What have you heard about Marella Campagna?
Welcome to my interview with Marella Campagna! Join me as we discuss her incredible experiences with writing, fashion, and creativity.
Hi Marella Campagna! Please introduce yourself with 5 fun facts.
Hi Kirsten! My name is Marella Campagna. Fashion designer by origin and writer by adoption. I was raised upon the sea, in the southern part of Italy. Recently I moved to London (4 years ago), after years spent moving all around my country due to my work.
When I was 4/5 years old, I got obsessed with the idea of writing in ancient Greek. I started to study the alphabet and words, and I reproduced them without really understanding the meaning nor the syntax. I used to carry with me a small bag, made of cake boxes, with all of these precious ancient documents. (Scraps of paper found all around, with my personal interpretation of the Greek language). When I felt inspired I opened it and started a new writing! I remember that feeling. I considered myself so cool, especially while showing my parents and friends my small little treasure!
My worst nightmare is flowers! I cannot even touch them, probably due to their velvety texture and colours. Two years ago, while working on a fashion project, the creative process and its development accidentally brought some flowers in. And I could not help myself but had to experiment with them. I decided to play on the safe side. Hence bought some fake flowers and wore three layers of latex gloves while manipulating them. It was very challenging for me, and quite disgusting, too!
Despite my vivid interest in technology and digital platforms and tools, which I happen to use in my job, I am pretty obsolete when it comes to structuring my creative process to develop and decide the final outcomes. I generally write by hand, and I arrange the final layout collaging texts and pictures on A4 folded pages. When all of the ideas are perfectly clear within my mind, I move to Indesign(™), Word(™). Whatever is more suitable for that specific project.
In the last 3-4 years I developed a pure, “obsessive” love for A5 format and small little books.
I work exclusively on it, whether it concerns fashion projects, notes or the making of a book. Once I tried to opt for a bigger format such as A4 or A3, and my creative flux immediately stopped. I experienced a proper imaginative block. So I decided not to force myself into a kind of path that simply does not work for me. Does not stimulate my inner senses and inspiration.
I have an addiction for red, white and pink. I have always felt attracted by pure, bright colours. Recently I discovered this intense obsession while working on a fashion project dedicated to humans’ frailty, memories, interactions and connections. I started my research. Collecting and exploring some inspiring images of Louise Bourgeois’s work. I immediately experienced a connection with her. The pervasive use of the red, white and shades of pink. Its dense and evocative capacity gave voice to my deepest feelings.
How did you begin your career as a fashion designer?
My humanistic and classical background forged my inquisitive mind. I endured classical studies in my adolescence before embracing a more creative path. Instilling a constant need to learn, discover and dive deep inside things. After seriously considering becoming a literary critic, probably due to my obsessive infatuation with Alberto Asor Rosa, writer, Emeritus professor of Italian literature and critic, I embarked on a slightly different adventure. Equally creative, but more physical.
I underwent a BA in Fashion. I worked for several years in the industry as a womenswear and accessories designer in Milan (Italy). Despite the strict commercial logics, I always nurtured and respected my intimate, honest attraction and interest towards a type of Fashion more conceptual rather than trendy.
I invested in myself, once again. I moved to London to attend a Post graduate course at the Central Saint Martins school. Deepening some hidden, dormant aspects of my creative components. At the moment I am developing with a CSM colleague a new concept and approach to see women with their natural differences and bodies.
What inspired you to write a book about your experiences?
The beginning of my journey as an author and writer happened unexpectedly. A perfect combination of different events and factors. I was travelling back to London and due to some train technical issues, I was moved to a different Eurostar. Not knowing that I would meet the person who completely revolutionized my career path. Emeritus Prof., anthropologist and writer, Ruth Finnegan.
After 10 minutes or so, we started a genuine conversation about our passions, perspectives, work etc. Submerged with all my detailed stories, about fashion, garments and the vivid love I nurture for it. She offered the possibility to write a book about my working field, retracing the necessary steps within my creative process.
Writing my book about my story as a fashion designer student first, then as a professional, has been surprisingly natural. Ideas came to my mind spontaneously, and found a way to fit my plan perfectly, since the very beginning. While exploring fashion’s intricate maze, I came into contact with subtle intimate complexities. This for so many years manipulated my creative flow. I did not stop on the surface merely describing my personal experience. But rather to dive into the psychological patterns and phenomena at the base of a creative process.
I started to study once again. This time focusing on some aspects related to the psychology of Creativity. Discovering amazing authors and researcher such as Teresa Amabile, David Bohm, Lawrence Kubie, and others that enlightened my journey both as a creative writer and as an individual. They represent for me an endless source of inspiration.
What can you tell us about From Blank Canvas to Garment?
“From Blank Canvas to Garment, a Creative Journey of Discovery” represents the unexpected fusion in which opportunity meets a story. A tank of different ingredients melted together but still coexisted as two separate parts and points of view. This book is about my story as a designer, a nomadic creative and, most of all, as a curious person. It flows, linking two different dimensions, one more autobiographical and the other completely devoted to psychological reflections.
A journey through the full and empty spaces of my mind and my life. As suggested by the title, this started with my curiosity and drove me to several life experiments, failures and achievements within the world of fashion. After all, who has never had to cope with a blank canvas to fill during their existence? And while looking for the answer, I clearly discovered the aim and purpose behind my book. Reflect and help others to do so, while embracing their undisclosed psychological traits, dynamics, passions, beliefs and love, to finally master their own imaginative process.
What challenges did you face writing this book?
