What does Genova have to do with the history of jeans?

What does Genova have to do with the history of jeans?

Anna Frattini · 6 months ago · Style

We were invited by Tela Genova and Regenesi to Genoa to discover more about the history of Italian denim during GenovaJeans. But what does the capital of Liguria have to do with jeans, and what were figures like Adriano Goldschmied doing at this event? When we think of jeans, we think of the American dream or the iconic Levi’s 501. Something that can be found in everyone’s wardrobe: a simple work fabric that has revolutionized the way we dress. But perhaps not everyone knows that this material was born right in Genoa, and the city – proud of this little-known heritage – has launched GenovaJeans to celebrate its history and look ahead to a future of sustainable denim. Let’s find out more about this event.

A bit of history

On the GenovaJeans website, we find a lot of information about the history of denim and its origins, thanks in part to contributions from personalities such as Marzia Cataldi Gallo, an art, costume, and textile historian, Monica Bruzzone, and Clelia Firpo. They are all authors, academics, and professionals focused on the study of jeans and its history. Let’s go back in time to 1538, where we find the ancestors of jeans in the Teli della Passione, «a series of 14 linen-cotton cloths dyed with indigo blue and white lead» that tell the story of the Passion of Christ. A few years later, in the inventory of a Richmond merchant, we find Whitt jeanes, an archaic term to describe white fustian produced in Genoa. In 1826, Alessio Pittalunga dedicated himself to a series of watercolors depicting Ligurian folk costumes, where the presence of jeans in the tradition of popular clothing between the 18th and 19th centuries is already clear.

From Giuseppe Garibaldi to Diesel

It was Giuseppe Garibaldi himself who wore blue fustian pants – later becoming the world’s oldest jeans – when he left from Genoa Quarto to Marsala for the Expedition of the Thousand in 1860. Thirteen years later, the U.S. government granted Davis and Levi Strauss patent number 139,121 for riveted copper fastenings designed to make pants pockets more durable for gold prospectors in California. In 1929, the Great Depression hit America, creating a fundamental opportunity for jeans: poverty led many to consider purchasing affordable fabrics like those worn by cowboys, who then became legends along with jeans. Less than ten years later, Blue-Jeans even appeared in Vogue. In Italy, Luigi Candiani began producing fabrics, specializing in jeans after the war, and today his company continues its operations while striving to adhere to sustainability criteria and look to the future. Elio Fiorucci then enters the scene, thinking about jeans after arriving in London in 1965 and opening his first store in Milan two years later. In 1978, Renzo Rosso and Adriano Goldschmied founded Diesel in the province of Vicenza, and the rest is history.

Tela Genova and Regenesi

Brands like Tela Genova and Regenesi are part of this history and participated in GenovaJeans to testify to their authenticity and artisanal tradition for the former, and the issue of reuse for the latter, which is reinterpreted in this new denim season. Starting from themes such as sustainability and vintage. During the event, archival pieces come to life, and the circular economy theme takes center stage in all discussions about the future of denim. At the same time, Regenesi – founded in 2008 and working to become a spokesperson for sustainable luxury – launched the “Rigenera i tuoi jeans” (Regenerate Your Jeans) project during GenovaJeans.

«In line with our vocation, we took on the challenge of denim, a democratic fabric of great social importance but also with a significant environmental impact, and we enhanced its original features with an upcycling project that creates designer bags. Regenesi is synonymous with sustainable, regenerated, and innovative luxury. Giving new life to post-consumer materials has always been our mission: we transform unused raw materials into design objects and fashion accessories, made through Italian craftsmanship. This time too, from the forgotten jeans at the back of the closet, a garment that changes with time, absorbing the stories and adventures it goes through, we create a unique product that continues to tell the story of our customers with compassion and new beauty. We are excited to be part of the GenovaJeans project that embraces values that are also our driving force. Today, making and generating culture is an important mission, and it is precisely starting from history and awareness that we can look to the future with clearer eyes» says Maria Silvia Pazzi, founder of Regenesi

In short, GenovaJeans has proven to be the perfect opportunity for a dive into the history of jeans, but also to remind us how important it is to think about the future of fashion in terms of circular economy and sustainability. Many brands were present, and the atmosphere was not only one of innovation but also of craftsmanship, tradition, awareness, and responsibility.

