Ti presentiamo Nadia, l'artefice dietro a Nuno Milano

Meet Nadia, the architect behind Nuno Milano

We asked Nadia a few questions, and she told us about her Nuno Milano project, her values, her passions and how she creates her unique garments.

Have you always thought about being a stylist?

The answer is no because, basically, I don't think I'm a stylist. Or at least I don't like to define myself as such, rather I let others do it if they need to put a label on me.

I think I have a problem with the concept of fashion and, consequently, with the role of the stylist…
I have not yet found the correct definition for me, for the moment we can say that I am a felt maker or we could say a "feltrista", a felt maker/stylist.

Drawing is what I've always wanted to do, since I can remember.
I had what is called a “good hand”!
And to some extent that's what I did, having been a graphic designer for over twenty years.

But there is another detail, which sounds a bit like an omen: my life has always been intertwined with the threads of balls of wool, from a very young age, with knitting needles and the crochet hook, busy knitting to make clothes for Barbie under the watchful eye of my grandmother. Perhaps it was already written in the charts of the cosmos.

What is certain is that my background in the world of graphics has been instrumental in being able to approach creative and artisan work in a different way than usual, more structured, always starting from a project.

worktop by Nuno Milano

So when did you become a "feltrista"?

The first signs date back to the autumn of 2015 and I became one by pure chance.
I was looking for an online tutorial, for a friend of mine, she had to make felt slippers.
Browsing I came across a video that showed how to make " nunofeltro".
Literally a shock!
I couldn't believe that two elements as different as wool fibers and silk chiffon, manipulated with soap and water, could merge and become something else, something that didn't exist, something unique .

I had to immediately try, experiment, understand how the magic happened.
It was irresistible.
The first scarves, the first stoles, the easiest things to make were born.
If I look at the photos of those fabrics, I'm horrified and I can't explain how they could be liked so much!
But this tells me how much I have grown, technically and professionally, over the years. And so, at the beginning of 2016 I decided that I would take the leap into the dark, that I would leave my creative job to devote myself to nunofelt.
In fact, however, it was the meeting with a real stylist that led me on the path of clothing, of "fashion".

AND NUNO? When was he born?

It was officially born on March 13, 2017, when I opened my business.
For some time now, I had been sharing a co-working space with a wedding dress designer, who had previously produced her own line of clothing.

The influence she had on me was natural because, although I've never been a "fashion lover", I've always liked to sew, embroider, handle fabrics and fabrics.

If I look back, however, I realize that the fashion world has influenced my professional growth , even as a creative. One of the first agencies I worked for, in Turin, had clients, almost exclusively, of very established fashion brands, and we took care of them in the round, from the hanging tag to the label, from the packaging to setting up the shop . I would say an "involuntary formation" not bad, right?

In six years, Nuno's production has grown tremendously, in terms of quantity and, above all, quality. There is no school that teaches you how to make nunofelt, every improvement, every achievement, is only the result of practice and experimentation and also of failure, constant and continuous, every day .

Why instead the choice to make unique garments?

More than a choice it is a logical and inevitable consequence .
Firstly because of the manual and artisanal technique with which the fabrics are produced and then because there is nothing more "emasculating" for a creative than making two things the same!
But basically it's the technique that prevents me from being able to make two identical fabrics. Maybe similar, but never identical, impossible.

If we then look around us we are invaded by standardized and flattened products and clothing items, which respond to superficial and consumerist needs, why should I start doing what others already do and maybe they do it better than me?

detail quality garments Nuno Milano

So what is fashion for you?

It's a world that I've always looked at with a little diffidence, with a great deal of detachment.
Maybe because I've never been fascinated by trends even when I was young, I've never been interested in knowing what this or that designer was proposing (apart from Jil Sander…), what the color of the moment was. And indeed, I've always hated the idea of ​​struggling to find a garment in a certain color just because someone decided that the colors were different for that season!

At the end of the fashion shows, every season, we hear speeches from stylists about the affirmation of one's personality, one's style, the uniqueness of people, etc. only to find us, six months later, all wearing the same models with the same colors .

There are some garments that I have made , and will make, that I know are difficult, that need to be understood . But they are just waiting for their soul mate, and sooner or later it will come.
Due to the type of production I have, it is difficult to speak of "seasonal" collections,
I don't theorize uniqueness, I practice it.

How would you describe your ideal client? Who are your unique garments for?

The Nuno woman is not very young, she already has a good experience on her skin and has a lot to say , even if she often doesn't know it or doesn't know how to do it. But fashion also serves this purpose, to find and build one's own identity. Of course it would be better to do it by choosing unique items, right?!

My client often has creative passions that she practices as a hobby, she likes to share them with me and I'm happy about it! It also happens that they send me inspirational images, something they like and that they think could be useful as inspiration for my collections! They are delicious.

The client Nuno is curious, attentive to the principles of sustainability and quality craftsmanship.
She knows that behind the product she has purchased there is not an automatic responder but a person, available to listen to her and fulfill her requests. Producing the fabric myself, it is quite easy to meet specific customer requests and create something ad hoc for them.

Many of them entered the atelier as customers to buy a shirt and left as friends. It's beautiful.

