Style Catheclisma Knows What Is Missing in Your Wardrobe
Styleinterview

Catheclisma Knows What Is Missing in Your Wardrobe

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Anna Frattini

In 2020, Caterina Grieco, born in 1999, had some fabric to use and a lot of time on her hands. We’ve heard countless stories like this over the past few years, post-COVID-19. But Catheclisma is a project unlike any other, one that, in hindsight, is really gaining traction. Nowadays, building a truly loyal community has become a Herculean task for which there seems to be no recipe except spontaneity.

With over 25k followers, Caterina is very active on Instagram, where she not only showcases the pieces from her collections but also shares the styling of her outfits and the behind-the-scenes of Catheclisma’s production. This strategy works and stimulates the critical sense of the followers, who in turn interact directly with the brand’s founder through polls, Q&A sessions, and other engagement opportunities. Then there are the clothes themselves—all made in Italy with deadstock fabrics, a term that will come up frequently in this article.

In short, Caterina seems to know what our wardrobes really need, which are becoming less cluttered with fast fashion purchases and increasingly more sustainable. I talked to Caterina Grieco about many topics: sustainability, tailoring, and craftsmanship—central issues in the Catheclisma ecosystem—but also about vintage and what she would say to the Caterina of a few years ago and to all the emerging designers who want to shape a personal project.

Catheclisma’s collections include about ten pieces each for Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. The production manages to create around a hundred pieces every month, and the search for deadstock fabrics allows Caterina to use raw materials discarded by others, sifting through a sea of materials set aside by large companies. The Agnes top—along with the Macondo Vest—are just two of the pieces I’ve seen many girls try on at the two pop-up events I attended. But there are also wide skirts with drawstrings, Bermuda shorts, and raw-cut skirts. The Isabelle dress has also become highly recognizable, worn with or without pants (long live the dress over pants trend, indeed). All the garments designed by Caterina are thus meant to last over time, not only from a tailoring perspective but also in terms of cuts and shapes.

Catheclisma

Catheclisma’s approach to the hotly debated topic of sustainability «has always been very spontaneous,» as Caterina tells us. Everything happened naturally, from the encounter with the world of deadstock fabrics to maintaining a made-to-order regime. The designer from Bergamo strives to produce everything locally, around her home, and is making an effort to find a solution even for shipments, which in some cases are done using electric vehicles.

When I showed a friend the newly purchased Catheclisma clothes, her first comment was that the cut and stitching seemed like they were done the old-fashioned way. This made me reflect and reminded me of how many vintage pieces (so many) you can find when you are looking for a properly made fit. Just a few months ago, at the Balon market in Turin, I found a Mila Shön blazer: perfect. Far from what you find in any fast fashion store when you’re looking for a jacket for important occasions. «Craftsmanship is a fundamental value and, similarly, the desire to make on-demand garments reflects on the history of fashion, going back to when clothes were made to order.» Caterina thus aligns with a slower fashion, going against the contemporary trend that promises to have everything instantly. This aspect resonates with many, especially with me, as I still struggle to come to terms with waiting to receive a package containing new clothes.

When I ask Caterina about how she mixes vintage and more current brands, she tells me about when she lived in Paris and spent time at flea markets doing research, and everything falls into place. The relentless hunt for the perfect tailored piece, however, doesn’t stop at second-hand and continues by combining Catheclisma pieces with more established brands like Sunnei or Maison Margiela. «What I’m trying to do, though, is mix Catheclisma pieces with both vintage items and other more established brands,» she explains. This happens primarily on Instagram—both in stories and posts. Thanks to Caterina, I even considered (and am still losing sleep over) purchasing a pair of Sunnei platforms on Vestiaire Collective in installments.

«I would tell the me of a few years ago to do everything the same way,» she says when I ask what she would tell the (surely more naïve) Caterina from the beginning. This concludes a conversation that made me reflect not only on the importance of having a loyal community but also on what it means to be a successful emerging brand. If these are divisive times, even in fashion, the true achievement seems to be coherence and transparency. Caterina’s storytelling on social media harnesses the power of spontaneity, which, in her case, is her winning weapon, perhaps second only to the fit of the Gaspard pants—in both summer and winter versions.

Styleinterview
Written by Anna Frattini
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