The Florentine is publishing this series of interviews on the occasion of Vogue Fashion’s Night Out on September 17, 2015.
‘An Italian guy, with the world in his eyes and his country in his heart’—this is how Marco Laganà, born in 1991, defines the idea behind The Italian Picnic, his latest shoe collection showcased at Pitti Uomo #88. Marco Laganá is an emerging Italian footwear designer selected by Altaroma, L’Uomo Vogue and Pitti Uomo as one of the seven finalists of Who is on Next? Uomo 2015, the most important launch pad aimed at finding new Italy-based fashion talent.
After graduating from the Polytechnic of Milan and presenting a footwear project in collaboration with Fratelli Rossetti, in July 2013 Laganà moved to Paris to work as a creative consultant and product designer for the shoe brand Camille Tanoh. In May 2014 he moved back to Italy and started his own eponymous brand. Laganà’s footwear is handcrafted and mixes elements of both men’s and women’s styles for a no-gender line, according to the latest diktat of fashion. Classics like moccasins, derby shoes, slippers and sneakers are made in different, very fine materials ranging from extremely high-quality leathers to a special Kevlar fiber fabric.
With a vibrant personality, Marco Laganá revealed some insight about his journey as a designer to date, his inspiration and the work behind his new collection.
Michelle Barrett: When you were showcasing your products at Pitti Uomo #88, did you consider Florence a capital of fashion?
Marco Laganá: I wouldn’t say that it’s a capital of fashion because Pitti is on for too short a period, just twice a year. Most of the brands shown at Pitti are normally in Milan, so for me Milan is the Italian fashion capital. Florence is very important, too, though.
MB: What has specifically inspired you in this collection?
ML: Everything about Italy. My own country is my inspiration. The collection is called The Italian Picnic because it describes the way Italians usually spent weekends in the ‘60s, just chilling and relaxing with friends or family outside home. The ad concept is focused on a story between a man and a woman spending time on the grass, having a drink and enjoying the pleasures of life. I used both men and women because the collection is unisex; that’s why you see these two different characters wearing my shoes.
MB: Is there a particular type of consumer that your brand targets?
ML: My client is a person who really cares about quality and details, and not someone who just wants to show off.
MB: What do you hope to bring to the fashion industry with your brand?
ML: I try to innovate with traditional stuff, but at the same time make my designs distinctive. With my shoes, for example, you can find divergence from the classics and innovation in the cut of the leather.
MB: Why did you choose to design shoes?
ML: I think it was something in my DNA. I was born in a part of Italy famous for producing shoes. I remember my mother sewing shoe uppers years ago, while I was playing hide and seek with my brothers at home. I would stop and watch her sew for hours. I only lived there for three years, and then we moved to Milan, but we were still close to another excellent shoe district—Parabiago. I’d say that as a result of this, shoes are always on my mind; I always recognize people by their shoes, not by their face.
MB: What has been your biggest struggle as a designer?
ML: Not the design part. Right now I’m an entrepreneur, so I take care of everything, even the creative direction of all the communication as well as sales and marketing. But at the same time, the worst part for me—and which also gives the most feedback—is the time between when you produce your product and when you have to sell it. I really concentrate on that.
MB: Tell me about the box in which you package your shoes?
ML: It came to mind while I was looking at a milk box. My first collection was a pop-art themed collection, so I was thinking about what pop really is; for me, supermarkets are really pop, but they were presented to us ages ago by Andy Warhol. So I chose an image that was really significant to me, and I mixed it with the traditional shoe box until I got this kind of product, which really follows the image of the brand.
About Fashion in Florence
In May-June 2015 ISI (International Studies Institute of Florence) offered an innovative class in Fashion Communication for non-specialized students in design. Emphasis was on analysis of leading fashion media critics, commentators, bloggers and influencers. Students had the opportunity to visit one day of Pitti Uomo #88 at the Fortezza da Basso and write their reports and blogs including one-on-one interviews with leading young figures in Fashion in Florence. Professor Emeritus Mark Bernheim headed the team, which included fashion commentator and assistant Alessandro Masetti, and his colleagues. The Institute plans to offer this course again in 2016.