How do you inspire yourself to create your fabrics?

I often tell it to those who ask me how I make my fabrics, why the choice of this or that design. Most of the time it's completely random.

A few years ago I made a mesh capsule with cracks. The fabric played on the stark black/white contrast, it was very effective . On that occasion the inspiration came while I was waiting for the bus and looking at the wall of a house with the plaster full of cracks.
That time I realized how difficult it is to draw a realistic crack!

On another occasion the inspiration came from a ceramic fruit bowl I saw in a shop, it was all made of holes but in that case it was easy, the circle is my absolute favorite shape.
A t-shirt capsule, on the other hand, was inspired by mandalas because I saw my daughter coloring one.

Instead, it is often the fabrics I work on that bring the cue , which suggest a certain process rather than another.
Basically I'll never know what, when and how inspiration will come but if it's "delayed" I'll go around looking for it!

You mentioned sustainability. Could you tell us how Nuno is sustainable?

Certainly! The theme of sustainability is very topical, but it is also a very difficult topic to deal with, due to the political and social implications it has.
I make handmade fabrics, with soap and water , and obviously I am very careful to use the least amount of water possible, even if we are talking about just over ten liters per fabric.

I don't use machinery, the tools are my hands and my arms, so I don't have a significant consumption of energy (I emit a little carbon dioxide for physical exercise but nothing special…).

Nuno production is a micro production , made of timeless garments, which have a very long life expectancy, unlike fast fashion products.

And last but not least, every Nuno garment sold is linked to the TREINUNO program: recycle, save, renew . The worn garment is brought back to the atelier, I renew the nunofelt fabric for a new project and the customer immediately receives a 20% discount to spend on any Nuno product.

Where can we find you and your unique items?

Definitely in my small atelier in the Bovisa area of ​​Milan, precisely in via Morghen 24. What a bizarre choice, some will think, it is an area that is not very "fashionable" for a product of this type.
It is certainly true but I have lived in Bovisa since I arrived in Milan twenty-five years ago and it immediately became home.

It is a neighborhood with very deep roots, full of history, with the possibility of great human relationships and, in a city like Milan, it is not at all obvious and has a lot of value for me. But it's also a neighborhood that will see big changes over the next few years and I want to be here to see them.

In the atelier you can find and try on all the garments and accessories produced, touch the fabrics by hand and, if you're lucky, watch me produce one. It is always very fascinating, especially for those who see it for the first time.

And while we drink tea or coffee, we think of the boss who isn't there and who you would like to have, because everything that hasn't been done yet can be done.

In the coming months I will resume with the workshops , so that those who have a passion for the manual arts or want to satisfy their curiosity can experiment with nunofelt.
Then, like all self-respecting companies, there is the site with the online shop.
In this period I'm working on the new platform, which will see the addition of various sections including that of collaborations with other artisans, professionals and organizations, such as ZamaLabz , Botteghe e Mercati and Wellmade.

These are relationships that I care deeply about because they always bring a wealth of content, values ​​and experience. Here you can find my garments displayed on ZamaLabz.

Throughout the year I always participate in exhibition and sales events, to be updated on dates and places you can follow me on instagram @nuno.milano and facebook @nunofeltromilano, or subscribe to the newsletter, from the site, to be informed and receive promotions .
I hate it when my email newsletters invade so, against all marketing laws, rest assured you'll only get what you need!

nuno milano fabric processing

You spoke of workshops, therefore laboratories, aren't you jealous of your technique, of the tricks acquired with experience?

No, not at all, actually. Let's remember that, as I said before, I learned the basics from an online video!
As you say it is the experience that makes the difference .
You need to have excellent manual skills and have practiced a lot to achieve certain results and, above all, it is essential how you approach the job.

Just by doing the workshops in the past, I realized how difficult it is for those who have to make a nunofelt fabric to answer the question: how would you like your fabric to be?
Unless one has a strong artistic vein it is difficult to manage color and shape in space!

Another very interesting aspect is that touching the merino wool, taking the time necessary for the success of the work, having patience in what one is doing, is almost therapeutic, people relax a lot during the workshops.
And then, being made up of very small numbers, a very pleasant climate of conviviality is created.

How did you hear about ZamaLabz?

Here too by chance, browsing on social networks. What caught my attention was the selection of artisans and artists on the platform, as well as the sober, elegant setting of the site.
Over the past year, I have navigated various digital "containers" that want to promote Italian craftsmanship, several have asked me to become part of them, but it was enough to delve into the research for a moment to realize that the concept of craftsmanship is really very vague and random!

What is very clear to me is that I want to be in virtual and physical spaces with high-level colleagues and competitors, better if they are better than me.
And Zamalabz is this!

One last curiosity: what does NUNO like and dislike?

I like:
the Neapolitan pastiera, the Ruché (a Piedmontese red wine), cooking,
the scent of fig leaves in the sun, reading before sleeping, observing people on public transport, sociology, learning art and putting it aside, tidying up space, listening to people, knitting.
And I really like to sleep!

I don't like:
the fog, the oysters, the speed, the country music, the romance novels, the incoherence, the vulgarity, the mess.

Discover the unique items of NUNO Milano.

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