Raffaele Ascione - pop culture and ornamental garments

 Raffaele Ascione

- Introduce yourself shortly (it could be few words, quotation, sentence, etc.)
- Hi! I am Raffaele Ascione, a young Fashion Designer, who wants to make women beautiful.
I am Italian, born and raised in Germany and have the thickest Irish accent ever... so a little mongrel I suppose.
I went to CSM (Central Saint Martins) to do my MA, and I am completely obsessed with Beverly Hills 90210 (the original), Britney Spears and Hip Hop Culture.

- Have you been creative as a child? What was your favourite activity/game/story?
- Yes, I remember that I was always drawing and dancing. I used to draw and scribble on top of everything. Everytime I used to be on the phone to my friends I used to draw on top of whatever was lying beside the phone... like bills and other stuff. My mum used to kill me over it!
And I always danced... I suppose dancing and making up choreographies to Janet Jackson, Brandy and Destiny's Child was my biggest hobby.

- What was your first ever made item that you were proud of? Do you still keep it?
- It was this plaster brooch, which was pink and had chains stuck to it with little blobs of glitter. I must have been six years old... oh God, I loved it so much!!! And yes, my mum still keeps it safe, so everytime I go back to Germany I always want to see it!!! (Nostalgia)

- What are the main differences between you as a person and you as a designer?
- Simple... I am a person, totally drawn to urban scenery, pop culture and the world of hip hop music. Sometimes I love some tacky stuff and I am a person who is satisfied with simple things. But when it comes to my work, I am like a germinator - very organized, super focused German who loves to work. Even though my private passions inspire me for my work, you are never instantly able to tell it’s my work. My work is always super feminine and very decorative, so there is a nice healthy controversy regarding my work! Keep it fresh!!

- You are creating for women. Describe the ideals and what do you think is unseen/new in your design?
- I don’t know, if it’s unseen. I am a big believer in the saying "Everything has been done before", but just go and make it your own and try to make it better!!! You will always see things that remind you of something else, but that's not bad in any way. I will just keep going with my aesthetic and make sure it’s always Raffaele Ascione.

- Where do you search for inspiration?
- Life, my friends, all the strong and amazing Women I am surrounded with at all times, my mother, experiences, Hip Hop culture, old magazines, music and telly.

- Do you have special rituals before you start to create?
- No, not really, I like starting with creating textiles, decor ideas and then fabric research... The rest comes naturally!!! No set process through!

-  You are based in London. How does it influence you?
-Lots, it’s such a vibrant city that is always developing. I have been here for a while, went to Milan for a year and came back for my Masters, and honestly I wouldn’t really want to move!!! My friends, opportunities, reality, creativity and the energy are the things which will keep influencing me.

- Before you started to work on your own, you had worked at Max Mara and Gareth Pugh. Tell more about this experience and how do you connect gained skills into your work?
- It was a little surreal at the start, as Max Mara is a huge company with everything you could wish for. We were spoilt with opportunities, facilities and technical teams. I adapted quite quickly as I had to do a good job. The commerciality killed me at first, but quickly got used to it and focus on that. I learned so much there about the business, the entire process and working in team and alone. I owe them a lot, and Gareth, the nicest guy in the world. I learned so much there too. It was so different, obviously he has his own process of working, and it’s very different to most companies, but yet really special. I worked with him for three seasons on and off, and he really taught me about creating some very logical and straightforward techniques. He is a very clever guy, so I am really grateful for my time there. It was very carefree and super creative. Sometimes I felt like I was working more with an artist than fashion designer.

- What is the process from primal idea to the final outcome? What part is the hardest?
- Well, no set process, but I like creating fabrics and textiles first. Then I start designing, researching at the same time, when decided on what design, I go and make toiles. After fittings it goes into sample production. The hardest thing is to make the fabrics behave the same way as your drawings, especially if you want a fabric to be stiff or move in a certain way!!! Other than that, no fears... it’s all about solving problems!!

- You showcased your clothes at LFW. What does it mean for you and what have changed since then?
- It meant a lot to me, I was so glad Vauxhall Fashion scout offered me a spot, after receiving that and the moral support, I was ready to go!!!
I had so much creative freedom regarding the presentation, models, music etc. I was super busy and it was hard work to be playing 3 roles at once, but I learned loads, and had all my amazing friends helping me on that. The feedback has been amazing, I am drowned in private orders, the press is going really well and the profile is rising a little bit. You know, I take a step at a time so we will see what the future will bring!!

- Do you feel that you need to march and fight to get public’s attention?
- Yes of course, every young designer who is serious about his work should march and fight. Take on any exciting opportunity and keep a nice relationship with all the people who believe in your work!!! And honestly I enjoy this part as well. Eventually if you will pass this type of work on someone else, you will know that no one can fool you.

- Thoughts about your future, dreams and hopes.
- Dream... I really want to showcase my next collection with a catwalk show, and secure some exciting stockists. And obviously have all the women and hopefully men eventually wearing my clothes! We will see!!!

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