Diana Aparo, womenswear designer and graduate from Academia di Costume & Moda in Rome, is inspired by literature and the abstract way of seeing life and movement. We caught up with the emerging designer to get the insight on her position at Marc Jacobs in New York as an Fabric Intern, the role of culture in her work and the empowerment she gained from university life.
Which university did you attend, and can you tell us three things you learnt there, that have helped you since graduating?
I attended Accademia di Costume & Moda in Rome. The first aspect I learnt was respect. Respect for every choice, point of view and culture. Respect for the work method I was learning, understanding that work is discipline, self-control and analysis.
Therefore, I learnt that my projection of culture through fashion can’t be superficial and understanding it first is important. University was the starting point, but we’ve always been told that the journey is ours and we have to keep wandering, trying to look beyond tradition, beyond what is already there. The third aspect I consider of great importance is being self-conscious, about the way we behave and the choices we decide to pursue. It takes courage to support your ideas in order to make them tangible, that is the greatest empowerment a University can give you.
Congratulations on showcasing in London as part of Graduate Fashion Week! How did it feel to show your work on an international stage?
I was deeply moved and I was curious about the way a different environment could perceive my collection. Every country has a strong heritage and culture, even if London is known for having a great variety of tastes. It is always interesting to get in touch with a variety of approaches to fashion.
Tell us a bit more about your career journey since showing at Graduate Fashion Week.
Showing LAIDE at Graduate Fashion Week was a great trial to me because I was already working at ALESILK, a fabric mill in Como. It was my first work experience and starting to learn about jacquards was a great starting point for me. I felt I couldn’t do fashion without really understanding the process of creating a fabric. I strongly believe fabrics are the way to find innovation in fashion. Thanks to London Graduate Fashion Week I was selected to exhibit my collection at Fashion Forward Dubai. Here, I felt inspired by the diversity of cultures and the different way everyone approached fashion. After my time in Como I was offered a job as Fabric Intern at Marc Jacobs, New York, where I am currently working. It is really mind blowing to come from the mills and being able to transfer my knowledge and understanding of fabric into the fashion industry.
Are there any political, social or historical concepts you explore through your work, or messages you hope to convey?
I strongly believe research makes a big difference. I think the Italian heritage on how things are made still has a lot to offer. I am very inspired by literature, the abstract way of seeing life and movement. Fashion starts from a place between reality and dream. It is about rhythm just as the sound of words, it’s about romance, excitement and drama. It is about the complexity and variety of characters that adapt to it.
Every year many international fashion students hope to show in Truman Brewery and compete as part of the International Catwalk Competition. What advice would you give them?
The experience I had was of a great variety of approaches towards fashion. My advice would be to always follow your own voice and try to develop an aesthetic that belongs to your own taste, without trying to please whoever is around you. Spontaneity will always create a debate and I think that is also a great strength of LGFW.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on so far?
I really enjoyed working along Salvatore Ferragamo and Future Concept Lab. We shaped the whole project creating a product considering it both as a luxury design object and a functional apparel for an everyday use. It was challenging but hopefully you’ll see the results soon!
Where are you hoping to be in five years time?
The greatest wish I have for myself is to keep discovering, researching and trying new aspects of fashion; the way human beings live within what they wear. No matter where I will find myself. I believe in the power of change, so it would be difficult for me to think to a specific place.
Words by Annabel Waterhouse-Biggins