Industry Insight: Ilaria Guerra, Sustainable Fashion and Print Designer
Next in our series of Industry Insight features, aimed at young female-identifying creatives, we had the pleasure of interviewing Ilaria Guerra (@ilariaguerra__) a sustainable fashion and print designer based in London. Ilaria shares with us her work, how she got into the industry, and offers some advice to young creatives. Hi Ilaria! Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your work?
I am a sustainable fashion and print designer with some experience in embroidery, specialising in womenswear. I have a passion for art, nature and justice, which I always try to represent in different ways when working on new projects. Sustainability and colours are the cores of my fashion identity.
How did you get to the point you are at now?
My dream came true when I passed the test to become a student of the prestigious Polytechnic University of Milan. Then, during my last year of University, I was selected for the Erasmus+ Programme by the University of Dundee and did a textile design course for 5 months, where I deepened my passion for textile and printing techniques. But it was only when I moved to London after graduating that I realised how important sustainability is and changed my lifestyle and fashion philosophy.
Can you tell us about two role models who have inspired you?
I have always admired Vivienne Westwood for her style and voice. She speaks out for the people who cannot, through anarchic yet comfortable silhouettes. She is a queen and I love her. Another soul I cherish is Iris Van Herpen, with her cutting-edge garments realised with 3D printers and laser cutting machines. She was the inspiration for my Major project.
When you were a child, what career did you see yourself having?
I have always seen myself as an actress or a fashion designer.
What are you most proud of doing? What do you consider your biggest achievement to date?
Apart from my University major project that I am super proud of, the biggest achievement to date is the shirt I embroidered last summer during the first quarantine. It represents the beginning of my brand identity. A new magazine showing London sustainable designers chose it and published it.
What do you hope to achieve over the next year? What are you most looking forward to?
At the moment I am working on the business plan to develop my own fashion label, which will stand for environmental and workers respect, together with a love for art and colours. Hopefully, it will be ready for next year. Expect some wearable technologies involved. It is my biggest dream to use fashion to convey important messages. I am also planning to collaborate with a lot of non-profit organisations.
Favourite cultural product at the moment?
They fight every single day to change the fashion industry and people’s mindset, it really is astonishing.
What do you think is the biggest issue today facing women in the creative industries?
The issue of gender inequality.
That is because women are constantly exposed to prejudice and sexism.
There is also a huge disparity in pay and problems regarding the balance between work and childcare. Racial diversity is even worse than gender diversity.
How important is it for women to lift each other up and what does that mean to you?
I think it is the MOST important thing. Because we are used to be treated differently, we can be very mean, even among each other. This is so wrong, we should never forget that we fight the same battles and there is a reason if we do what we do. If women really stuck together, no man would dare to threaten us anymore.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young female-identifying creatives thinking about their careers? Any resources you’ve found useful?
Never stop researching, reading, experimenting, and most importantly meditating. Find your identity, it is a never-ending path but the sooner you start the sooner you will be happy. “Who are you?”, it is a very hard question to answer nowadays, we have so many rules and standards to respect and stimulus bombing us from every angle that it can be easy to get lost. Society goes heavy on us, but it really means nothing without us. You have to speak up for yourself, don’t be disrespectful but don’t let other people disrespect you either, if you stop them at the beginning they won’t do it again. And if they do, just keep pushing. Exit your comfort zone whenever you can because it helps you grow, fight for what you want, no matter how hard it is, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is always going to be someone to support you, you are never alone.
Where can we find you?