In conversation with fashion designer Andrea Grossi


IMAGES Andrea Grossi/ PR
Italian designer Andrea Grossi makes fashion and innovation meet in a fusion of past and future.

In recent years he gained attention mainly for his hyper-realistic prints on leather and his generally futurism-driven collections that take you to other worlds. We talked to him about advanced solutions in design, true sustainability and responsibility.

XYZ: Andrea, you have a background in both fashion and graphic design – how does that affect your design process?

Andrea Grossi: Surely my way of designing and editing is very linked to graphics and the digital world, but I must say that in the last 3 years of working at Diesel I have evolved my creation methodology, I am more linked to the item of clothing and the sensations it creates when it is worn, previously my background as a graphic designer perhaps made me remain too tied only to the visual aspect.

XYZ: Your roots are in Italy, in Tuscany to be precise. That’s also where you got closer to leather and the craftsmanship of working with this material. Leather also features a lot in your collections – apart from your heritage, why is leather a material of such importance and so special to you?

A.G: Having had my creative childhood in Tuscany during my university years, I became attached to the concept of well made and safeguarding the characteristics of certain fabrics. In recent years I have explored the categories of fabric I am interested in, now I work a lot with Denim, Jersey and obviously leather.

XYZ: Fashion in a way means to show attitude, to create and show yourself, a reflection of society – how and why can fashion achieve that?

A.G: Fashion is a creative tool, which brings together both providing a service and expressing a reflection of the reality that surrounds us, our role as designers is to try to perceive and give people the sensation of feeling good in those garments, I believe that fashion is superficial but at the same time it occupies a very profound part of our daily life.

XYZ: When designing, you also imagine a certain future society – what does it look like?

A.G.: When I design I think more about how I would like to appear in the present, about what I feel is important to convey about my personality and consequently I try to do the same process thinking about the people around me.

XYZ: What fascinates you personally about Italy and the Italian perspective on fashion? What does Italy have that other countries may not have and vice versa?

A.G.: What certainly fascinates me about Italy is its ability to create great products, its attention to detail and its incredible passion for manual work.
Surely what Italy needs are investments and help for the younger brands that bring trend and innovation among the ranks of the new Italian brands that have been struggling to emerge in the panorama of the most influential for many years.

XYZ: To what extent would you say you have developed as a person and as a designer in the last years of your career?
A.G.: Very much, in recent years I have decided to dedicate myself to working for a brand like Diesel, in order to grow on a personal and professional level, Diesel’s approach to fashion reflects me in all aspects of design, working close to Glenn Martens is showing me how the work we do is not just about clothing but must convey the values of a lifestyle.
XYZ: Sustainability and upcycling play a huge role for you. Only last year you realized your project with KARA, which was completely based on the concept of upcycling. How did this collaboration come about and what is the biggest challenge in a project like this?

A.G.: The project was born by chance, Michele Sodi, a professional in the fashion and business sector for years, noticed an article featuring some of my garments in a magazine and put me in contact with Kara, working in upcycling is very complex and I think it’s excellent when you talks about small capsule collections, from the research of the fabric to the way in which they are treated you have to completely change the operating system of the suppliers and it is not easy, I believe that having done it in Italy has allowed us to exploit the very high know-how of the manufacturing companies and it made us achieve a goal that we hadn’t hoped for in terms of production, each garment was unique and magnificent, guided by the prints of the old vintage T-Shirts that we used.

XYZ: If one thing is eye-catching and bursting with recognition, it’s your prints: what fascinates you about them?

A.G.: I love the concept of creating an illusion for the viewer, I like playing with familiar objects and taking them out of context, or vice versa, putting foreign objects in contexts that we consider familiar, playing with modern and ancient subjects, everything is very referential but not I want to give a specific interpretation, everyone can understand what they prefer.

XYZ: Through our technological development we have more and more possibilities and options in all areas, more and more becomes possible. Which developments have opened doors for you personally in design and made it possible for you to implement something for which there was perhaps no satisfactory solution before?

A.G.: Technology is the tool that drives innovation more than any other now, the philosophical and social reflections behind the values of brands cannot be replaced by AI or technologies, certainly artificial intelligence, if used correctly, can provide you with images never used before, it’s really something I’d like to invest a lot of time in over the next few months.

XYZ: What does sustainability mean to you?

A.G.: Sustainability means being able to work and leave our environment better than when we started.
This ranges from the more “technical” sustainability relating to fabrics and treatments to the more economical one in carrying out a healthy business that can move forward and grow without being forced to travel at high speed to where it is located.

XYZ: Denim is at least as exciting a material as leather and both share a strong heritage. In October, you’ll even be launching two sustainable denim looks: What fascinates you about these two materials that are so well established?

A.G.: I think the thing that fascinates me most about denim and organic fabrics is the fact that based on wear they tell your story, not that of the brand, when I wear those garments I feel like the protagonist and not the clothing, the which one suits my personality.
I would like to try to communicate with my clothing the fact that the person wearing them is important, after all clothes are just clothes.
Your story is what needs to be shared.

XYZ: Responsibility within the concept of sustainability is often viewed quite one-dimensionally, even though it lies with supplier and consumeralike. How do you personally deal with it from both perspectives? And what needs to happen in the future for us to make a difference?

A.G.: As mentioned before, sustainability is a very broad topic and can be seen from different points of view. In my work, sustainability means finding the balance between creating products that have little impact on the environment, but also are within the reach of as many people as possible.
from the customer’s point of view, I am a fan of second-hand goods, each of my items is vintage, I believe that the long life of an item of clothing is a beautiful discovery that is returning in this period against the unbridled consumerism of having to have clothes every week new.