Marco Rambaldi doesn’t necessarily want to put garments and his creations at the focus of each collection. The designer strongly believes in giving value to people and the community, broadening the discourse of fashion to make it accessible to anyone who wants to wear his flamboyant, quirky and at times provocative creations.
In an interview with WWD, Rambaldi opened up about what it means to be a young emerging talent, unveiling the inspirations for his fall 2022 collection, and talked about his values, the importance of creating a community and why he doesn’t care about sizes.
For Rambaldi, “fashion is linked with social and political issues. Very often fashion communicates more directly or spontaneously than words.”
This season marks an important step for the brand, as last December it was revealed that Rambaldi and the Valentino house were partnering, aiming to start a project to give a voice to younger designers and creatives. The house of Valentino will “lend” its Instagram account to the 30-year-old designer’s brand to showcase the collection live.
“We are absolutely thrilled with this project with Valentino, and I thank Pierpaolo [Piccioli] and the whole team for the support, this will give us great visibility. We would not have the same reach through our Instagram,” the designer said. “Being an independent brand today is very complicated. It is difficult to proceed in a totally autonomous way and I hope that important brands can take into consideration this opportunity in the future.”
Despite the pandemic, the Italian independent label has grown considerably in the past year. The brand is available in almost 20 retailers across Italy — but not only. “Over the last few seasons we have opened the market to South Korea, China and Japan and our brand works very well in those countries. We are also expanding to the rest of Europe, the U.S. and Canada.” However Rambaldi clarified that, “the brand was not born with the intent of making money but surely seeing these results helps us a lot and is a very positive outcome.”
For its fall 2022 collection, which will be presented in Milan on Wednesday in Via Ceresio, 7 Rambaldi’s main inspiration was, “Italian culture and what is the current path of our brand.” In particular, the designer explained that “we took references from the LGBT world; for example, last year we created knitwear with heart-shaped rainbow designs which have become one of our staple garments. For this season our fundamental inspiration focuses on the journey of Italian history by looking at female characters who in our opinion have changed Italy’s narrative.”
An element that is definitely one of the brand’s strongest features is the use of crochet — a passion the designer inherited from his grandmother. “My grandmother gave me so many of her doilies that I wanted to give them a new life. We use these vintage crochet mixed with new yarns. This makes each garment different from the other because the design of the doilies is always different.”
A sustainable choice that wasn’t intentional at first has now became a core element of the brand. Indeed, the Italian brand uses “linen, raffia and canvas which are fibers that can be found in nature and therefore easier to produce. For this fall collection we are using viscose, wool, mohair and we have recently introduced a polyester that is 100 percent recycled — using less water and energy,” he said.
Rambaldi’s fall 2022 collection tries to overcome stereotypes by proposing a different way of conceiving fashion, especially for women. “[In this upcoming collection] there are evident references to what was porn and erotic in Italy in the ’70s and ’80s. It focuses on characters like Italian porn actresses Ilona Staller and Moana Pozzi, who through their jobs have also managed to enter the Italian Parliament and become part of a very male-oriented world.”
The theme of female empowerment and sisterhood can be found in almost every collection: last year, a white T-shirt with a red sign across the front that said “Femmina” (female in Italian) sold out in a short period of time, and a baby-blue poplin shirt read “feminism.”
Rambaldi was criticized by some for his choice of plus-size models for his spring show; detractors flooded the designer’s official Instagram with negative comments also about his designs. He doesn’t regret his decision and realized this was a reality check, expressing surprise when reading them that many of the messages were written by women.
Rambaldi uses fashion as a means to communicate the ideals and values of the brand, which includes, welcomes, embraces and above all does not discriminate.