ARTIST INTERVIEW: Milena Silvano
Company: Milena Silvano
Artist: Milena Silvano
Milena Silvano is bringing her sheepskin clothing (from across the pond!) to the Fair this season. Her cozy and unique wares are always a favorite.
Milena Silvano is a Neapolitan based in Sussex, UK by way of Milan and London. She is based in a semi-rural community and running a fashion business whilst exploring plant lore in her spare time. Her sheepskin pieces and their wearers are documented at womenandsheepskin.com.
Tell us about your current work and how that work has evolved since you first started your business?
I work primarily with sheepskin, making clothing and homewares. I started working with shearling around 2011/12. I wanted to alter a coat that was ill-fitting, and in the process of taking it apart, I had all these ideas for new garments that were patched back together.
I worked exclusively reclaiming old coats for a couple of seasons, then started adding factory offcuts and dead-stock hides. All the patchworks were sewn by hand with thread and needle for a while, until I purchased an old school fur stitch machine, which has single handedly kick-started a period of productivity that hasn’t yet calmed down!
I now buy materials from tanneries and work with a family-run factory in London for all wholesale orders, whilst keeping the initial hands-on approach for all personal orders and for the CASA range, which is cut and made in-house, mostly with reclaimed production offcuts. This allows me to focus on minimal waste of materials, and it gives me the freedom to offer unique pieces to customers.
What does it mean to you to be part of the Echo Park Craft Fair?
What I love about the EPCF the most is that it is a heartfelt community. I look forward to the event each time, as it not only gives me the chance to meet my customers face to face, but it’s an opportunity to catch up with so many amazing artists and makers and to experience sincere and mutual support.
How has EPCF been important to your creative and business growth?
I feel that the EPCF is an event that is empowering both artists and customers by offering a curated space that bypasses the middleman, and where the act of buying goods becomes a statement. I have definitely benefitted as a business by offering my work directly to the public, but also, friendships and collaborations have come as a result of connecting with like-minded people at and around the fair.
Are there other communities that have been instrumental to the development of your creative work?
Yes; I love the events that Mercado Sagrado puts up in Malibu, and more recently, The Baazar in London. The Bazaar was directly inspired by the EPCF; they are trying to educate the customer to a new shopping paradigm, which, in London, is still very much based around the concept of ‘cool’ brands and ‘cool’ stores.