Who is Francesco?
Francesco is a visionary who decided to make fashion his life. I was born in a very difficult town, Foggia, a city light years away from the national fashion system. I opened my first tailor’s shop in Apulia with the ambition and conviction that I could make the world talk about me. I only had a small empty shop and from there, in five years, I reached international prominence, treading the boards of the most important events in the world. Obsessed and maniacal in my attention to detail, I have always believed that flair should go hand in hand with quality and high tailoring. This is how my couture was born.
Why did you decide to create the Francesco Paolo Salerno brand?
Probably the brand was born before me, from the first day I started my training it was clear in me that I wanted to have a recognisable and international brand, I worked hard to make this happen, nothing was left to chance in any of my projects; every collection is thought out down to the smallest detail in order to have a strong identity and to convey my determination even through a simple garment. This is why I refused all the proposals for collaborations I received, even from emblazoned brands that could have given me even more visibility, but the one big goal was exactly this, to create a brand: my own.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I believe that in five years I will be exactly where I am now, but with an even greater ambition. In addition to internationalising the brand, I would like to diversify the product and I would like to set up schools, teaching a method, mine, that can also become a tool for young people entering this complex and difficult world. For me, it is fundamental to recover the manual skill that has made us famous in the world; I have travelled a long way in the historical tailor’s shops in Rome, in order to be able to learn all their secrets, to be able to train my seamstresses and follow them step by step in the realisation of my work.
What is ‘Made in Italy’ for you?
Made in Italy for me should be one of the most important resources that every designer should exploit and defend. Today, however, the ‘race for price’ has forced those in the industry to renounce our craftsmanship, focusing on manufactures with lower prices and quality. The production of my lines, on the other hand, is divided among Italian workshops located in various regions, and I focus very strongly on the export of ‘savoir-faire’, just as the great Italian stylists who have made us famous throughout the world have done. Finally it seems that companies are taking a step back and some are reopening their workshops here in Italy. We should take an example from our French cousins who protect and support their products with great vehemence, which we have not had until now.