As I mentioned before, writing always happened to be a natural and spontaneous process to me. So was the structuring of chapters and topics to deepen. One of the most challenging thing for me is to deal with my silent inner critic. Since the very beginning of my career as a student, I always dreamt big. Never contemplated the hypothesis of failing.
Over the years I developed a sort of “internal compass”. Very strict and judgemental, a fierce voice, that pushed me relentlessly. It asked for more to reach the coveted goals, inevitably instilling and producing tonnes of doubts and fears within myself.
During the making of the book, I experienced lots of internal pressure. It made me lose my balance, and the purpose behind. Luckily, studying and reflecting on the psychological impact that some internal patterns have on the individual creative flux helped me cope. To focus my attention on the pleasure derived from the ongoing project. The love, sacrifices and genuine and pure motivation I had, rather then the possibility to fail.
What were the biggest victories during the writing process?
Reconnecting with my inner self and the old love for writing, noticing how spontaneous and fulfilling the process felt. How words organized themselves perfectly on paper as if they were an extension of my thoughts, aims and purposes. I was not expecting that sort of magic to have happened after years spent without ever writing anything.
The day I embarked in that new adventure, I took the pen in my hand after 10 years. It felt as if the time had stopped. To then start again smoothly, poetically with a new melody. Since that day I never gave up writing again, as I did after my high school, and I never will.
What have you learned from the experiences of writing this book?
Never give up on something you love, no matter how difficult, impossible or unrealistic it might appear. Our inner motivation is the strongest human’s drive, the biggest source of inspiration, creativity and happiness.
This is why we should all better understand our psychological dynamics, our true self, to reconnect with the things we love, that nurture our being. Pursue them with passion, devotion and perseverance.
What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book Marella Campagna?
I really hope they might find it useful not only to deepen some genuine aspects and “behind the scenes” within the world of fashion, still somehow unspoken, but also to reflect on the importance of knowing oneself. Embracing and better understanding some silent psychological dynamics to master their creative process.
What advice can you give to those aspiring to make it in creative careers?
Since creativity is fuelled by three essential ingredients such as inner motivation, creative skills and domain skills, these are my top three suggestions:
- Discover and nurture the things you love, representing an endless source of inspiration, by collecting materials, researching, studying, visiting places. Be always open and curious!
- Master technical skills within a specific field or area of interest. It is so essential to have the right tools and capabilities to innovate, question the familiar, and push boundaries. Knowing the basics helps the individual to challenge them, creating a personal methodology to obtain specific outcomes.
- Develop or boost creative skills such as memory, perseverance, critical thinking, flexibility, dedication, curiosity and independence. Some people spontaneously have some personality traits conducive to creativity. When there is a lack they can still be built, through exercises, discipline and self awareness. After all creativity is a natural born condition, something that brings us together. It just takes skilled work to translate it into a proper outcome.
What is most important to you about creativity?
Creativity has the power to unlock the human capacity to solve problems. Whether it comes to artistic individual purposes or large scale necessary solutions. It can be considered as a survival tool we can all rely on when in need.
It is the true engine of progress, innovation, evolution. The future.
Even though I cannot deny some implicit negative aspects that might derive from a thoughtless use of it.
How do you find your inspiration?
Everything that surrounds me represents a precious source of inspiration. It acquires a particular meaning and shade according to my emotional state and purposes. Being inspiration, a projection of a person’s soul, interest and capacity to decode and interpret its environment.
What are your goals for your future as a writer and fashion designer?
Since arts, research and fashion represent a way of expressing myself, my hope and goal is to continue for my entire existence to work on them with the same enthusiasm, passion and love.
At the moment I do not set long term goals. I focus on the already going projects, such as finishing and publishing my second book, which is more into photography and poems; set up my fashion brand with a more respectful and wise approach towards women and the environment; and continue my path as a creativity researcher, earning a PHD.
Who inspires you the most in your creative works?
My creative focus tends to be on human emotions, primitive instincts, fears, memories, reactions and restrictions, and this anthropocentric vision. This drove me to incessantly explore every facet and aspect of a person’s mind. Start from the influence that social pressures and patterns can have, then move to its ontological senses and needs.
Any last thoughts to share about Marella Campagna and your creative careers?
I would like to share positive and hopefully supportive words to all of us who are struggling for internal and external reasons. There are some moments in life in which everything seems to go wrong, to lose sense, becoming intense, tough, discouraging and almost impossible to manage. We as humans have the power on our inside to turn terrible things into better perspectives. We can do that. Even if it might feel unrealistic, we have the capacity to focus on positive thoughts, buried within our being, and let that warm, tired energy surface once again.
Our mind, the way we approach our daily habits, the way we look at things, influence our external perceptions. It plays a crucial role on our mind-set. This is why in my humble opinion it is so important to find things that make us happy, whole as humans. Capable of bringing a smile, despite everything. They represent our inner compass, reminding us who we are, what we love and why we do the things we do, both in good and (especially) tough times.
Thank you! This meeting opened the doors for Marella Campagna to deepen her involvement in socioanthropological issues such as women conditions, individual sexuality, the contradictions of our contemporary era, etc. All of which she is particularly engaged in, both online and physically.
Thanks for reading about Marella Campagna. Join me next time for fun blog posts! What did you think of the interview? Please comment below.
Thank you so much Marella Campagna! It was a pleasure learning about your creative experiences and sharing your positivity. Stay in touch with Marella on Instagram and her websites: Marella Campagna and Balestier Press Site. Check out her book too!
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