Next Up: Marco De Vincenzo, One To Watch
The huge machinery that is the Italian luxury fashion and textile industry is facing a threat on three fronts: its own complacency in not developing homegrown talent, the migration of manufacturing to low-cost countries, and now the economic downturn. In a way, though, though, the horrible realization that there’s a perfect storm brewing might be just what’s needed to compel backers and fashion employers to recognize and hire young designers in order to shore up the future.
After winning this year’s Who Is on Next? competition (an initiative set up by Vogue Italia editor Franca Sozzani), Marco de Vincenzo might be a contender. His debut show in Milan, based on ideas about sportswear and classical Greek draping, looked technically accomplished for a relative beginner. Neoprene strips fused onto stretch tulle in geometric patterns were the main feature of his 35-look collection, a technique he said he’d learned from his day job as a bag designer at Fendi.
But why take the risk of starting his own collection at such a down period? “I’ve been working in this area for nine years, since I graduated from design school,” de Vincenzo explained. “I’ve always had a passion to do ready-to-wear. Last March, I realized I didn’t want to wait any longer.” What’s slowly shifting, he says, is the attitude of factory owners toward independent designers whose orders would once have been turned away on the grounds of being too insignificant with which to bother. Now those companies are actively seeking work to keep themselves busy. Meanwhile, other opportunities are opening up as established design companies look to overhaul their labels by hiring young designers as consultants. De Vincenzo’s progress from here to next season could be worth keeping an eye on.