I recently sat down with Walter Morgante, a master of hand-sewn leather goods. Born in Florence, Walter is the son of artisans: his father Antonio and mother Fiorella (neé Cenni) made leather jackets and skirts. Walter recalls early years in a home filled with leather and furs. They had a thriving business for 20-plus years, but when Walter was ready to choose a profession, it was time for a discussion about his future.
“My father wanted me to be an accountant,” he recalls, “At the time, the lira was devalued and being an artisan was becoming more and more difficult…styles and attitudes about fashion were changing. ” Though it didn’t take long for Walter to realize he wasn’t suited to accounting – he knew he wanted to pursue art and design.
Walter first studied restoration of frescoes and then spent four years traveling the US and worked restoring and making furniture. After extended time in Dallas and San Francisco, he was inspired to return to Florence to fulfil his dream of creating a line, combining his love of industrial design with his passion for working with leather and wood.
Energetic and expressive, Walter’s ethos is conveyed not only in his creations, but also in the telling of his story. He is an artist dedicated to his ideals of zero impact, slow fashion and leather as art in many forms. Combining unique materials with products that reflect his background in industrial design, he explains, “One must first appreciate that every piece is unique and one-of-a-kind, and the concept that something worth having is worth waiting for.”
In his bottega at via Romana 18R, there are no machines, the only electricity is the light he needs to work by. All of Walter’s products are hand-stitched and most of the tools required are easily carried wherever he needs to work. Over the years he’s become known for his beautifully styled zaini (backpacks), collaborations with major brands and interior decorators who use leather in their designs.
Plan Your Shopping Excursion with IN BOTTEGA
Make the most of your trip to Florence with a visit to the workshops and bottegas of the Oltrarno.
Just across the Ponte Vecchio from the bustling city center, this quiet neighborhood adjacent to the Pitti Palace has been home to artisans for centuries. We invite you to come and experience art, culture and creativity at its finest!
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit inbottega.org to learn more.