INTRODUCING: DAMIANO MARINI
Having earned a degree in Economics, Damiano Marini decided to follow his passion and pursue a career in fashion. He enrolled in a Footwear Design and Development program at the Centre for Research and International School of Footwear in San Mauro Pascoli, and then moved in Marche collaborating with luxury footwear companies – including Casadei. After gaining enough experience in the field, he decided to launch his namesake brand in 2015. Combining premium leather with synthetic materials, Marini’s shoes are a result of an imaginatively creative effort, following in in the distinguished “Made in Italy” tradition. His shoes have since been featured in Vogue, and he has designed a custom-made pair of shoes for Lady Gaga. We sat down with Marini to discuss his young brand, the main techniques he uses and his current and future plans.
What is your background and how did you come to launch your own brand?
I studied Footwear Design and Development at the International Footwear School and Research Centre (CERCAL) in San Mauro Pascoli. I worked for several footwear companies and famous brands, such as Casadei. After several years of experience working for different factories, I decided to create my own brand in 2015.
Did you witness a gap in the market you aspired to fill with your brand? Where do you position your brand within the market?
I think nowadays the market is focused more on the image than on the products. My creations are luxury products; they combine the ultramodern design with the sophisticated and refined look of the Made in Italy.
What is the most important lesson you have learnt from your work experience so far?
I have learnt not to take anything for granted because there is always something new to learn. Probably a lifetime is not enough.
Would you be interested in joining a design team in a renowned fashion house in the future or would you like to focus entirely on your personal line?
Honestly, at the moment, I’m not very interested in being part of a big team in a well-known fashion house. I prefer to work in the factories with my workers. I love the smell of leather and glue!
All-the-more men designers are designing for women. What is your opinion about this?
Maybe it’s only a coincidence, or maybe it could be because a women’s designer is more likely to be carried away by the styles they would personally wear, while men designers are creating products for others, so our work is rational and more focused on the results. But this is just a supposition.
What are the main materials you use? What techniques are important to you as a designer?
I am constantly looking for modern and alternative materials to substitute the use of the classic leather. Lately, I have been focusing on materials such as neoprene, nylon and synthetics – the raffia meets python; denim is combined with pvc; and the pure linen conforms to the laminate leathers. I don’t think that a pair of shoes has to be made by precious materials to be considered luxury. In my opinion, a luxury product needs to be well-designed, sophisticated and refined.
The most delicate and important techniques I use are hemming and modeling because the shoe upper in my creations is extremely complex.
In what ways do you believe having your own shop is helping you evolve your brand?
I think that having my own shop at the moment is too premature. For now, I’m more interested in selling my shoes in big department stores or in important boutiques.
Tell us about your experience with retailers so far.
I believe that the relationship with retailers is the most important one. My aim is to create shoes that give retailers the opportunity to sell a modern product; a new choice for their customers.
What are you currently working on and what are your future plans?
I’m finishing the new Fall/Winter 2017 collection. With my team, we are developing a commercial network, based in Milan, that has a direct relationship with retailers. I believe that the relationship with retailers is the final phase of our work, and is probably the most importantone.
Images © Damiano Marini