GENT - In conversation with upcycling designer Giulia Ada Amico

April 10, 2018

Giulia, from Sicily and based in Gent (Belgium), is the creative ánd business brain behind the upcycling-brand "Adadore". Giulia creates children clothing and toys from secondary materials, sourced from production leftovers, vintage stocks and second-hand items. 




Who or what inspires you? 

When I go back to Palermo, I often visit old workspaces to observe and learn from artisans making typically Sicilian handicrafts. I am very fascinated by the "pupi siciliani", the puppets in the traditional Sicilian marionette theatre, or by the "coppola", the typical hat from the island. As I create children clothes and toys, I draw a lot of my inspiration from my childhood memories. In Gent, I would recommend visiting the Dr. Guislain museum to anyone struggling with an artists' block! 


What is your favourite fabric to work with? 

I like to work with natural fibres such as cotton and linnen: they feel like summer. I think my Sicilian origins always influence my taste and choices of fabric, patterns and textures - but in the end I work with everything I find that fits my brand. I get my fabrics from second-hand markets, from the closet of my grandmother or through donations, it's extremely diverse. 


How did your upbringing and life-path influence your career choices? 

I studied fashion design in Florence, but when I graduated and started working in the fashion industry, I quickly understood it wasn't the right choice for me. My work experience as a designer was very static: I was spending so much time in front of a screen, which I felt was killing my creativity. I also didn't like the mass production concept - producing over and over again, always the same story. But most of all I was disturbed by being involved in such a tiny part of the process: I would make a drawing and eventually get to see the finished product, but in the actual making that happened in between, I was not even slightly involved. I realised I wanted to be a designer and an artisan, I wanted to use my hands in the process.

But it was only when, on one of my travels, I met a sustainable entrepreneur who encouraged me that my ideas had potential, that I started believing that this was more than a dream, that I could actually start something by myself.  And so I launched "Adadore", now two years ago. 


All work and no fun? 

It’s 50/50! It's fun when you get into the creative rhythm, but it's a lot of work. I was a bit naive in the beginning, starting up an upcycling brand just like that. I struggled with being an independent entrepreneur, with the regulations and taxes involved. But at the same time that was the necessary push for me to take my brand seriously and make it professional. In the end, you're alone in the adventure and everything depends on you. I am the graphic designer, the photographer, the producer, the marketeer - that's overwhelming. But i love what i do and cannot imagine myself in any other job at the moment. 





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