Throughout her travel from Italy to the United States, both as a professional photographer and fashion designer, Valentina Oppezzo never includes animal materials in her work. For Valentina, using all non-animal materials is not just a trend, it is a belief.
Having started a career in Italy as a photographer, Valentina decided to carry on her passion for photography by opening a studio in Boston. After a period of time, Valentina decided to close her business due to her beliefs concerning the eco-fashion awareness. “One of the reasons I closed the studio was because I am a vegetarian,” she says. “When I worked as a photographer, more than once I was asked to photograph collections that included animal skin. For me it was a major issue.”
“Fashion arrived in a moment in which, along with my personal choices, I had the desire to learn how to make my own clothing and purses,” Valentina says.
Valentina then transitioned from the studio to designing clothing and accessories. In 2012, she started to pursue a career in fashion by attending the School of Fashion Design of Boston in Newbury Street.
Valentina’s American Dream began when she followed her husband to the United States. “I decided to move here because of my husband who works in the scientific field,” she says.
However, moving from Italy to Boston isn’t certainly an easy task, but the journey motivated the talented Valentina. She feels that the United States being known for many small businesses, motivates and pushes one to over achieve.“In general, I feel that here, if you are enterprising and you have spirit, it is a little easier to open a business and try to have a career, also on an independent level,” she explains, “while in Italy there is more bureaucracy, it is more complex.”
The up and-coming fashion designer promotes an eco-friendly vision by excluding fur, leather, silk, feather and wool in her products. “My idea is to produce something that is appealing but in which the aesthetic aspect is not the only factor. I give a lot of importance to the ethical factor as well.”“When I choose materials, I prefer to use eco-friendly ones, such as organic cotton, hemp and soy,” Valentina says.
“Now we are living in a world where you have so many other alternatives to leather. You don’t need to kill the animals anymore,” she explains. “We should value a designer’s creativity, new technologies and new ways of making products.”
Valentina brings ready-to-be-trashed pieces to life using elegant and colorful patterns. For example, she recently took pieces from a torn apart piano and created an innovative and unique dress with those pieces. The piano dress was created in collaboration with pianist Moira Lo Bianco.
In January 2013, Valentina produced an outfit that incorporates a solar recharger for phones. Without a doubt, Valentina’s vision of fashion is deviceful and visionary.
Some of her inspirations are British fashion designer Stella McCartney and Italian-eco fashion designer Ilaria Fendi.
“I am inspired not so much by big companies and brands but by new designers who believe in a new approach and vision to fashion,” Valentina says.
Her approach to fashion is always determined by new concepts and eco-sustainable ideas that are able to communicate an important and meaningful message, which goes beyond the superficial and the luxury.
“I understand that people have different lifestyles but each one of us should take care of the planet by just making a couple of steps forward,” she explains. “My future aim is to have a small production by using non-animal materials and create something that is fashionable and stylish but that people will also buy because it is made with heart.”
On June 21, at 6 p.m., Valentina will present her garments at the fashion show ‘Elements of Design, Eco-Fashion,’ at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The event will raise funds for the Boston Green Foundation and will be open to the public.