Reality can be too boring if you have the imagination of Tania Cellini, a young fashion designer from Rome. Always surrounded by so much beauty, Tania wants to sew together fashion and art. She studied painting and sculpture at high school and later she attended the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome. During her academic career, Tania learnt everything about the production process, from the research of materials to the final result. Tania is currently attending the Master in Painting at the Academy of the Fine Arts in Carrara, while continuing her individual research in visual arts.
Tania’s ethical sensibility came out during the writing of her degree thesis about the circular economy, the up-cycle, and the usage of second-hand clothes in fashion industry. Such an important topic for a designer.
“In Coconut’s World the “perfect beauty” doesn’t exist, what dominates this magical world is a sort of magical imperfection”
The drawings made in the high school period strongly inspired Tania’s fashion
collection. It was presented at the Rome Fashion Week 2019 and during the London
Graduate Fashion Week 2019, Tania secured the second place of the
International Catwalk 2019. Nevertheless Tania continued to work on her project.
She won the Artist in Residence at the Urban Nation Museum in Berlin.
In Germany she had the opportunity to work with visual arts but also with clothes.
Art and fashion came together when she produced a series of paintings on second-hand clothes that she bought at the flea market and vintage shops in Berlin.
Coconut. This is the name of Tania’s fashion collection and it represents a surreal world born from the waste of second-hand clothes. In Coconut’s World the “perfect beauty” doesn’t exist, what dominates this magical world is a sort of magical imperfection. It is a “world” in which Tania escaped during the years of adolescence, the hardest one for her. The sense of confusion that belongs to adolescence is perfectly reflected in her clothes (that Tania used to buy at the flea markets). One of the main characteristics of Tania’s collection is the usage of bright colours. This could be seen as a symbol of a new life or, a second life to these garments.
In “Coconut’s World” you represent a surrealistic world which is clearly dominated by emotions. When you started to draw these characters, what were the emotions or thoughts that guided you?
I started to draw “Coconut’s World” and its characters when I was 15 years old while I was attending the high school. The first drawing was made for a friend’s birthday and it was inspired by a character of an Isabella Santacroce’s book. These drawings were for me a space of evasion: I was able to build amazing characters, imaginary friends who accompanied me throughout the difficult teenage years… In this way, I managed to keep my childhood imagination alive.
“Coconut’s World” is a little bit contradictory: the characters’ eyes and their expressions communicate melancholy, while your clothes and prints are colourful and able to transmit a lot of positivity. So, could we consider “Coconut’s World” as a set of different positive and negative emotions, that meet and collide between each other?
Sure! The key issue of my research is the collision, the meeting and clash between good and evil, melancholy and well-being. I like contrasts in general. The characters may suffer sometimes, but they are tragicomic: their pain and melancholy become something cathartic. This is exactly what I want to transmit with this collection. It is often possible to bring to life something positive beautiful starting from something negative or painful. The pleas and sad expressions of the character are meant to create empathy with the viewer who feels comprehension, compassion or, perhaps, indifference and discomfort.
“One of the main characteristics of Tania’s collection is the usage of bright colours. This could be seen as a symbol of a new life or, a second life to these garments.”
We know you care about eco-sustainable fashion and the recycle of fabrics in order to create new clothes. In your opinion, how is it possible to give a “new life” to an already used fabric, making it recognizable and adapting it to your style?
I have always been passionate of vintage and second-hand clothing: circular economy in the fashion system was the topic of my dissertation. I believe in the big potential of recycle and up cycle. Second - hand fabrics are really good raw material from the stylistic and sustainable point of view. These fabrics are full of memories, experiences that through the work of a fashion designer can give life to something unique, totally different from the original product. I think it is necessary to analyse the "starting clothes" before adapting them to the new product. The creative process is different for each garment. It is very challenging for me to work on an already existing product, it sounds like a collaboration between me and the previous designer who created product first.
What is the greatest satisfaction you have achieved so far as a fashion designer?
My biggest satisfaction is to be classified as the second finalist of the International Catwalk during the Graduate Fashion Week 2019 in London. I took part in this annual fashion show where designers from the best fashion academies in the world compete against each other. Being the second finalist was a great satisfaction. I am very happy that an international audience appreciated my work.
“I believe in the big potential of recycle and up cycle. Second - hand fabrics are really good raw material from the stylistic and sustainable point of view.”
Thinking about your future, is there a dream you would like to fulfil as a fashion designer?
I would like to create products that come from my artistic research, garments accessible to as many people as possible. I believe in the idea of designing as the combination of art and utility, a “democratic” art, replicable and available to everyone. Clothes are our shield and I want people to perceive that sense of protection, comfort and happiness whenever they are wearing my creations. My dream is to build my own brand and to produce one-off fashion pieces. I would like to collaborate with other artists in order to create new collections, but always starting from the artistic research.
Follow Tania and her journey on instagram.
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