Fashion Designer Of The Week: Introducing The Talented Cecilia Rinaldi

Cecilia Rinaldi is a brand dedicated to ethical and conscious fashion. Cecilia, with her team, creates clothing and accessories based on environmental and social sustainability using fabrics and organic materials produced in Italy.

Each collection is created with the idea of Slow Fashion, emphasizing sustainability, beauty, longevity and respect for humanity. Italian style is combined with a deconstructed form influenced by different Asian cultures resulting in a refined and minimal urban chic style.

She promotes continual research into new innovative methods while always referencing Italian traditions to maintain high-quality products with a low environmental impact. We believe that providing the option to buy one quality garment over multiple low-quality items contributes to reducing the environmental impact of a wardrobe.

Cecilia Rinaldi is a fashion designer with a professional course of studies of multifaceted experiences that have allowed her to form 360 degrees in the role of sustainable designer, development textile research, pattern and draping maker, and fashion prototypist.

After high school, in 2010, she graduated from Accademia Italiana Art, Fashion and Design in Florence, where she has been teaching since September 2015 and coordinating the Fashion Design department since 2020. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wales in the same year. After her studies, Cecilia dedicated herself to her professional vocation: she deepened her sartorial techniques, blending design through creative research and the study of materials.

At the Esmod International University of Art for Fashion in Berlin, Cecilia specializes in Fashion Design, completing her training in the creation of stylistic design and sartorial techniques. In 2013 and 2014, she went to the United States. While attending Richland College Multicultural Studies in Dallas, TX, she worked as a fashion designer for private clients and specialized as a buyer working in a Haute Couture Boutique. Traveling assiDuously, Cecilia comes into contact with different contexts and cultures and is always looking for new incentives: she matures and nourishes her style, which draws inspiration from nature and the surrounding environment. which are the inspiration for her research and new ideas. This allows her style to grow continually and mature, keeping her sustainable and artisanal foundation in mind. An essential feature of her modus operandi is the attention to the manual process. Cecilia’s fashion is, first of all, an ethical, sustainable fashion: respect for the environment and for the individual and human rights have always been the reference point in the work process and the creation of her collections.

She has devoted herself to her handmade vocation, deepening her sartorial and design techniques through creative research and the study of materials and fabrics. Cecilia values collaboration and looks for opportunities to volunteer with other sustainable brands around the globe as a way to increase her knowledge and help spread and support the movement of sustainable and ethical fashion locally and around the world.

Sassy & Co magazine recently caught up with Cicilia to discuss her journey in the fashion industry, and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the fashion industry?

After my first academic education, in 2010, I a three-year degree from Cardiff University Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design and an academic diploma from Accademia Italiana Art Fashion Design Piazza Pitti in Florence, where I currently work as a professor and fashion department coordinator, in 2010 I started with my first job in a fashion consultant studio in Modena, my hometown, where I worked as an assistant designer, a researcher of trends and fabrics, developing collections for various fashion brands in the office style. After a couple of years in the studio, in 2012, I attended the ESMOD International Fashion University in Berlin, where I deepened and learned the stylistic skills of fashion and tailoring techniques. Later I moved to the United States, living and working for two years between Dallas and New York, where I started several important fashion collaborations with luxury ateliers and with sustainable independent brands. Finally, in 2015 I returned to Italy, where I decided to open my own sustainable fashion brand Cecilia Rinaldi definitively. it is based between Emilia and Tuscany, Italy, in the meantime starting important collaborations with Italian and international realities companies and specializing more and more in the field of sustainable fashion.

What do you like most about being a designer?

What I like most about being a designer is researching new ideas, trends, and concepts, developing shapes, and researching fabrics and new materials. Get to know other new and existing cultural realities. But perhaps the side that interests me most is in researching textile materials and illustrating fashion sketches. Last but not least, I will never stop being enthusiastic to see how from an idea, we can create a real fashion collection, both wearable and exhibited in important cultural exhibition fairs.

The downside to being a fashion designer?

Maybe one downside to being a fashion designer is its loneliest side, especially during the creation and research phases. During the research, I spent a lot of time alone and often worked late into the night, unfortunately neglecting friends and family.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the fashion industry so far?

Probably the training period I did in the United States: in Dallas and New York City (especially in New York) I had the honor of meeting and collaborating with important designers, influencers, journalists, politicians, personal shoppers, and prominent personalities in the fashion world and society.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

The most interesting people I’ve met so far are Tara St James, an independent sustainable fashion designer, an activist, an expert on supply chain and sustainability, and the personal shoppers of Rihanna and Oprah Winfrey. However, I still know and have the privilege of knowing many realities and famous people. But the discovery of other new cultures will always be the most fascinating part of my job.

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned in the fashion industry? This can be about the industry or about yourself.

One of the most valuable lessons I have learned while working in the fashion industry is to know the real differences between the world of Fast Fashion and Slow Fashion or Sustainable Fashion. Hundreds and thousands of people are working behind a product in the fashion industry, and most of these are exploited. Unfortunately, behind the fashion system is heavy human and environmental resources exploitation. This was perhaps the most impactful lesson I learned. After several travels and encounters with different cultures and realities, I definitively decided to open my own sustainable fashion brand, trying to contribute to a more right world by activating myself with my work in researching new materials, researching new business fashion models through the creation of my collections and through the education I try to transmit more sustainable values both ethical and environmental, finding new ways to change fashion towards greater transparency and traceability for a sustainable new value chain in the fashion industry.

Is your family supportive of you being a fashion designer?

Absolutely yes. They support me and have always supported me. Without my family and friends, I would never have overcome certain difficulties, stressful moments, and even failures that I have found along the way. I believe having family, supportive friends, and colleagues is essential to undertake this path.

If you could go back in a time machine to when you were just starting, what would you do differently?

Right now, I would say that I would do everything again as I did. I have no regrets and believe there is the right time for everything. Well, maybe I would have moved to Florence first, but who would have known that a global pandemic would come?

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

The best advice I’ve ever been given was probably not to give up in the face of difficulties, to always get involved, not to lose the curiosity that characterizes me, always be critical and aware of what surrounds me, to continue to ask questions but above all never stop smiling.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

My future plans are to live and work in Florence, working and helping my Italian community without forgetting the world. Continue to develop my brand and make it grow, create my annual fashion collections and wedding dresses. Working in education as a professor and researcher consultant in the sustainability area. Therefore, I’d want to create a more stable future: by 2022, I will also open my studio/atelier inside the Il Conventino Caffè Letterario in Florence, a historical building in Florence with a deep sustainable, cultural, and artisanal attitudine surrounded by greenery among artists and craftsmen.