Photo Credit: Kema Anthony Mordi
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Fashion Designer Luciana Pulcini started with nothing. Literally. Despite a happy childhood, she found herself homeless shortly after moving to London. Durtti wants to learn more about what it has taken for Luciana to face such a seemingly insurmountable challenge and turn her fortunes around.
What is your happiest childhood memory, Luciana?
When I was sitting in my special room in my house’s attic, making a new dress for my Barbie doll using my mum’s old garments.
If you weren’t a fashion designer, what other career would you love to pursue?
A photographer or a writer I suppose, as I love arts and literature and I have had many happy experiences in the theatre – I was very good at it at school!
Who or what inspires your designs most of all and why?
After my arrival in London in December 2012 I started to have problems within my relationship and by 2013 I was homeless.
I have to be grateful that God was looking down on me from the sky and he guided me with the help of 3 families who gave me a place to stay.
They gave me things to wear, like their unwanted garments and it was at this moment where I started to learn how to adapt and up-cycle the clothes, using my hands.
Do you read any blogs? If so, which are your favourites and why?
I usually like to follow news from “Fashion Revolution” “Ethical Hour” and all the news related to the news in the Fashion Industry.
What would be the first thing you would like to change if you became the U.S. President?
Everyone would love to change something – and not only in the U.S.
But in reality, humanity has forgotten to be grateful, respectful and to truly value what we already have.
What do you love most about visiting new places that you have never been to before?
The colours, the architectures, the history and the culture of each country.
I love to discover new traditions and hear about stories of the people living in the place, to learn something new from them.
I always find some artisanal materials that inspire my creations!
What type of materials and textiles do you most love to work with and why?
Festival second-hand garments, because for me they still have a story to tell and strong memories for someone.
It’s a shame when we leave them for ages in a wardrobe.
Secondly, I always like to add to my transformations a piece of stock material from local markets or from some artisanal work.
I have a very high regard for people who work with their hands all day to create such amazing fabrics and I want to support their work and the local economy.
Is there anything you think you could never live without?
My dreams, my ambitions and my love to help other people.
Everybody has good days and bad days. How do you try and lift your spirits when you are not feeling great about something?
I always try to remember that failure is our best teacher.
When I go into my prayer and meditation space, I always compare what I had and what I have now and I start to be grateful again.
Which 3 people do you most admire in the fashion industry and why?
Coco Chanel because she changed the rules in the fashion industry with elegance.
Armani because he gives women a new impact on society which in previous decades only existed for a man.
I also have huge admiration for Steve McQueen, for his talent and his history.
What is your happiest holiday memory?
During my childhood, with my parents, on holiday to discover the mountains in Italy.
Breathing the air, seeing and hearing the nature and feeling so alive and grateful!
How would you describe yourself in just 3 words?
Brave. Creative. Ambitious.
What’s the best life advice you have ever been given?
Believe in yourself.
What’s the best business advice you have ever been given?
Follow your intuition, it already knows what you want to become.
Do you think you react the same when you are having a bad day as you did 5 years ago, or would you say you have changed and now try to deal with obstacles differently?
I have to admit that I have changed a lot in just 5 years and I’m still learning how to adapt my behaviour to deal with obstacles.
If you were stuck on a desert island for one month, with food and water, but no electricity, which 3 other things would you want with you?!
Bible, needle and thread.
If you were given one million Euros to spend on those less fortunate than you, how would you choose to spend it?
Supporting the homeless, Cancer Research, orphanages and a little farm for abandoned dogs.
What effect do you think affordable 3D printing technology will have on the fashion industry in the next 5 years?
I still don’t know enough about it but I am always fascinated by exciting potential new creative methods.
I only hope they use non-toxic materials so as not to negatively impact those who wear the garments, those who produce them, their families and the environment.
Finally, Luciana, with the benefit of your experience, what advice would you be able to give to a fashion design student who would like to build their own commercially viable label, but they just don’t know where to start to get things off the ground?
Be focused on what you really want to do and always follow this goal.
There will be a lot of sacrifices to make, so don’t quit the job you have in the meantime.
Be prepared and patient. A large enterprise requires time to be realised.
Be grateful and brave.
And always follow your intuition.
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