Her tiny feet carried her to the streets of the Moroccan Souq when her soul was starving for adventure. The smells and textures of her second home fed her tiny fire, bursting her ribcage open, allowing the light that lay dormant inside of her to finally awake. She calls herself Flame, Fiammetta being her full name, meaning little flame in Italian. When I first met the Creatress years ago, her fire and her style reminded me of the character Sapphire from Almost Famous. One day she is a rockstar, roving the streets in her femme fatale costumes, turning heads and burning bridges. Next day she is a light worker, a sensual goddess who is not afraid to share her vulnerability with the world and most importantly show the sweet depths of her fierce love.
“My parents simply knew when they chose my name. I am light and I am fire! I do experience dark periods in life, but I always manage to reconnect to my inner being and remind myself that my essence has always been this pure light. All of us humans carry the light deep inside of us and in my everyday life I acknowledge this in every person that I encounter.”
Born into an Italian family of nomads, Fiammetta’s multi-cultural background makes her fluent in four languages. She was born in Brussels, baptised in Barcelona and spent her childhood travelling, living in places such as at her grandparents’ in Morocco, in Madrid, in Paris and Zurich.
This nomadic Creatress is a fashion designer, although in my opinion, the industrial name does not suit her entirely. She is more than that. She does make clothing, but also plays around with her own outfits, wears what she makes and most importantly works on her clothing with dedication and intention. Her apparel is multi-dimensional, not just tactile, and driven by her own philosophy of life and by the vibrations of this universe.
Constantly inspired and driven by her female ancestry, the Creatress grew up in an environment where her mother and grandmother would produce magic from scratch. “Both of them always lived by the idea that you can gather everything that you have and make something extremely beautiful from literally nothing! I remember when I was little, my mother always managed to make our home look amazing. Her, my brother and I would paint our furniture ourselves and she would also always pimp me up and make me wear these extravagant outfits. Grandma and mom have always been the creative wolves in my family, they are also the strongest women I know!” One could tell that Fia inherited something divinely special from the women of her family. The confidence that she moves with, the love of life and constant gratitude that she expresses in her actions and her art are exhilarating.
A certain bi-sexual nature has always been present in the Creatress’ self-expression. The Siva/Shakti balance is something that Fiammetta has always been unconsciously in tune with. When she was a little girl, she would interchangeably play swords with her brother and wear his baggy trousers to school but also wear long skirts that gave her the reputation of gypsy girl. “This is probably when my journey with fashion started, once I started experimenting with gender roles and when my mother would put all those crazy skirts on me.”
In high school Fiammetta would organise her own fashion show. With her best friend, she would audition the models, manufacture all the outfits with a borrowed sewing machine and make an annual event out of it. “We had no idea what we were doing and my grandmother would mock our innocent ignorance.”
Because of the pressure coming from certain family members, something I assume we all experience as teenagers, Fiammetta was initially going to do a degree in business. “I guess it took me some time to fully awaken to my sense of purpose. Thankfully I had an amazing art teacher who supported me and pushed me to do a foundation year in art in Canterbury and this is when I started questioning my choices and understanding what I want out this life.”
After her foundation year in Canterbury, Little Flame enrolled at Kingston University Art School to do her BA in Fashion. Straight after being admitted, Fia’s life took a whole new spin, a journey of self-discovery had begun. “I got so into it. The moment I arrived in London I started meeting all these amazing people who would inspire me and bring my inner being into the surface. Since my arrival here, my main question has been WHO AM I and how can I give something back to that beauty of life that has provided me so much magic so far. I was working so hard from the very beginning and am now about to graduate which is pretty surreal. These three years passed by so quickly! I never worked so hard in my entire life and I love all that I have done so far, the discoveries, the work and the recurring challenges.”
The sisterly bond that Fia and I created these past months will forever inspire and empower me, regardless of where life will take us in the near future. Most of our soul-searching together has revolved around topics surrounding womanhood, the divine feminine and our place in this world as adventurous, wild Creatresses who are not willing to settle for a conventional life.
“My mother is the wild horse in my family and I know that I have assimilated some of her character traits. This obviously makes certain people want to put me in a box, extinguish my fire and shut my creativity down. I was lucky to be raised by such a powerful woman, I easily break the chains. I am an intense woman myself, deal with it. That’s who I am, I’m an Aries after all! I did get some rejection in life because I am loud, fiery and driven by this enthusiasm for life! Just recently I’ve decided that this is not my problem if other people can’t handle me. If I cared too much I would not be who I am today and I wouldn’t be doing the amazing things I’m doing. I must say that it is hard to live that way but it’s all about riding it all out.”
