Words & Photos – Justin Howard @jthnomad
Editorial – Black Chalk Magazine @blackchalkmagazine
Riccardo created Alto Italiano as a place to showcase emerging design talents. “The name reflects Los Angeles – the urban edge of Downtown meets the Silverlake Hipster.” The showroom is a double-edged sword in other ways, when you walk in it looks like a den of notorious street artists with graffiti style art work covering most of the walls.
Alto Italiano is located in the thriving LA Brea area of Los Angeles. The showroom is functioning as an incubator for up-and-coming artists and designers, of whom Riccardo represents. Most products favor reused materials – jewelry is made from reworked ball typewriter parts, strings of letters in silver or brass becoming rings and pendants.
Black Chalk – How did you decide to open your showroom?
Riccardo – We were already representing a handful of brands from Italy, then things just got bigger and louder. We were approached by different brands with different needs. So we decided to create a space that could actually work as a showroom and also as a boutique.
Black Chalk – What inspired you to work with up-and-coming artists and designers?
Riccardo – Their designs & ideas are very good and they are very good at getting support from the modern platforms of social media. Very important, the prices, which are aligned with the market and not unaffordable like most people think for products who comes from Italy.
Black Chalk – What’s your philosophy about the ART of fashion?
Riccardo – I don’t think I have one. I just go for ”wear whatever gives you confidence and makes you feel good.”
Black Chalk – So I hear you’re a fashion designer. What inspired you to get into fashion design?
Riccardo – Let’s say that todays fashion designers are more a sort of ‘ideas-mood-hunters’. I like quality, I like garments that fit right and most important that sell. Create amazing pieces don’t necessary pay the bills. I look at the market, see what could be missing and take it from there.
Black Chalk – What do you enjoy most about designing clothes?
Riccardo – The most fascinating part for me is to go behind. Way behind the design itself and get to know the ‘wheres & hows’ of the fabrics, aka were they are made.
Black Chalk – As a designer what is the most challenging part of your job?
Riccardo – The most challenging aspect, as the vast majority of the jobs, is Selling the products you have made.
Black Chalk – What’s your favorite piece? Why?
Riccardo – Still my black t-shirt! It has been my only very favorite piece for many years.. It could change one day.. Who knows..
Because I don’t have to choose what to wear. I like everything beside bootcut jeans and the hippies-gipsy look.
Black Chalk – How do you intend people to feel when wearing your pieces?
Riccardo – Good, confident and satisfied with their purchase.
Black Chalk – What do you wish people would understand about working in the fashion industry?
Riccardo – It is a hell of a business where very few make it big or right. Even you make it big.. It won’t last for long time as it used to back in the days. The incredible handmade fashion pieces won’t get you anywhere if not supported by the very ‘big money’ who can bring to the table marketing, visibility and sales. 90% is about the $$.
Black Chalk – Anything we should keep our eyes open for in the future?
Riccardo – It’s time to go “greener”, it’s time to wear quality and keep an eye on what’s really inside the fabrics we wear. How we treat our planet for future generations to come.
I’m about to launch in a couple of weeks a new brand named -SIMPLEGOODS – entirely made from Hemp and Nettle.
We also consume 75% less water to wash the garments. We wash using natural surfactants using way way less detergents. We use cotton free of pesticides (35% of world production of pesticides goes on cotton fields)… And so on like our viscose made from elephant poop! Yes thats right, Hahaha I see your face.. well I’ll tell you more next time. God bless. Ciao!!