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Michele Gabriele brings his aliens to miart

Michele Gabriele brings his aliens to miart

Giorgia Massari · 1 week ago · Art

After yesterday’s preview on April 11, today miart officially opens to the public until Sunday 14. With the title no time, no space, director Nicola Ricciardi declared that this edition, the 28th, will be the best in recent years. Impossible to state objectively, but the novelties and the quality of the installations lead us to confirm this thesis. The emergent corridor, the first one you encounter as soon as you cross the entrance, is always the most interesting in our opinion. So many galleries we already knew, like Milan’s ArtNoble with an installation by Luca Staccioli, others we discovered here like London’s Gathering with works by Soojin Kang. Moving to the established corridors, also from London we also liked the booth at Cooke Latham Gallery with Lisa-Marie Harris’ solo show. Then Ciaccia Levi with Zero Gallery and Francesco Gennari’s installation; Cassina Project with works by Louisa Clement, Alessandro Fogo, Cecilia Granara and Erin Jane Nelson. What surprised us, however, was the work of Michele Gabriele (1983, Fondi), presented by the New York gallery ASHES/ASHES, which, by the way, is also simultaneously present in the spaces of the aforementioned Cassina Project, in the group show To Romanticize with Indecision that he curated together with Monia Ben Hamouda. So let’s talk about his work, perhaps the most Instagrammed of the fair because of the particularity of the subject, an alien – actually two, three if you count the painting – wounded, plastered and with fins on his feet.

gabriele michele

Michele Gabriele‘s mediums are painting, sculpture and installation. At miart there are two alien sculptures presented by the Lazio artist, class of ’83. In the background of July 2nd, the work at the center of the ASHES/ASHES booth, is the painting A Life in Theory that offers a clearer idea of what his research is. On the one hand, the artist makes us reflect on what are the alienating effects of the era in which we live, on the other hand, he does not take himself too seriously strong in an aesthetic that is extremely linked to the most sophisticated pop culture possible. In the midst of the Anthropocene, it is not surprising that everyone is drawn like moths to this booth, intrigued by the novelty of something finally divisive on display at miart.

michele gabriele
ASHES/ASHES, Michele Gabriele, miart 2024, installation view

Courtesy Michele Gabriele

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All facets of Alessandro Mendini

All facets of Alessandro Mendini

Giorgia Massari · 5 days ago · Art

«I am not an architect, I am a dragon,» is how Alessandro Mendini described himself in a self-portrait drawing that is now the poster for his just-opened retrospective exhibition April 13 – atTriennale Milano in collaboration with Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain. Indeed, his eclectic personality is difficult to describe in a single word. Architect, designer, graphic designer, artist, poet, craftsman. Mendini was all this and more. From the emotional charge present on stage during the April 12 press conference, where daughters Elisa and Fulvia Mendini also spoke, one could sense not only the genius but also the incredible sensitivity that such a multifaceted figure guarded. This exhibition, open until Oct. 13, aims to connect all the threads that make up his complex, kaleidoscopic identity, to quote Stefano Boeri. «In the exhibition we have tried to give an identity to the various sections to show how Mendini’s identity is not univocal, but composed of many parts. Like so many red threads that lead to the various rooms of the dragon,» explained curator Fulvio Irace, who had a long-standing friendship with Mendini.

Drawings, installations, design objects, thoughts. In this exhibition there is everything. Or rather, there is the whole world of Alessandro Mendini, the whole reality filtered through his eyes, no doubt colorful and never boring. The playful aspect is evident as well as his cartoony gaze. Mendini in fact, as Irace explains, also wanted to be a cartoonist. Even more, his daughter Elisa Mendini-during a touching speech-describes him as a shaper of reality. His empathy for everyday objects and the mystery of poetry that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary is clearly rendered in Pierre Charpin‘s installation, which divides the path into six thematic nuclei, while maintaining the coherence that has always distinguished Mendini’s personality. Through more than four hundred works, the exhibition I am a Dragon. The True Story of Alessandro Mendini offers viewers a broad look at the history and especially the creative force of a man who changed the history of design and architecture.

alessandro mendini
@delfino sl @dsl studio ©Triennale Milano
alessandro mendini
@delfino sl @dsl studio ©Triennale Milano
alessandro mendini
alessandro mendini
@delfino sl @dsl studio ©Triennale Milano

Courtesy Archivio Mendini, Triennale Milano, Fondation Cartier

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Cécile Dormeau illustrates what it means to be a woman

Cécile Dormeau illustrates what it means to be a woman

Giulia Guido · 4 days ago · Art

Every woman knows how difficult it is to be a woman: fighting with your hair in the morning, trying to hide pimples, dealing with comments about your weight, your appearance, your clothes. These are aspects that are part of everyday life and that sometimes take a heavy toll on morale. French illustrator Cécile Dormeau gives voice to all women by drawing scenes of normal everyday life and normalising certain aspects that are not always talked about. 

