Sustainability at Pitti:
Federico Cina
Edition 100
Federico Cina Is Indelible

Sustainability at Pitti is a series of interviews that celebrate fashion’s climate-conscious innovators. By providing a platform for the designers that put sustainability at the core of their brand, we hope to inspire and lead a wave of change within our industry, helping us all to push for a better future together.

It’s impossible to look at Federico Cina’s creations without losing yourself in its intricate print work. Since launching his eponymous brand in 2019, Federico Cina’s homeland of Romagna has provided the pulse for his garments, inspiring the graphic designs that merge the rich heritage of the historical Italian region with contemporary silhouettes.
“I was born in Sarsina,” says Cina, “a small medieval town located in the heart of Romagna between Forlì and Cesena. Its main purpose is to realize garments that fully represent the romantic and bucolic history and culture of my homeland, Romagna, but re-adapted in a more modern way.”

The preservation of heritage also speaks to Cina’s appreciation and acknowledgment of the environment as an integral element in the creation process. The designer only works with local institutions and artisans, using his collections as a means to elevate their craft and to ensure a close overview of his supply chain to the best of his ability.

Ahead of his latest collection reveal at Pitti this year, we sat down with Cina to learn more about what this actually looks like in practice. The result of that conversation you can find below. 
Talk us through your new collection “Indelible.” What’s the story there?

The core of this project is to enhance the local craftsmanship and its heritage but re-adapting it to new needs and times. [It] is composed of unique, timeless garments that aim to last in anyone's closet [and to] reduce waste in the fashion industry. The focal points are the prints on each garment, which represent the typical decoration for table cloth in Romagna; the particularity of these bucolic and unique decorations is given by local artisans [who use a] handmade technique [dating] back to the XVII century. Today, they have become the distinctive symbol of my brand.

You say the collection enhances local craftsmanship. How? Is this approach only part of this collection or something you always try to integrate?

We enhance local craftsmanship [in] the creation of every collection. Our supply chain and headquarters are mainly located in Romagna, and everything happens between Rimini and Cesena. This results in more control over our garments in both the quality and the sustainable aspects.    
Tell us about your print work. What is the design inspired by? Who does the prints, and what dyes do you use?

[As] the Romagnola print represents the typical decoration for clothes and table cloths in Romagna, all the designs recall the rural and bucolic culture: the grape, the rooster, the pomegranate, the wheat. In fact, it’s called the “Indelible” collection, thanks to the durability of the colors applied on the fabric even after many cleanings. 

For [the] collection, we collaborated with [historic textile printing workshop] Stamperia Marchi, located in Santarcangelo di Romagna, founded in 1633. The process to place these prints on the garments is not simple. Firstly, you have to stretch and press the canvases to make them compact and ready to be printed. Then you use a handcrafted mold that’s drenched in natural colors [and] carefully applied on the canvas. [Then] the mold is kept still while the artisan hits it with a small sledgehammer to perfectly fix the color. The colors are obtained from rust, while wood molds and canvases are from locally cultivated hemp.
You say that Craftmanship, Sustainability, and Humanity are the core values of your brand. What does this mean to you?
Craftsmanship is represented by the correlation between passion and tradition. There is a continuous dialogue between the past and the present, the older and the newer generations. Our aim is to promote craftsmanship while at the same time reinterpreting the traditional male silhouettes into new forms and ideas.

Being sustainable, for us, doesn’t only mean using sustainable elements but also the more humanist aspect, it means supporting and creating opportunities inside the environment you are working within. It means to develop the Romagna ecosystem and all the districts that are collaborating with us.

The concept of humanity finds its origin in the need for a return to a simple and genuine beauty, which starts from an anthropological view that puts the person, its emotions, its memories at the center. 

These three pillars translate into an approach aimed at enhancing companies and artisans with whom we collaborate. Our goal is not to overload an already saturated system but to create products of indelible value over time.
You say your entire supply chain is based in Romagna. Why did you decide to do this? And are you including every single element (such as the growing of cotton)? What qualities do you look for in a supplier?

We decided to have the majority of our supply chain in Romagna because we are fully convinced that our land should be fully involved in the development of our brand, not only on the creative side. In order to do so, we decided to produce our garments between Cesena and Rimini.

The fabrics are not 100 percent from Romagna, but they are still 100 percent Italian — most of the fabrics we use come from Manteco, a Tuscan textile company [that specializes] in sustainable luxury fabrics. We carefully choose our suppliers [while considering] two main aspects: the quality and the sustainability of their products on the one hand, and the humanity of the people who work for the company on the other.

What are the biggest obstacles you face as a designer in regards to creating responsible collections?
Creating sustainable products requires an ethical, slow process. In today's society where everything is taken for granted, I feel that the most difficult aspect is to communicate the product in the right way, transmitting to the consumer the value and hard work of the artisans.
How do you feel about the industry’s current sustainability efforts? What change do you hope to see?

Luckily nowadays finding sustainable fabrics is becoming easier but that is just a small segment of the design process. I think that society has to work in order to make the entire production chain sustainable, starting from the design to the consumer.

Do you have any top tips or words of advice for brands and designers looking to be more responsible in their work?
I believe that for a brand, especially if it is emerging, it is essential to integrate sustainable dynamics right away. I think it is important to find a personal meaning of sustainability and to make these values our own. It can be a difficult choice at the beginning, but this choice must be faced as an investment, in the value of your company and for the future of all of us.

Explore the collections, contact the brand, request an online appointment, and much more.