Runway rage Vito Dell'Erba is currently working on creating an e-commerce brand for Europe and India revolving around a made-to-measure sustainable concept. “Will soon come out with a Made in Italy men’s accessory collection for e-commerce in India and collaborating with local artisans over handmade flower painted dining dishes carved out of local Apulian clay from my homeland.”
He has navigated in the world of designing both as a creative director of Raymond ― world’s finest Indian origin apparel brand and as a successful couturier rocking the page 3 fashion weeks. On the basis of his versatile experience, he explains what is better between being an independent label owner and working as fashion designer in the corporate.
“They are two completely different experiences. Working in a corporate company there are departments, teams, a structure, a heritage, a brand image with a specific target market, a past, weaknesses and strengths. In order to make all flow properly, you must consider all these factors. A creative director must strengthen what is being done well and bring novelty and innovation to what seems to be a weakness. Often, change is not always seen well because it threatens what has been done and known. There is always resistance to the unknown, especially in large companies. And a creative director must push those boundaries and update and connect to the new mindset of the consumer. On the flip side, when you design your own brand, it is important to have a style that sets you apart, signature pieces and you must create your structure around your creativity because you don't have the money of a large corporate company so your creativity is your asset combined with quality, price and of course delivery. In the beginning, you must manage all, design budgets, fabrics, manufacturing, social media, websites, etc. It is very exciting but can often be very overwhelming. Today’s creative directors are not only designing anymore but dealing with social media, creating community, social awareness. Inclusivity, sustainability and sensitivity to contemporary social issues.”
Vito Dell'Erba was born in Bari, Italy but his family moved to Montreal, Canada when he was only 9 months old. “Montreal back then was already a multi-ethnic international city. I was exposed to all cultures of the world at a very young age and fascinated. The schooling system was very modern and would expose us all to the best people in art, sports and culture. My grandma and mom were seamstresses, so fabrics, sewing machines and clothes were always part of my life. I feel blessed to have grown up there. An international upbringing way before all became more global.”
Subsequently, he moved to India and began cohabiting with a completely different social milieu. “I was living in London and was approached by Raymond to take on the position as creative director in Mumbai. They needed to update their image. I loved the idea and it is an important Indian heritage brand. So, I accepted. I always embrace learning, evolving, and India was surely an overpowering experience. Overwhelming!”
His main inspiration is nature. He loves doing long walks and appreciates the creator’s vision of beauty. “I feel part of it. My personal Instagram page looks like a National Geographic page. The colours of flowers and their combinations, the way they move with the wind, butterflies, insects, etc. I don't like to stick something as I see it on a body but I try to absorb it in and mix it in a modern comfortable way so that it fuses together with our modern way of dressing. Not intending to overpower but to move together in harmony.”
On the modern trend of Indo-Western fashion he swiftly articulates: “As we go forward and social media platforms become more popular, we are all being exposed to what is happening around the world. It is inevitable that all is this visual information is being absorbed by national or local cultures around the world. Socializing is also changing in India, besides religious events, Indians are going to restaurants, pubs, exhibitions and they like to give a twist to their traditional clothing and feel contemporary. I believe it is already a huge market to deal with and it will keep on growing.”
Italy and India are his longstanding muses. He is astonished by the Italian quality and excellence in food, clothing, furniture and art. “Being a small country each region has its own traditions and often so different from each other depending on the natural environment and climate”. In a similar yet relatively vaster space, India's diversity fascinates him. “Every region is like a different country sometimes, and the century-old traditions have been brought forward from generation to generation. Diversity is always fascinating to me, never a threat and India is a huge garden of diversity.”
The Vito Dell'Erba label royally asserts its loyalty to the attitude of sustainable fashion. “It was very clear to me that fashion was changing since the beginning of the launch of my brand. I love nature, it nourishes me, cures me and is so giving. I have so much respect for it. Working in fashion I have seen the pollution, over-production and waste, the people being abused in the manufacturing units. I decided to create something much more sustainable with a made-to-measure system with delivery in 2 to 3 weeks with a trial. We only buy, dye manually and produce upon request and it feels good to work this way. Not fast fashion but slow fashion. We have used this concept in multi-brand shops and it has worked superbly for us, we are now working on an e-commerce formula for the same concept.”
To young designers who seek to become successful and famous he advises, “Having a good team is very important, everyone should give their share to push a concept to its best expression. Fashion is not about only designing anymore. It has become more complex with social media, community, social and environmental responsibility. Be true to yourself, develop your style, develop your signature pieces, identify what sets you apart, develop your team. Be humble, always learn from your experiences, good or bad and persist, nothing comes easy, fail and learn, get back up, many times if needed.”
His mantra to stay relevant in a fast-paced and competitive environment is ― “(again) stay humble, always learn, travel, see what is happening around you, be informed, don't get too comfortable, always evolve, stay true to your values get out of your comfort zone”.
Finally, to whom does he credit his success? “I owe everything to my family, thanks to them I was able to follow my dreams, from my studies to developing my projects feel blessed”.