A Conversation with Aurora

Embracing the Up-and-Coming Wave of Fashion Designers

As we embrace the up-and-coming wave of fashion designers, we are thrilled to share our conversation with Aurora. Her first name doubles as her brand name (Aurora De Matteis); a young woman walking the fashion industry with a polite demeanor and a clear sense of an ethically run business.

We first met Aurora a couple of years ago at a fashion exhibition in the heart of Milano. Her universe, small, focused, and well-crafted, conveyed emotion to us. So we kept in touch until, finally, we placed an order. Indeed, we are leaders in uncovering talented designers committed to exceptional design, premium materials, and ethical practices.

Read our conversation with Aurora to find out more about the brand!

Aurora – the conversation

• How did your passion for fashion begin? What is your background?
I always thought I wanted to do this in life because I always loved creating something with my hands. Actually, my mother passed down to me a certain passion; she taught me how to crochet when I was little. In fact, I used to make handmade crochet earrings. I’m passionate about handicrafts and artisanal work. I love the world of graphics, but after high school, I enrolled in Secoli Institute to get a technical background in fashion. I did well in pattern making, learning to make a whole garment. My passion for manual work led me to take a knitting course recently. Learning new skills stimulates me; in this sense, I never stop.

• What inspired you to start your slow fashion brand, and what values do you aim to promote through your designs?
After graduating from fashion school, I could work for big companies where I would have focused on just one specific thing, like being a pattern designer. But I like to explore, research materials, so, despite all the difficulties, I chose to launch my own brand. Mine is a brand that believes in slow fashion, which means attention to fabrics and well-made garments, things big brands often overlook. But, above all, it’s a brand that aims to convey the value of the time needed to create a handmade garment in a small workshop. Time, quality, and ethics are values I believe in.

Image of Aurora Spring-Summer 24 collection
Aurora Spring-Summer 24 collection

• What is your vision of style? Can you share insights about your design philosophy and how it aligns with the concept of slow fashion?
“Less is more” is a concept resonating deep within me. A quote from Mies van Der Rohe explains it all: “Please, do not confuse simple with easy, there is a big difference. I love simplicity because of its clarity, not because of its ease or for other reasons. To achieve clarity we must simplify practically everything. It’s hard work. You have to fight, and fight, and fight.” Indeed, this process of distilling from complexity to essentiality is what I find interesting.

Minimalism reconnects to my pattern-making studies, garment construction. Specifically, making it distinctive in terms of construction. Instead of prints or decorations, I prefer to create colour blocks because I focus on lines and shapes. However, this design concept perfectly aligns with my vision of slow fashion because it allows me to emphasize the quality and longevity of the garment through a timeless style. ‘What’s in fashion this year?’ has always puzzled me. Who decides that? Today, talking about fashion can be chilling, with unwearable clothes and exorbitant prices.

• How do you ensure sustainability and ethical practices in your production process?
Many stop at the labels, but natural doesn’t mean sustainable. For instance, see natural viscose. It may be natural, but it has a significant environmental impact. I focus more on quality materials. And I only work with suppliers who don’t impose high minimums. Moreover, I produce without waste in a small artisanal workshop, ensuring ethical and sustainable manufacturing because I make limited quantities. I myself sew in my workshop in Turin. Everything is made in Italy, in small batches. I am against overproduction. Indeed, the concept of limited quantities is crucial to limit our impact on the environment.

• How do you evaluate conversations about sustainability?
Superficial. In fact, I don’t say that my brand is sustainable, I demonstrate it through actions. Often I’m asked: ‘Is this all you have?’ Yes, exactly: a capsule collection, thoughtful and well-made.

• What challenges have you faced in establishing your brand within the competitive fashion industry?
The showrooms have asked me to do things from their point of view without considering my project. They are seeking the product, not the idea. Just to sell more. My way of working was almost belittled. It shows a certain lack of attention from industry operators because if you want a massive production, you don’t go to an emerging brand.

• Do you think enough space is given to young people in Italy?
Unfortunately, Italy is an old country, doesn’t give space to young people.

After reviewing her Spring-Summer 24 collection, we were impressed by the precise cuts and fresh take on fashion. Also, we discovered each other within a philosophy that felt familiar: a shared vision of design and meaning. So, we hope you enjoyed our conversation with Aurora. In the end, isn’t it time to give space to the new generation of creatives?

So stay tuned to discover more about Aurora designs #formodernhumans

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