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BRAND NEW – MUST SEE EMERGING BRANDS: VALENTINA ASIA – The Interview

Valentina Asia’s Warhola Bag: natural luxury meets the savoir faire of Salento.

Producing authentic products in Italy, the result of an ethical and conscious choice, linked to local craft realities contaminated by other contexts, such as goldsmithing or furniture: this is the mission of Valentina Asia, a brand born in 2020 in Salento, and named after its founder and designer, Valentina Russo.

Already in 2019, the first samples were made for the Warhola (also presented at the last edition of Altaroma) and Marisa bag models, but due to the pandemic, the project took an unexpected direction and opted for a made in Puglia production. “It was here that looking for support for the production of products, we discovered a part of our region, the productive one, thanks to the support and discovery of level-headed craft and business realities on the territory.”

The brand, described by Russo as a “summary of past experiences,” is an introspective as well as professional journey, encapsulated in the concept of “gathering the details and reworking the whole.” “Fragments of past lives, work experiences, artists who have involved us emotionally, along with new necessities of the historical period we are living in,” Russo explains. “All this fused into tangible products. Our first collection, ‘Mineraria Collection, languages of Possibilities,‘ talks about nature, art and sculpture, starting with a natural element, such as stone.”

A naturally luxury brand.
And in addition to Italian savoir faire, Valentina Asia is also a spokesperson for a new concept of luxury, not understood in the economic sense but as the possibility of wearing accessories that are unique because they are produced by hand, with natural materials, ennobled by craftsmanship.

In addition to production in Salento, the brand is also expanding to new types of products and production areas. “Italy, as with food and traditions, also has a different production culture depending on the area,” Russo says. “Therefore, we will also involve new artisan workshops on Vicenza for the jewelry line, as on Como for textile printing. Our company surplus leathers, for example, come from Marche, but the bags are all made in Puglia. “

The materials used are also unique and certified low environmental impact, as much as possible; for example, the hides come from corporate surplus from fashion houses and tanneries, or materials such as Apulian olive wood from Km 0 are used, as well as mahogany, ash, cherry and walnut, colored with water-based dyes. Stones, specifically quartzites and marbles, on the other hand, are purchased and processed by hand, explains the brand’s founder and designer.

Warhola: the banana bag presented at Altaroma.
The idea for Warhola, Valentina Asia’s banana bag, was born in 2019 when the world was talking about the Comedian performance aka “the banana with scotch” by artist Maurizio Cattelan, but the name Warhola refers to the Slovakian surname originally of another great artist, Andy Warhol, “he is the one who created the most iconic ‘banana’ in the hemisphere: the graphic made for the Velvet Underground,” Russo explains.

He continues, “the bag consists of a banana-shaped base and a detachable handle, which can be worn in different ways depending on the wearer, in free interpretation. Warhola also features the Crono zipper puller, an irregular circle button enameled with the brand’s color (the Mauve Opera by Pantone) that symbolizes time. The tirazip gave birth to the “Crono” jewelry line in brass and bronze galvanized gold and handcrafted enamel, the earrings of which are on the market today.” 

But Valentina Asia’s adventure does not end here; in fact, it has just begun: “There are always so many projects and we have some in progress for years!” Russo recounts. “We are a slow fashion brand that enjoys experimenting and we are aware that the quality of an accessory comes from the time you spend on it both in research, prototyping and then also testing it. There will be a continuation of the current collections, for example for the wooden sculpture bags and the Nuggets ( decor for Driade bags) both as an application and as a stand-alone accessory. The next release is planned for our second birthday in September 2022, it is the chrono ring, an 18k gold galvanized bronze wedding ring with micro chrono applications all over the surface.” and what can we say, we can’t wait to see the new designs!

When asked how the fashion industry will evolve in the coming years, Russo replied, ” Fashion is a form of expression that characterizes a historical period. Today being ethical, with a sustainable approach-where possible-is a social, civil and environmental responsibility!” He continues, “the revolution is taking place, in all aspects of our lives, we are as producers but also as buyers. We hope to be promoters of Made in Italy and artistic craftsmanship, exploiting all the aesthetic capabilities that are symbolic of Italian creativity, and to be able to do so in the most transparent way possible.”

 

by Maria Bellotto
20th July, 2022

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