There is this an ongoing worry about the faith of the Italian Made in Italy value once the older generation is gone. As we all know there is not enough effort to integrate the younger generation in the system. For those of our audience who doesn’t know about the Made in Italy brand or value- it is a hallmark in the world, of a certain “know-how” that expresses creativity, style, inspiration, history and heritage of the Italian people and beauty, fully made with efforts and passion in a difficult and for major context in this case fashion.
Speaking to Elisa Borboni, the founder of Clevi , a young and determined Italian lady who have done well for herself and country at such a young age, sort of give us a sigh of relieve knowing that there is hope. We had a conversation with the young entrepreneur, and she told us about her professional parts, her design process and here experience at the just conclude Emerging Talents event during the Milan Fashion Week organized by Spy News Magazine, Tariel Bisharian Showroom and Russian Day Org.
Spy News Magazine: Elisa, what is the story behind the name of your brand?
Elisa Borboni: It’s a long story, starting two years ago with a simple coffee. I met Nico (Niccolo Brolic), we fell in love (but I don’t want to bore you with this story) and then, at the beginning of this year, we decided to start this adventure, which is more like a challenge, being in this, as everyone knows, quite a difficult moment for the market and for young graduates.
CLEVI was born after three months of brainstorming and, believe me, we had tried and thought about everything, until one evening, talking about names, I thought of a very trifling one. Nicola glanced at me and said “you are not clever” and I almost immediately thought “perfect!”
This word represents both the idea of cleverness and the work on image, communication and design which is behind our products, made in Italy and so aiming at being “smart”.
The idea of “Made in Italy” is a basic concept from the start to the end; we live in an extremely beautiful country with astounding abilities and craftsmanship. The Italian know how has always been very famous abroad and this means passion, quality and all the relevant details necessary when a product is meant to have a positive answer.
By the way, everything was born thanks just to the fact that we were me and Nico, and together we have always more to say. It was a game at the start, it was all about fun and it started like this. We decided to bring our values and skills, everything that inspires us, everything that makes us feel alive, and we wanted to bring these passions from a subjective feeling to a something objective, bidimensional. This is kind of game that passionates us.
It’s work but at the same time is our passion. Clevi is also the only opportunity for us to work side by side and to bring our taste on something real.
Spy News Magazine: Tell us more about your professional career?
Elisa Borboni: Summing up, after years as a student and then as a trainee in the branch of fashion, I found the courage, thanks to the determination and the energy of Nico, to try and use my creativity and the knowledge which I acquired over the years to realise clothes and accessories.
After five years at the Milan Politecnico, two degrees and an exchange in Australia, where I had the chance of a personal fashion show with a collection of five dresses, my way into work finally started.
Australia deserves a few words. My experience in Sydney has been quite amazing. The chance of being selected for a show with the realisation of a collection designed by myself was a bold start and a plunge into a world of sharks like the fashion world, but still fascinating. Anyway my Australian collections have always had a touch of Italian “gusto”.
You know, we never forget our origins, and I adore the Italian Style.
Initially I spent one year as a stagist in different style offices and then I was selected for a scholarship at Master of the Creative Academy of the Richmont group, where jewels and accessories have enabled me to express my creativity in various sectors of the fashion world, without lingering on a specific branch.
After a further stage experience and some proposals in style offices, I tried to prove myself, with my own personal style, my “gusto”, my crafts and my creativity, trying to pose no limits on my fantasy, diving into the tough world of fashion (thanks to Niccolò and everyone who supported me) ..
Spy News Magazine: What made you decide to create your own company and create your own part?
Elisa Borboni: It was the most natural solution that we could ever come up with. Basically, launching our own brand was the only way for me and Nicolo to work together, so we never asked ourselves if it was too risky – we just did it.
It wasn’t because I didn’t like what I was doing, indeed it was just because I liked what I was doing that I decided to pursue this adventure. Since we were two people this was a simple decision. For Nico it was a second activity, but for me it was a matter of really investing all I had and all of my time. Luckily I rely on really supporting people around me (and they bear me, too!), always ready to help me in good and bad times.
