The Marchigiana: Entrepreneur Artisan

Coming to know Danie­la Dilet­ti, ‘La Mar­chi­gia­na’, in her workshop/store in San Sal­va­rio borou­gh is an all-around expe­rien­ce. The desi­gner, tea­cher, modern foot­wear ‘arti­san’ can repre­sent so many ‘lives’ that is tru­ly asto­ni­shing. Her lives and the ones of her belo­ved paren­ts Gabrie­le (the shoe arti­st) and Filo­me­na (the edger who makes the fini­shes). Spea­king with her gives to us, who are making the inter­view, but also to the who­le arti­sa­nal sec­tor a so far-rea­ching and modern breath: well-struc­tu­red never­the­less crea­ti­ve, dyna­mic whil­st respect­ful of lega­cies, rich in ‘cul­tu­re’ and remem­be­ring the roo­ts… Indeed, all you can ima­gi­ne for an arti­sa­nal futu­re of sure suc­cess is gro­wn in her with a so great effort. 

And her sto­ry begins from her family’s hard­ships, a sto­ry that has a deep and fun­da­men­tal con­nec­tion with the ter­ri­to­ry of Mar­che, sin­ce long-time reno­w­ned for the foot­wear sup­ply-chain. Her vil­la­ge in the coun­try near Asco­li Pice­no has never been a boun­da­ry. It is a cer­tain­ty, a pla­ce to come back and lea­ve again for new desti­na­tions in the world. With disar­ming intel­lec­tual hone­sty, she retra­ces the finan­cial ups and downs of her paren­ts’ fac­to­ry, the achie­ve­men­ts and fai­lu­res clo­se­ly rela­ted to the eco­no­mic deve­lo­p­ment of the Ita­lian fashion indu­stry sin­ce the ‘80s. 

Pas­sing throu­gh clo­su­res and restarts from the sale in small mar­ke­ts onto a take-over and legi­ti­ma­te reco­gni­tion of the cur­rent arti­sa­nal pro­fes­sio­na­li­ty, rich in new instru­men­ts. For Danie­la, Tori­no has been the city of the reco­ve­ry, not only her Uni­ver­si­ty stu­dies loca­tion. “Becau­se my paren­ts – she tells us – made me stu­dy, and that da been the tur­ning point”. A bache­lor in Con­ser­va­tion of Cul­tu­ral Heri­ta­ge in Viter­bo, a master at the Poli­tec­ni­co in Tori­no, whil­st a job in a call cen­ter and in some flea mar­ke­ts, whe­re lit­tle by lit­tle she had built custo­mers’ loyal­ty. From mar­ke­ts to the ope­ning of the shop in Via Saluz­zo, a refe­ren­ce point for more rela­xed pur­cha­ses, whe­re we meet Ric­car­do, her co-wor­ker that is respon­si­ble for the back-offi­ce. What shoes are we tal­king about? Becau­se of shoes we are spea­king and we are sur­roun­ded by them whi­le Danie­la is tal­king. Men, women, in some cases ‘uni­sex’, ico­nic models, bet­ter said a series of basic models made in black or bro­wn lea­ther (with the pos­si­bi­li­ty to custo­mi­ze them in dif­fe­rent colors) without any con­strain­ts impo­sed by fashion, but being an answer to the custo­mers’ needs. 

The custo­mers learn on Insta­gram how to reco­gni­ze the models’ pecu­lia­ri­ties, that must ove­rall gua­ran­tee com­fort. “My chal­len­ge is to ren­der attrac­ti­ve a com­for­ta­ble shoe. Our models chan­ge just accor­ding to the mate­rials we find. We work on hybrids, but the desi­gn is not so inte­re­sting to me, even if it is a defi­ned point as well as the approach to the pro­duc­tion pro­cess and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. I’m inte­re­sted in the pro­fes­sio­nal appa­ra­tus which has to move around arti­san­ship in the­se times. 

I’m a pas­sio­na­te tea­cher at the IAAD (whe­re I’m back to Histo­ry of Art and Desi­gn, a sub­ject I love) and I try to inspi­re in my stu­den­ts the need to know and stu­dy in mul­ti­ple direc­tions, in addi­tion to the will power, the per­se­ve­ran­ce, the accep­tan­ce of risks in order to esta­blish them­sel­ves as arti­sans”. In the sto­re, we noti­ce some beau­ti­ful hand­bags, which are Daniela’s own crea­tions, a true pas­sion of hers dated back to her youth. When she was fif­teen, rather than han­ging out with friends, she made her very fir­st hand­bag, which met a great suc­cess among her tea­chers… The cur­rent bags are spor­ty, anti-snat­ching (remem­be­ring her sub­way trips), and “tri­ples” (bac­k­pack, mes­sen­ger bag, and cross-body bag). It’s so huge the expe­rien­ce of this young entre­pre­neur that it sounds weird to ask her about the futu­re, but we know she will sur­pri­se us. 

In fact, here is her answer: “Accor­ding to my ana­ly­sis, I see two pos­si­ble direc­tions for our busi­ness sec­tor: the fashion system cri­sis that lea­ves some brea­ches pro­du­cing a natu­ral selec­tion on objec­ti­ve­ly use­less firms. But if the arti­san under­stands that also trai­ning as an entre­pre­neur is neces­sa­ry and this second aspect doesn’t affect crea­ti­vi­ty and talent, but valo­ri­ze them, well in this way the­re will be a bright futu­re also for youth. We need an open mind, discus­sion, a net, coo­pe­ra­tion and a lot of training. 

That’s why for ‘La Mar­chi­gia­na’ brand I’m thin­king to open some tem­po­ra­ry-shops in Ita­ly and in Euro­pe, some pop-up sto­res in order to show ico­nic models to be bought then onli­ne. It would be beco­ming a kind of nomad arti­san, still main­tai­ning a refe­ren­ce point in Tori­no that has been for us the city of reco­ve­ry. Fur­ther­mo­re, I’m wor­king on a beau­ti­ful pro­ject of bund­ling with some friends from Mar­che Ali­ce Cococ­cio­ni and Ali­ce Vitel­li, in order to crea­te a trai­ning insti­tu­tion for entre­pre­neur­ship on site. And then in Tori­no a branch of that school that can con­cre­te­ly offer an orien­ta­tion to gra­dua­tes who want to chan­ge their lives. Arti­sans lack the deve­lo­p­ment of the arti­sa­nal aspect. As women, with our fle­xi­bi­li­ty and open­ness, we dream of modern­ly reco­ve­ring the con­nec­tion bet­ween manu­fac­tu­re and ter­ri­to­ry, ope­ning it to eve­ry­bo­dy without distinc­tions. From here a fur­ther step towards poli­tics meant as pre­ser­va­tion, main­te­nan­ce and care for the public asse­ts, in my case, arti­san­ship, might be natu­ral… some­ti­mes in the future”. 

Best wishes Danie­la! We sup­port you so that tal­king to the futu­re may beco­me not only a chal­len­ge but a certainty.

Via Saluz­zo 33
Tel. 3519689500
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