegetable-tanned leather, entirely reflects our aesthetic.
This kind of leather is tanned according to the traditional way, using vegetable extracts, which gives the material an incredibly natural look, and that is what I want for Tagliovivo products.
A product made with vegetable-tanned leather changes over time and acquires a patina that adds value to the objects, reflecting the lifestyle of the person who wears it. Exactly like a beautiful antique wooden table, a vegetable-tanned leather bag — even in a hundred years — will acquire beauty.
The design process you adhere to allows all of your leather products to maintain their original marks, making no two pieces exactly the same -- it takes a truly special design process to create pieces that gain character over time, rather than lose it. Can you speak a little deeper about how this aesthetic choice embodies Tagliovivo's identity?
When I started my research, before launching the brand, I was very focused on the metal parts that I would have to use for the bags. It was essential to use unique metal accessories and not mass-produced pieces.
I discovered some antique wrought iron chains from the 19th century that were used to hang pots in fireplaces. Beautiful rounded rings made these chains, and every ring was different from the other, it was impossible to find two pieces exactly the same. I decided to use these rings as a symbol/icon of the brand, and this is how I started thinking in terms of unique pieces instead of standardized products.
When I started to focus on the leather, I knew that vegetable-tanned leather was the best material to magnify the concept of uniqueness that I wanted for my products.
I went to the most artisanal tanneries in Tuscany, and I started to research leather with a unique and strong identity, as those beautiful rings had. I wanted something that could reflect my love and respect for nature and animals. My choice was a leather that allowed all the scars and signs, which belong to the animal's life, to be visible and uncovered by chemical treatments that sometimes make leather look too artificial.
I think that these elements, combined with a minimalist design, give powerful character to the products.
You are very particular with the materials you use in your designs & your hands-on, artisanal process creates lots of room for experimentation. When working with high-quality leather, how do you structure the design process specifically to the material & which techniques have you come to appreciate the most?
We usually base our collections on three kinds of leather textures and finishes. We have smooth and soft, stiff and polished, and rugged-rough ones. This difference in texture and touch depends on the kind of leather (horse, buffalo, camel, calf) and on the treatment used.
The style development revolves around these three materials, and the models need to adapt to the material. I can say that I choose the leather first, and then I create the collection around it.
In some cases, the relationship between the material and the bag we are going to make is particularly strong. Some of the leather we use, like Culatta or Semi Cordovan, by their nature, present differences in their structures (some parts are much stiffer than others) so we have to select the right part of the leather for the right part of the bags. In this case, the artisanal work is even more profound.
All of the leather you used is vegetable tanned & clearly, your brand has the utmost respect for the materials you work with. What is the impact of designers having a sense of respect for natural materials & what can our culture as a whole learn from the processes of leatherwork & design?
A brand has the power to sensitize people towards meaningful values.
Tagliovivo promotes the use of natural materials and respect for artisanal work.
I come from a family that has worked in the leather business for generations, and I have high respect for leather. First of all, because it comes from an animal that was alive and then because it is a byproduct of the meat industry. This second thing is something important that people should know (of course, I'm not talking about exotic skins and fur, which I refuse to use).
Many people think that leather is not a sustainable and ethical material, and some prefer faux leather, which is quite the opposite — a synthetic, non-biodegradable material.
As I said, leather is a byproduct of the meat industry, so it is a natural and recycled material. Instead of being wasted, it is transformed and gives us the possibility to create extraordinary objects.
I think that consumers must be more and more aware of what they buy and where the materials come from. Fortunately, this is going to happen more often, and people will become more conscious of these points.
I think it is crucial that brands and designers transmit these values through their products.
How does prioritizing sustainability throughout the entirety of your design process affect the final products of Tagliovivo? And how does that value tie into the minimalist style of your pieces?
I believe that sustainability means respect for nature, and nature is minimalist in her shapes.
The connection between these aspects - sustainability, natural looks, and minimalism - is very strong in our products, because this is my target during the design process, and this happens in a very spontaneous way.
The way you produce pretty much defines slow fashion, for example, how you exclusively craft by hand and the two full years of design research you conducted to create Tagliovivo. What are the challenges and rewards of this work method?
I think slow fashion, and a slow attitude in general, in any production field, is a reward in itself.
It provides more space for creativity and is more sustainable in all of its aspects (it is now clear that fast fashion and the fast industry are not sustainable from many points of view: environment, labor rights, product quality, and so on).
Of course, a slow attitude is more complicated for big companies, who are part of a fast and frantic system. Still, I trust that things will change, because if we continue to just run, we will fall sooner or later. This pandemic has demonstrated how fragile the global economic system founded on frenetic rhythms and exploitation of the environment and workers really is.
In my opinion, slowing down is the only way to make a good-quality product that lasts over time, respecting both the environment and the people who make it.
New world, new approach to fashion. We're in. 🌍
Seeking extra innovation? You shall find @ [metcha originals].