DIY Clothes and a New Way of Looking at CraftFrancesca Palange
We are spending the afternoon in Rimini, in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, making the most of the fact that this is one of those cities where everything is within walking distance. Faithful to our editorial philosophy, which propels us to constantly seek out new sustainable enterprises, we happily leave behind the bright windows displaying their wares to those who love mass consumerism – although we do glance into a few antique shops which, in our opinion, perfectly embody the spirit of imaginatively reusing the past. We leave Via Dante Alighieri and head towards Via Bertola.
ReeDoLab’s window display is unmistakeable. On a wooden base structure, it shows a school blackboard and fabrics, wool and natural dyes; the display is simple, genuine and attractive.
Inside, it feels just like a workshop; it is filled with sewing machines (including a vintage Necchi which immediately catches my eye) and two large tables, perfect for the design and sewing courses, as well as finishing garments. Just like in a traditional tailor’s. However, ReeDoLab is a new incarnation of tailoring in that not only can the customer request a made to order garment or a simple alteration, but they also have the opportunity to create their own garment themselves, under the attentive instruction of Cristiana Curreli. And so, it is also a DIY fashion workshop.
Cristiana Curreli, who graduated in Haute Couture, is the key player in this studio, in which the prevailing thought is that making is infinitely better than buying. Better still is the idea that if the client has bought a fabric or has an old piece of fabric languishing in a drawer that they would like to put to good use, then they can put themselves to the test by making something specific, from the design phase right up to the finishing touches. Because there are already so many ready to wear items, all the same, cluttering up the clothes rails in shops. Yet, something special, made with one’s own hands in the workshop, with Cristiana’s competent instruction, will be truly unique.
Further, the workshop is not only concerned with making items, but they also collaborate with others. Some of the garments on show are not only unique in the sense of their design and assembly, but also in their use of plant dyes and prints. You can feel the presence of Michela Pasini, Rosso di Robbia; her printed fabrics are unmistakeable and add another unique touch to handmade garments. On some of the clothes hang beautiful necklaces; the ceramic beads and fabrics contrast attractively with one another.
In one corner the visitor can browse among the skeins and tangles of the precious natural yarns, which include cashmere, alpaca wool, sheep’s wool, hemp and cotton, all in magnificent vegetable-derived colours. On Tuesday evening there is a collective knitting session; even beginners can join in and learn how to improve their skills with the help of experts.
Design, sewing, recycling, natural dyes and prints (using leaves and roots); these are all the result of the experience and work of the many people who have made their skills available through courses and by consulting their customers. The customers are a mixed public, aware of the importance of manufacturing in a way which is both respectful to the environment and mankind, and they are careful to avoid waste, moved by a desire to reuse and place more importance on handmade with this innovative formula. An afternoon at Cristiana Curreli’s ReeDoLab is enough to confirm that this is a place of vital importance, where handmade and traditional handicraft is reinvented for today’s taste. Where it becomes, in short, “a new craft”.