Serena and Manuela, are two young Italian fashion designers who graduated from NABA. They are work and life mates, a union of two different individual connections, but with one aspect in common: sustainability. In 2020, they founded Phantom.Duo, their fashion brand of one-of-a-kind pieces.
Let's get to know them better together with the brand of Phantom.Duo!
Phantom is an ideal, an abstract and immaterial concept, it is something visionary. Phantom is the union and extensions of ourselves to see things around.
There are two of you. Do you play different roles in Phantom.Duo, or do you go hand in hand on every step?
We haven’t defined our roles, we always try to move together. We are our small cosmos, where anything can happen.
Where do you get your inspiration to create?
Our inspiration comes from anything – from an image, from a moment, from a scene of daily life, from the people we go past on the street. Surely, contemporary art and photography are always among our main sources of inspiration, such as the blurry and undefined faces of Jesùs Leguizamo, the brushstrokes that flow lightly on the canvases of the artist Harry Ally, the sculptures – that seem almost alive – by Tomàs Saraceno, or the magnificent shots of the Japanese photographer Kawaguchi.
We strongly believe that there is not much time to waste and any move can help or destroy everything around us.
How does your creative process work?
Our creative process comes from research and inspirational images first. We find something of our interest and we study it, we break it down, we go into it. Then, we approach all this to the world of fashion, with concrete references that can help us build the garments; afterward, we move on to the search for the materials. We try to work with fabric scraps from companies, wasting as little fabric as possible, or else we work directly with existing garments that we break down, bringing them to new life.
Nowadays, people want to know more and more about the background of a piece of garment, in order to guarantee more transparency on the products. Would you like to tell us something about the background of one of your pieces?
Any of our pieces are born in our rooms, with our little sewing machines. It is the two of us who take care of everything, from design to production. We like to think that each piece is special and not something mass-produced whose importance loses its value.
We must remember that fashion is not just a garment to wear, but an idea that takes life.
On your Ig bio, there’s a playlist created by you. Are they songs that go along with the brand concept?
Sure! The songs we choose are the sound that goes with us in the story of the brand. Each song tells something, but above all it is our "inspiration playlist". Let's say, it helps us and keeps us company in the moments of creation.
Give us one positive and one negative side about being part of the fashion industry.
Nowadays, the market is changing and trying to fit into a fashion system that has more and more demands. It is difficult, but surely, what will always be positive in the fashion industry is that, despite everything, sometimes you can go back to what is the origin of fashion itself: creativity. We must remember that fashion is not just a garment to wear, but an idea that takes life.
We especially like to follow the philosophy of maximum freedom, we don't define anything in circumscribed spaces. Everything becomes what it wants to be.
What does your brand philosophy refer to?
Our brand definitely follows a sustainable philosophy, but that should be the basis of everything. We especially like to follow the philosophy of maximum freedom, we don't define anything in circumscribed spaces. Everything becomes what it wants to be.
Being sustainable is not easy. What does sustainability mean to you as designers?
Today, we hear much about sustainability – perhaps too much. We strongly believe that sustainability should not be a goal, but a means. This is in every responsible action that is carried out, and we do not want to identify it as the main story, but as one of the roads within the story itself.
Many brands and big companies are working with a more responsible kind of production. What’s your opinion on this? What actions are you taking as a sustainable brand?
We think that being sustainable has become “the fashion” within “fashion”. In a way, all brands feel forced to adopt this philosophy, losing sight of the importance of true sustainability. We try to move in a sustainable way not to keep up with the times, but rather because we strongly believe that there is not much time to waste and any move can help or destroy everything around us. We try to move through conscious use of textiles. Definitely, making everything ourselves from home without the use of other sources of energy, both human and mechanical, helps carry this message forward.
Obviously, our brand is very young and small and we don't have production times or quantities like other companies – this works in our favor if we talk about sustainability.