Cristina is an Italian fashion designer and activist using fashion, and especially knitwear design, as her tools for social activism and transmission of values.
Chambre Fluide - Hello Cristina, let’s start talking about your interest in fashion and particularly for knitwear. When and how did it begin?
Cristina Falsone - Hi there! Well, I can say my interest in fashion started since I was born: my mum is a seamstress of tailored clothes for ceremonials, she learned her job from the sisters of my grandpa. When I was a little child, I was surrounded by her clothes and young trainees who wanted to learn “the art of the craft”. In this context my grandma was the solid figure who gave me the curiosity to investigate the world of knitwear. She was crocheting all day, I remember her like in a serious mood and always busy sewing.
CF - When you start a new project, how do you begin and where do you take inspiration from? Can you describe your creative process?
CrF - Yes, sure! When I start a new project, I do a lot of research and I investigate what phenomena are behind my idea and how many people are linked with it. In general, I like to explore what I don't know really well; I’m a curious person.
For a fashion project I usually start from a certain piece of fabric, or I like to study the origins of a mise or a particular cut. I’m quite impulsive as a person and during creative projects I let myself flow and take on different vibes that come to me. That's the reason why the creative process for me is very slow.
CF - We would like to ask you to talk more specifically about your work, Brandelli.
CrF- Brandelli ("Shreds") is the result of my research project for my MA graduation thesis in Fashion at IUAV University of Venice. I took the pictures by myself at Gran Balon in Turin, and they document the collection of broken knits, assembled and stitched back together through the use of darning stitches, crochet stitches and linking stitches, in an overall redesign operation.
The reuse of knitted garments led me to explore the DIY (do it yourself) practices developed in the 1970s as a method for building, modifying or repairing an object without the direct help of specialized industrial design machines and in particular with an alternative assembly and reuse of “fast fashion” pieces. This DIY action was sparked by various reasons and by applying a set of specific analytical selection criteria, as the final goal was to improve the identity and value of second-hand items of knitted clothing.
The resulting collection consists of four garments that were first other items which have been disassembled, re-assembled and stitched back together with hemp thread in linen blend and synthetic thread.
CF - Re-use is a central topic in your research. Can you tell us why it is so important to you and how you support this principle through the knitwear?
CrF - Through the “Brandelli” collection, I intend to demonstrate how knitwear is a practice that - even more so today - has an important social and cultural value, which can be conveyed also through contemporary fashion design, in artistic contexts and culture-focused initiatives. This research and its photographical documentation allowed me to take part in a project with the municipality of Turin called "Diritto e Rovescio” ("Right and Reverse") where I was able to delve into the re-emergence of the handmade, the idea of reuse and the precious and widespread craftsmanship in which knitwear is rooted. The experience matured there, reinforced my conviction and will to use fashion, and especially knitwear design, as my tools for social activism and transmission of values.