To tell the truth there was a moment when I said to myself “now or never”. The fear to fail makes you find several reasons and excuses to avoid the risk of trying to realise a dream by convincing yourself that this is not the right moment for a new project. But the trigger was my young age and the luck of being surrounded by people who believed in me and what I did.
Spy News Magazine: Would you consider yourself more of a fashion designer or an artist? Do you believe there is a marriage between the two or a separation?
Elisa Borboni: Both fashion and art reflect the “the nowadays”, in all the aspects, immediately and honestly. That is what I find fascinating in both of the fields, but however I wont define myself an artist. An artist can be just a person with a message to communicate, with clear goal to have this message received. Fashion is more about a dialogue, fashion doesn’t exist without its system and, the most important, its customer. A piece of art can impress, shock, captivate, but it will never become a part of a personal identity. I want the things branded Clevi to become a reason to smile, feel more secure, beautiful and free for as much people as possible.
Spy News Magazine: How will you describe your brand and what are the different pieces you make?
Elisa Borboni: The key of Clevi is its concept. It defines all the aspects of the activity, starting from brainstorming and visual research arriving to aesthetic language of publicity campaign and type of a nylon ribbon that we confirm during the production.
Clevi has started being inspired by a very simple and natural thing – love and idea of “soulmates”. So is the design. Every piece has a story behind, and we didn’t want it to become boring or pretentious. At the end of the day, what is boring and pretentious doesn’t inspire, right?
Spy News Magazine: What is your favorite part of your design process, what inspired you to create?
Elisa Borboni: Thats a great question! What I find the most inspiring is the process itself: the way how an idea, a thought, a memory, fragrance or sound, something intangible and subjective passes through a prism of personal aesthetics and becomes 2D, laid down as a drawing or pattern, and then transits to a proper 3D object. Isn’t it fascinating and fun?
The biggest source of inspiration, fortunately, is always close to me if you know what i mean 🙂
Spy News Magazine: I have always felt that fashion should be able to arouse emotions and make you feel some way when you put on a piece, who do you want your women to feel when they wear your piece?
Elisa Borboni: I completely agree, that is the essence of what we are doing. Not only women, by the way, gentlemen are also very welcome. I wont say that I want them to feel special because they already are so. I want them to have a feeling of a perfect match, of something that reflects their personality and highlights it. Elegant without ostentation, free to express themselves and to appear just as they are, and not only for what they wear, though with style. Pieces of Clevi are created to be loved.
Also theres all the fun aspect of matching between womenswear and menswear line. It is something that were working on right now and believe me it is going to be a bomb!
Spy News Magazine: As a brand, your first job is to tell your story, how are you using social media in telling your story?
Elisa Borboni: We appeal to Instagram community since we also make part of it. Niccolò is responsible for Facebook and me – for Instagram, just because these are our preferred ways of communication. Without a particular intention, Clevi pieces come out very “instagramable” and we enjoy this feature. For the young entrepreneurs social networks are absolutely necessary.
Spy News Magazine: You were part of the Emerging Talent event organized by Spy News Magazine and TB Milano, what was your experience?
Elisa Borboni: The event organised by Tb showroom during the Fashion Week in Milan was absolutely unique; it was a really great experience, we had the chance to meet different people in the fashion world, blogger press and other designers.
I can say with no doubt that it was a splendid evening, we had an excellent feedback on the collection in an unforgettable atmosphere, really unique and absolutely worth a Fashion Week.
Spy News Magazine: Where can you shop your pieces online?
Elisa Borboni: Our products can be purchased through our website www.clevitaly.com, although for this autumn collection we have preferred working on physical shops, which we intend to do in the future since we are convinced that to try and touch with your hand a CLEVI dress is much more direct than seeing it exclusively online. Fingers crossed!
Spy News Magazine: Finally, What is a style advice you will give a lady who is going on a date from work?
Elisa Borboni: I feel like giving an advice that will sound very Italian: just get a flute of good prosecco (I come from Franciacorta, a very well-known sparkling wine producing area in north of Italy, so trust the local! And I am not even paid for it).
I won’t say “Just feel confident” or “style your small black dress with a pair of high heels and a foulard”, it has never helped anybody including me. Sip your prosecco, smile and feel gorgeous. Works for boys as well, huh. At least Nicolo agrees completely.
By Anderson Azugbene