In the colorful and creative district of San Salvario in Torino, we are going to meet the first “under 35” artisan, the protagonist of the new column of “Fatto a Mano”. His name is Alessandro Gatto: he is waiting for us in his workshop, located in Via Belfiore, where he exposes his beautiful leather bags and accessories. We immediately note behind him also a carpenter’s workshop and aside from it an exhibition of beautiful paintings. A location where creativity fills the air all around. “That’s it! – tells us Alessandro – we co-work, collaborating with each other and optimizing not only inspiration but also expenses”.
What an extra gear, it’s our prompt comment, breaking down the individualism barriers is essential in order to grant to handicraft a successful future: “Absolutely. The craftmanship world must be rediscovered, must come back to life. Up to 30 years ago it was not considered a real opportunity as a permanent job position. In addition, not all the most experienced artisans have been able to integrate with the youngest generation, preserving their professional secrets, instead of sharing and teaching their precious expertise. But the interest in rediscovering the handcrafted products is again growing up, together with the new technologies, that will give to the artisanship new shapes”. It’s a very competitive project, but we like what Alessandro is doing.
In his website, a collage of pictures with only a few words of comment, he first defines himself as an ‘artisan’, then a ‘brand’. “After my IAD degree, a little by chance, a little by anger, due to low paid works with some start-up enterprises, always motivated by a strong creative impulse, I’ve decided to put all my chips in my talent. That’s why I’ve opened my own shop, where I sell my collections of backpacks, and some other leather accessories, completely designed, projected, and realized by myself. To see the creation accomplished, gives an incredible emotion”.
Ravished, we look at these beautiful backpacks, that are today Alessandro’s leading product. Different colors, unisex, diverse shapes, they are part of the “Sand” collection, thanks to a very modern and decorative graphic pattern that recalls the desert sand or the beach. “The highest customization is clearly, what thrills me the most. Thanks to the support of the Marchigiana, a skilled artisan working in the same district, who helped me so much and whose handmade shoes are here shown, I realize exactly what the clients wish, no limits to their demands. Work satchels, backpacks, purses, rucksacks, accessories, whatever item is possible thanks to the trust-based relationship that is created between the artisan-designer and the customer”.
For Christmas, Alessandro has received several orders, also through his special “gift-card”, naturally a leather one, an effective tool for a valued present. And he soon might also need a co-worker, due to a big order of sustainable fabric bags. Furthermore, the classes to teach the bags hand sewing still are waiting to re-start in his laboratory. “Yes, I’m a teacher, too: I like it very much. We have already organized plenty of classes not only for youth but also for passionate professionals, from 30 years upwards, for a full immersion in a fascinating world”.