Fashion’s Future Star

Alessandra Maffei trail-blazes with award-winning looks

Last month, Milan played host to a super-glam fashion show as the second edition of ISKO I-SKOOL™—the Denim Talent Award promoted by ISKO™—celebrated some spectacularly talented winners. Promoted by top-quality denim producer ISKO™ and its style and design division, Creative Room, I-SKOOL™ offers a unique opportunity for gifted design students to learn and apply cutting-edge techniques using the perennially stylish wardrobe staple, denim. 
Alessandra Maffei

In addition to the Denim Design Award, there were a further five special awards offered by partners of ISKO I-SKOOL™, one of which was the Swarovski contest ‘Design with crystal elements’, which was won by trailblazer Alessandra Maffei from Istituto Marangoni, with her gorgeously innovative skirt design. We caught up with Alessandra for a chat, fresh from her triumph.

Alessandra Maffei

I was born in Benevento, near Naples, Italy. My mother studied fashion design, but worked in the family business, rather than using it. So I’m making both of our dreams come true! The award is very satisfying for two reasons: it’s a reward for my hard work, and for my parents’ sacrifices. 

For me, Milan is the capital of fashion, and it’s always been my dream to work there. So many of the great names from Italian prêt-â-porter were trained at Istituto Marangoni—I knew it would be the best place to develop my passion and improve my technical skills.

I didn’t realize that creating a fashion collection would involve so much work! There were a few sleepless nights, but it was hugely gratifying to see my skills improve. 

My imagination is fired by everything that surrounds me, from a car part to a stylish woman on the street. I try to put a bit of southern Italian tradition into my work and mix it with color and pop eccentricity.

Alessandra Maffei

Alessandra Maffei

I’ve always loved Swarovski, and everything that’s bright and shiny.When I saw all the materials and different crystal applications, I fell in love! 

The contest gave competitors four different moods from which to choose one: Bohemian Blue, Active Jeanswear, Future Fit and Couture Denim—I chose Couture Denim. I’m inspired by burlesque, so I gave my interpretation of the brief a feminine and sensual touch by combining crystals and lace with denim.

I simulated the texture of lace in my submission to the contest. Working with denim requires quite a lot of technical knowledge. In this instance, I placed the Swarovski fabric underneath the lasered denim and stitched around the outlines to create a classic lace pattern. 

Next, I want to create my own brand and share my vision, as well as all the beautiful ‘Made in Italy’ techniques I’ve mastered.


Photography I-SKOOL