Fiammetta has always been a feminist at heart, always challenging the notion of gender and its boundaries, and seeing as most of the clothing she makes is unisex, I was interested in discussing gender with her. Because we have both grown these past few years, I have noticed that our ideas surrounding manhood and womanhood have changed as well. During our discussion, we were unable to fully decipher gender and the way it is imposed on us in our society. A question we keep facing on a daily basis is whether gender is actually a thing, whether it even exists outside of our social system.
“This is a thing about me. I always lived by the philosophy that gender does not exist and that it’s all performance, think Judith Butler! But nowadays, I am so connected to my femininity, I actually feel like a woman now. So I do feel like there is a certain difference between those who identify as a man and those who identify as a woman and yet it’s also an ongoing debate in my mind. What if we put man and woman into a different society, a different system that ignores the binaries? What will come out of it I keep wondering. I think this is what I am doing with my fashion, I am somehow studying this idea of genderless existence. I try to break the binaries and the limitations that we are assigned to as men and women.”
Fearless when it comes to digging deep into the dark realms of her inner being, Fia’s life journey has also been an active journey of self-improvement and of unravelling all that she has been possibly suppressing. As someone who is constantly digging deep into my childhood traumas, I was eager to share and discuss the topic with the Creatress. We concluded that, somehow most us humans carry a strange fear inside of us: that of abandonment which stems from childhood and which we are often incapable of tracing back, thus allowing it to transform into a trauma that keeps influencing most of our relationships in life. Both coming from a family that had to go through separation and heartbreak, we realised that we have always led a form of fragmented existence. We also agreed that the most predominant fear in human beings is that of not being loved, especially if you are a giver, someone who gives so much of oneself to the other unconditionally. People love differently and at times it is heart-breaking to see that as humans we cannot love in the same ways and this becomes a real fear. “All of that goes back to our childhood traumas and I always try to work with it. We even carry traumas from our mothers and grandmothers. Travelling all the way back through generations is healthy at times in order to heal and accept things that cannot be changed.”
For Fiammetta, fitting into an institution has always been a challenge. Her first years in Fashion School, she was working so hard but did not feel like she had the freedom to express herself fully with her designs. What at first was merely black and white, functional clothing, quickly developed into garments coming straight from fairyland or from an acid trip. At the university authority figures would challenge her unique style that always strives to express a desire to get back to organic forms and to the richness of colours and cultures that we are constantly surrounded by. Institutions keep trying to put her into a certain category while the Creatress has always managed to do her thing and fight for her individual way of expressing herself.
“Once again, I think that my mother is the one I am to thank for my ambition. She shaped my thinking the most. She taught me that people are just people. In the end we are all humans, we might have our little differences here and there, but nothing in the world can make you bigger or smaller than the person standing next to you!”
Recently the Creatress took a year off in order to search for inspiration in the holy country of India. During that life changing experience, Fia met people from all walks of life that she collaborated with and learned from. “India is a magical place. Everything that I asked for while being there manifested itself. I was by myself and had no boundaries whatsoever, I could go anywhere I wanted and the place took me on some crazy rides! I brought this wisdom back with me to Europe and this is how my collection “Divine Hybridity” was born.”
An explosive blend of cultures, colours and impressions, “Divine Hybridity” celebrates and worships the divinity which is present in all of us and can only be fully expressed when humans unite and lead a life of peace and compassion.
Her collection, inspired by the colours of India, by the patterns and ornaments of Africa, Morocco and her own intuitive touch, is made of fabrics that Fia consciously collected or inherited from her great-grandmother. ” ‘Divine Hybridity’ is about the diversity that we all have inside of us as citizens of the world. The collection is all me. All these things I have picked up while travelling around but also when I look into my family and how they have lived. My mother was born in Sudan, she is African hearted and has always been that way!” A real sensuous ride, Fia’s clothing does bear a certain divine spark. The cultures that the Creatress used as inspiration for her collection are to be understood as strongly admired by Fia. She does not try to claim any culture nor engage in remorseless cultural misappropriation. “It’s my way of expressing my gratitude to this world and to the diversity that exists on our planet. I wanted to give something back to all the cultures that have influenced me as a person and my collection is a big product of gratitude towards these cultures and traditions.”
In the near future, Fiammetta plans to travel around while seeking new ways of expressing herself and grow through each and every experience that life has to offer. When asked whether she would ever continue working within the fashion industry Flame prefers not to: “The fashion industry sucks all the creativity out of you. My teachers would throw constant questions at me telling me stuff like ‘but who are YOU? Is this something you would wear? But this is not how your dress etc.’ and I’m like : I’m everything, I am constantly changing and evolving as a person! I am a mix of all the cultures that I was exposed to! Stop putting labels on me and take a look at my art and tell me how you FEEL instead! That’s the most important thing to me.”
The Creatress sees herself working as a costume designer in theatres instead and living a nomadic life while consciously seeking new textiles and new ways of handling garments, unbound and unchained the Wild Woman that she is.
If you want to have an audio-visual experience of Fia’s collection check out her video: