Meet the creative mind behind Pugnetti Parma, the winner of “Who is on next? 2016” edition

December 27, 2016

I spotted Filippo Pugnetti’s collection at the Vogue’s Italia “WHO IS ON NEXT” event held at Palazzo Morando in Milano. His collection caught my attention. I stopped by for a moment to take a closer look. Filippo was there as well, so we started talking. He seemed to be very passionate about his work so I dared to ask him if he would have time to grab a coffee together in order to get more information about his collection and to get to know him better. At that time, he was pretty busy and he had to travel back and forth, but he said I should get back to him by the end of November.

Time passed and as I am very persistent when it comes to getting what I want, I contacted him again. He replied and I was more than happy because we were supposed to have lunch together soon.

We met on a cold and almost rainy November day. He arrived there on time and I was the one being late. Since the beginning I noticed that he has something special, something that is different. I mentioned about my intention to write about emerging designers and about the story behind the scenes.

Everything started in 2006, when he was still at the university in Brescia and he bought the VOGUE magazine. Filippo saw in the magazine the winner of Vogue’s Italia “Who is on next” competition and he promised to himself that he will get there one day. When dreams come true…

Filippo has a very different approach compared to other designers. He doesn’t like just to sketch the products, but also to touch the leather and to see the different patterns. We both agreed on the fact that nowadays it’s extremely difficult to find someone that has the same taste and shares the same vision. That’s why he prefers to work with someone that has a different approach and at the same time someone with whom he can share different perspectives.

It took quite long till the waitress took our order. Finally, I wanted to order a coffee as well, but as I knew that Italians like to drink their espresso after lunch, I preferred to wait. Filippo suddenly said “you know what, let’s take a coffee”. I started laughing, because it felt like he doesn’t like to stick to the rules. I literally enjoyed every moment spent with him.

Even though he has to travel a lot as many of his appointments take place in bigger cities or even in other countries, he still doesn’t want to move out of Parma. Parma gives him a lot of inspiration because he is out of the mainstream. This doesn’t mean that there is not a lot of research to be done in order to see which direction people are talking. But he tries to avoid taking the same direction.

His inspiration comes from everything. From lifestyle, from faces, materials or even situations. Spontaneous. Unpredictable ones. Case in point, the “lift bag“. Which is being inspired from a technician’s bag who came to repair a broken elevator. The combination with the horsehair represents another story, which is being inspired from his personal life as he has been through a very tough situation. The beginning of life is the same as the end of life and he wanted to symbolize the freedom and strength through the use of the horse as a symbol. Similar to dawn and sunset, which are being recalled through the colors light blue and fuchsia. The energy is inside us and the nature teaches us how to react. We have to find strength within us. Filippo wants to communicate this especially to women, who should be passionate, intelligent and at the same time free of conventions and confident. For the upcoming collections Filippo will continue to derive his inspiration from nature but he doesn’t have a clear idea yet.

Pugnetti Parma – the name of his label – reflects the story he wants to tell. A true story, well connected to his heritage, to his roots, but also to the story of other people. I was just extremely curious why he didn’t take a fantasy name for his brand – as many other designers do nowadays. But tailoring a story and creating a fantasy name is not the same thing.

We started talking about the fashion industry in general. We shared opinions with regard to the creative designers of the biggest fashion houses, about sustainability and we started making assumptions with regard to how the fashion industry will change in the next few years. The success is to get people emotionally involved when it comes to the decision process. Financial performance shouldn’t drive the fashion industry because this is not a long-term success. The fact that many fashion companies are driven just by numbers, determined him to create his own label. When he was younger, he felt like it was not the right time as he thought that he is not skilled enough. It takes time to discover who you are, what you like, what is your essence and therefore what is your personal style.

As a designer is very important to know what are your limits. You might not have all the skills to lead a business and in order to keep the business healthy, sometimes you have to admit that you need to bring on board other people that compensate for the skills you lack. In this case the ego might be very dangerous, he said.

After almost 2 hours spent in a cosy California Bakery Café, we had to set out. He headed off to the PR agency and I had to go back to the university. Filippo is for sure the kind of person that I would definitely love to meet again. The fact that he is not only a designer, but has also a knowledge and is aware about what happens in the world, fascinated me.

Filippo, thank you for taking your time to meet me. Many thanks also to Roberta – from the NEXT PR Agency – for reviewing the article.

WIsh you all a happy and magical New Year 2017!


Filippo Pugnetti

Pugnetti Parma

Pugnetti Parma


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