Cécile Dormeau graduated from the Estienne school of design in Paris, then lived first in Hamburg and then in Berlin where she worked as a designer and illustrator. She later worked as a junior art director at Ogilvy One in Frankfurt, finally deciding to pursue a career as an illustrator and return to Paris, where she now lives and works. 

Every day Cécile shares simple illustrations with her 265,000 followers on Instagram, with colourful backgrounds and featuring girls of all ages struggling with jeans that are too tight or hair growth.
What sets Cécile’s work apart from that of all other illustrators is that she started dealing with these topics in “unsuspected times”, beginning to make her illustrations as early as 2015, long before movements like NormalizeNormalBodis. 

The illustrator manages to summarise in a single image the state of mind of thousands of people, who share her work, finally feeling understood and no longer alone. 

We’ve selected just a few of her works, but if you want to find out more, follow her on Instagram

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The History Of Writing Told At MAMbo

The History Of Writing Told At MAMbo

Giorgia Massari · 4 days ago · Art

When the phenomenon of Writing was not yet fully known in Europe, researcher and scholar Francesca Alinovi (Parma, 1948 – Bologna, 1983) promoted an exhibition on frontier art, specifically looking at the New York scene. This was in 1984, the writers Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, and Ronnie Cutrone were so young that their works were still accessible, yet Alinovi had already understood the magnitude of the phenomenon that would shortly thereafter explode internationally. Forty years have passed since the exhibition at the Galleria comunale d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, and to mark the anniversary, MAMbo in Bologna has decided to pay homage to Alinovi and writing with an exhibition that intends to retrace all the evolutionary stages of the phenomenon, to tell the story of the past but also the present. FRONTIERA 40 Italian Style Writing 1984-2024 – curated by Fabiola Naldi – collects the sketches of 181 authors, testimonies of the creative process of several generations of Italian writers, unique expressive devices, priority and generative of each author’s style. Let’s better understand what it is all about.

writing mambo

More than 40 years have passed since Francesca Alinovi began writing about graffiti, glimpsing in the concept of frontier the evanescence of boundaries and in aesthetic contamination a new Avant-Garde. In the years when the scholar was telling about this new frontier, painting was overcoming the space of the frame, was expanding into the environment, was dematerializing in futuristic visions in which a single platform would share and contaminate all styles and all languages, while knowing how to interact with a complex social, anthropological, and cultural place. This premonitory vision allowed the scholar to see beyond the surface, to go where one should not go, to meet, talk to, and thus understand all those kids who, armed only with their letters and their fast-changing style, were training a new generation of authors, disrupting the fortunes of all Western metropolises

Fabiola Naldi
writing mambo
Bozzetto CURSE Roma 2024

Writing today, city by city

Among the writers selected for the exhibition at MAMbo are some young Italians who bear geographical witness. In other words, the importance of the city in which they operate emerges from the writers’ works. «Operating in Milan certainly has a different meaning from doing so in Bologna or Rome, and furthermore, the thickening of the relationships woven with provincial places has reinforced in these authors the use of contaminated languages that have given rise to letters containing different styles and little comprehensible to a public unaware of the glossary of the discipline», reads the press release. But the phenomenon does not remain confined to the city of origin; in fact, the exhibition shows how the friendships and crews that were created were instrumental in forging a connection between different cities, giving rise to larger and even international groups that contributed to the spread of the phenomenon and, above all, to its affirmation.

The exhibition will be open at MAMbo until July 13th, 2024

writing mambo
Bozzetto BREEZY G, Roma 1993
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Bozzetto ROSE, Rimini 1995
writing mambo
Installation View, FRONTIERA 40 | MAMbo di Bologna
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Bozzetto DAFNE, Genova 1996

In cover: CRASH, Torino 1995

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