Warmer weather is just around the corner and, if you’re anything like me, you’re springing for a hot girl summer and the wardrobe to match. But with an affinity for runway and a budget for sale rack, it can be hard to keep up with the newest trickle-down trends while trying to uphold a sense of wallet-friendly individualism. The more time I spend in Florence, the more I realize that the city is filled with really unique people who make up even more unique communities to shop from and get inspired by. So, before you shake open the donation bags and clean out half of your closet, consider spicing up what you’ve got with the help of these local creatives.
The good kind of stain
Second-hand shopping has had quite the revival in recent years, with new shops opening up every day and welcoming people to come and hunt through the racks. Consumers are donating and buying used clothing now more than ever. But how many times have you picked up the perfect piece, only to give it a 360 and find that there’s a stain on the sleeve? Or maybe your once-upon-a-time favorite pair of jeans just doesn’t excite you anymore? That’s where upcycling comes in handy.
Meet Tevka, an art student/thrift queen based in Florence and with an incredible talent for drawing and painting. What initially started as a disdain for wearing jeans has ended up a promising business of creating wearable art. Everything from adding butterflies to back pockets of vintage Levis to giving well-worn Air Force 1s a floral makeover, she brings even the most basic pieces back to life with her “whimsical realism” designs. “If there isn’t an item of clothing that I haven’t painted on in some way, then that’s a rare day; it’s not a complete fit.”
Tevka mainly takes commissions through her Instagram, which has become her digital portfolio. People can buy directly from what she’s posted (size permitting) or request specific designs to be painted on a piece from their own wardrobe. Each piece of clothing is one of a kind, however each design can be recreated.
Check Tevka’s designs on her Instagram.
Strapped + studded
If you’re looking for the perfect bag, but nothing in store is screaming at you, then why not go and make it yourself? No really, sign up for a leather workshop with Garbage’En and hand make your very own leather piece. There’s no better place to buy leather than in Florence, but a little-known fact is that only 30 per cent of a leather product actually needs to be produced in Italy in order to earn a “Made in Italy” tag, resulting in a lot of false advertising throughout the city.
At Garbage’En, you can trust that every stitch of what you buy is made not only in Florence, but directly above the shop in their leather-strewn atelier. Owners Giulia, Serena and Sandra source their materials from designer brands selling deadstock fabric when the season ends. The result ends up being a totally one-of-a-kind little black bag that has been handmade with high-quality ex-Prada leather. If you’re interested in buying from their shop, but there’s a piece that is *almost* perfect, they can recreate it exactly to your liking in anywhere from a few hours to a few days (depending on the size and complexity of the bag). Garbage’En champions the history of Tuscan leather-making while creating designs that are unique, inspiring and a little bit punk.
Visit the store at borgo degli Albizi 25R or shop online.
No outfit is complete without some good accessories. If you’re tired of the same old hoops and chains, consider switching them up for some more meaningful pieces. “Life is a dream, DREAM IT!” Mexico-born Sofia is an accessory designer with a passion for adventure and creation. Initially coming to Florence to study the language and immerse herself in a new culture, she quickly fell in love with art and sustainability. The main goal of her brand Galeria is to create pieces using materials sourced from all over the world, but she doesn’t just make phone calls and write out shipping labels. Instead she hops on a plane and explores different countries to find the materials herself. Recently coming back from a trip to India, her intention for these visits is to collaborate with international artisans, allowing them to continue their passions whilst also igniting hers. This combined with a dedication to create only handmade pieces is how Galeria was born.
Everything from beaded bracelets, glasses chains and even beach bags can be found in her lovely shop at via del Moro 16, each piece with their own story behind it. Everything Sofia produces is completely one-of-a-kind so if you fall in love with something (or everything), then you’re guaranteed that it’s made with love.