Busatti Weavers: Elegant Fabrics for Centuries

Open the wrong door trying to get into the Church of San Niccolò in the eponymous area of Florence, and you may find yourself in the Busatti weavers' showroom, set in a jaw-dropping historic chapel.

 
 

With a long-steeped history in the little Tuscan town of Anghiari, the company began in the late 18th century when the Busatti family purchased Palazzo Morgalanti (dating back few centuries prior to that… the 16th to be exact). A series of interesting twist of historical events marked its future. Primarily, the arrival of the Napoleonic army forced the family to install a weaving mill at the Palazzo to make clothes and blankets for the soldiers. This helped push the family into endeavoring with artisanal fabrics and led the company to what it is today. The current business took shape in 1845 and has since weaved stunning fabrics in traditional and innovative patterns that dress elegantly-appointed homes both in Italy and abroad.

A visit to their showroom in Florence gives you a taste of just this, including a wide range of items like tablecloths featuring our personal favorite pattern featuring little crabs. Perfect for a beach home in Forte dei Marmi, for example! Busatti offers customers the possibility to purchase existing fabrics but, a much more fun alternative, to create bespoke designs for your home or office. All weaved with the same machinery and technology from the last century at Palazzo Morgalanti itself. 

Busatti Showroom, Via San Niccolò 48,  +39-055-263-8516

Not so "New Kid" on the Block

 
 

New Kid is a super-cool fashion label based in Florence under the helm of Rachel "Rach" Beagley. The company produces an astonishing number of items that range from footwear to accessories to women's and men's wear. With a small but powerful team and a network of local family-run artisan businesses, New Kid sources and produces everything in Tuscany. Which is not surprising that Italian design tradition is engrained in every piece they conceive, but always with little twists, drawing inspiration from pop culture.  

We asked Rachel to answer five questions for us to get a little bit more of a behind-the-scenes insight into New Kid: 

Tell us about your journey to Florence. How did you end up here and why did you decide to start New Kid? 

As a young traveller I fell in love with Italy... the old folks are so amusing and the majority dress incredibly well. After working with China for many years I was unhappy with not only the quality of production but the entire process. I wanted to be apart of every step. To start anything you need connections and I was super fortunate to have some here. 

Describe your experience of producing clothing in Italy. 

We have only just started the clothing side of New Kid. We have made footwear since 2004 and since 2009 production has been based here. The key is to be present everywhere, the more the different factories see you the more likely they will get things done. This is very true for Italy, most the time an email or a call won't do anything. 

What is your favorite part of the design process? 

Collecting the components... like leathers and fabrics is always fun.  I really enjoy seeing shoes come off the line, it is nerve-racking as random things can go wrong at any point. 

What is your current inspiration? 

 For me inspiration questions are weird. I just get ideas doing mundane things like driving and walking my dogs or cleaning. I don't really have a process and really don't look at many things to find ideas. The collections just evolve, I try to keep moving forward and be a bit innovative when developing materials. For example, we have been flocking suede for the last two collections... you can get some pretty rad colour combos! 

What's new with New Kid (no pun intended) this month and what should we expect later this year? 

Currently, right this very second we are dying fabric... this is new to me, but Leti ["the youngest and fairest of all the New Kids"] is helping us realise our gross colour desires. It is a lot of fun, and it means we will have many varying shades this summer as we learn how to replicate colours we like. 

We will also hopefully have more retail events in Firenze and maybe other cities in Italy over the rest of the year. 

Finally, we are shooting images for another zine, called 'pausa pranzo'. As factories close for lunch we tend to have a couple of lunches a week in the countryside, we want to celebrate these places for the specialities they have.

 

Lottozero/Textile Laboratories

 
 

Prato is a city located just about an hour from Florence historically known for its rich textile history. Unfortunately, though, over the last two decades, the city's artisanal approach has fallen to the wayside thanks to large factories run by Chinese workers producing in mass quantities, with little or no creative substance.   

Trying to preserve and nourish the rich textile tradition of the city, sisters Tessa and Arianna Moroder have taken over an abandoned warehouse and are renovating it to create Lottozero/Textile Laboratories, a space "dedicated to research, experimentation, prototyping, and the exchange of information in the field of textiles and beyond." 

Open to designers and entrepreneurs from all over the world, Lottozero will provide its resident and visiting designers with machinery for textile design, studios aimed at facilitating conversation and collaboration, as well as as an exhibition space for related shows and events open to the public. 

The fabulous ladies are asking for the world to give them a hand in moving this great project forward with a Kickstarter campaign. As incentives for good-will and more importantly for supporting creativity, donors can get their hands on gorgeous limited edition scarves conceptualized by the sisters themselves, along with others designed in collaboration with artists such as Anna Deflorian and Coralie Prévert.

The Kickstarter campaign is scheduled to end on May 17, so be sure to support this noble passion project, which is slated to open in June of this year. We can't wait to visit!  
 

Learning to Sew: Merenda in Sartoria

 
 

Florence never ceases to surprise and delight us. Walking around the San Frediano neighborhood the other night, we passed a bright, adorable storefront with a clever name, "Merenda in Sartoria" (Afternoon Snack at the Seamstress'). Peeking in, we found a group of joyful people busy at sewing work stations, chatting away while working on interesting projects and learning new techniques. 

Merenda in Sartoria was founded as a place to relax and have fun, while at the same time learning or honing in on your sewing skills. The studio's philosophy is centered on community building, and organizes a wide range of events and classes for all levels... And some of them are really clever. For example, tomorrow (March 3, 2016) Merenda in Sartoria is hosting a "Stitch 'N Bitch" session in English (whoever came up with that clever title is a marketing genius). 

We walked in to get more information about the space, and the group of ladies busy at work couldn't stop raving about their experiences. Plus, they looked like they were having such a great time with a seriously contagious energy.

We are definitely planning on taking one of their upcoming classes, and look forward to having a snack while learning how to sew in Florence. 

Merenda in Sartoria, Via del Drago d'Oro 11R, Tel. 338-95-89205