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CARMINA CAMPUS ECO CHIC HANDBAGS, MADE IN ITALY ACCORDING TO ILARIA VENTURINI FENDI
Create without destroying anything. This is the motto which inspired stylist Ilaria Venturini Fendi in the creation of a line of handbags and accessories (Carmina Campus) from recycled materials. Eco-chic and original, each different from the others because they are hand-crafted, the creations of Ilaria, the daughter of Anna, one of the three sisters who created the fashion brand Fendi, have the merit of uniting unique design and protection of the environment. Materials such as PVC, old carpets, truck tyres and even scrap metal are used in their manufacture.
The designer of Carmina Campus herself reveals the secrets.
You come from a family with a great tradition in fashion: where did the idea come from to create a brand by associating it with the recycling of waste?
My DNA is a mixture of things learned from my father and my mother. One taught me to love creative work, the other brought me up in contact with nature. It was satisfying to work as a designer for the family business, but I needed new energy. So, after discovering a piece of land on the outskirts of Rome in need of attention, I left everything behind to become a farmer. I didn’t think I would ever be a designer again. But later I worked on some conference bags for a friend’s not-for-profit organisation and when they were successful I realised that I had discovered a path that linked the two worlds to which I belong.
Yours is a craftsman’s business, it does not mass-produce bags and accessories, is this “uniqueness” appreciated abroad?
Special, one-off items are our particular feature, since some clients love the idea that it is customised by recycling material of their choice, but I am looking for solutions halfway between the handmade and the mass-produced items, for furniture too, which will allow greater amounts of material to be used up.
There are already various sales points in Europe where your bags are on sale (France, Great Britain, Spain and Greece) and things also seem to be going well in the USA and Asia: do you think there is room for expansion?
We are present in prestigious sales points like Takashimaya in New York, Dover Street Market in London, L'Eclaireur in Paris, Isetan and Takashimaya in Japan, Corso Como in South Korea, but I don’t like the idea of expansion by leaps and bounds. We are a close knit group and we grow a little at a time, always trying to make personal contacts which are not just commercial relationships, but relationships which take a project forward.
You have financed the projects of some not-for-profit organisations connected to women’s issues and the protection of the environment. Is this the added value of your project?
The first Carmina Campus bag was created to support a campaign against female genital mutilation. And in Cameroon today, a project set up using our own resources, is developing with the support of ITC, (International Trade Agency) which has a program centred on ethical fashion. I think this added value is the reason why some Message bags were chosen by the wife of the Mayor of Rome as a gift for the first ladies of the G8 last July.