Eretikos iki’s  story born with the dream of a girl in love with the fabric whisperer.

Fabric on the table

Eretikos iki is me, Barbara Fontana Ozawa.

I was born between fabric, scissors and needles.

I don’t remember a timeFabric origin of a fashion passion, from my early childhood, without some piece of clothing at runtime, on our table.

My grandmothers were both seamstresses.

One, in particular, had studied in Turin, in the 30s. At that time,  the Milan fashion system didn’t exist yet. Turin’s aristocracy was still dictating the lines of style and elegance. It was a fashion tailored to the customer and developed with the customer.

The materials used by my grandmother for her creations, coming from Biella wool mills, Como silk mills and Lombardy cotton mills, were exceptional. And the cloths finishing was perfect, despite the poor machinery.

Origin of a passion.

Fabric Origin of a fashion passionI remember when my grandmother took me with her to that magical place where you could see the river and embrace all the mountains at a glance. It was the wool mill Agnona.

I must have been 3 or 4 years old. That expanse of white coats in alpaca hypnotised me.

Before entering, she put me on a pair of white gloves. In fact,  she knew I could not resist the temptation to pass my little hands on those soft fabrics, and I would have risked to dirty them.

For me, it was an enchanted world, full of wonderful things that someone with great magical powers had created.

One day it happened to see a handsome man coming out of the door of the company.

My grandmother told me that he was the Magician. He was Mr Ilorini.

It’s an image that has never left me.

Evolution of a passion.

Thirty years later I was hired as a junior fashion designer and personal assistant of Agnona Chief Designer Sophie Philippart. It was a dream that came true.

When I entered the door from where I saw “The Magician”, Mr Ilorini, coming out when I was a baby, my heart was beating so hard that I was afraid somebody else could have heard it.

Moreover, Ermenegildo Zegna Group, which was not a stranger, as it had contributed to the foundation of the wool mill, with the capital partners Angelo and Aldo Zegna, together with Francesco Ilorini, had just bought the company.

The double value of those personalities so crucial for our country that contributed to making the Made in Italy prestigious all over the world, amplified my emotion.

With trembling knees, I began to climb the beautiful staircase.

It took me a while. In fact,  on the walls there were numerous beautiful images of collaborations with the most important designers of the time, as well as pictures of “corporate” lifestyle. It was pure creation inspired by nature and travels in the fascinating lands of the “Precious Fibers”.

That “hand-made”, that taste of craftsmanship that always characterized the Italian “know how”. It’s a talent inherent in our DNA that we must protect and revive, in every way.

Meeting the fabric whisperer.

One day I had to do researches for the chief designer in the company’s fabrics Fabric origin of a fashion passionarchive.

I still vividly recall my feeling after I entered the fabrics archive for the first time. It was huge and amazing with thousands of big swatches and handkerchiefs of wonderful fabrics. I cried.

A coffer of precious artefacts worthy of the greatest weaving geniuses, such as Anni Albers and Gunta Stölzl of the Bauhaus and today’s Malhia Kent.

I was eager to learn. And that generous company allowed me to do it.

It wasn’t always smooth, sometimes hard, sometimes discouraging, but unbelievably extraordinary.

I have been able to breathe and nourish myself with each little detail, in every field, from fabric, knitwear, accessories, to the total look ready-to-wear, as a designer but also as a product manager.

I met many designers and creative with different taste and style, many professionals, artisans, creators of incredible beauty, also in the production.

From all of them, I learnt something important, and I want to say thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!