“What for some is waste, for me is gold”: Giulia Boccafogli tells the story about her contemporary jewels
Brand in focus is a series of interviews made for Sfashion-net*, our partner in the diffusion of an alternative model to fast fashion. For them we interview Giulia Boccafogli, architect and creator of contemporary handcrafted jewels by recovering precious leathers. We have decided to tell the story of Giulia and her creations because of her choice of using recycled materials and the modern design, elegant and original of her jewels, the ‘Giulielli’.
Giulia, can you tell us which products your brand makes and who is behind it?
“I am an architect who at a certain point fell in love with making jewelry and for a long time now, this has become my job. At the center of my work there is the great formal and technical research, aimed at giving life to an original product and personal, the craftsmanship accuracy and the ethical choice of sourcing the raw material. I use exclusively Italian recovered leathers. What for some is waste, for me is gold. I work alone but I use some external collaborators for some processes or aspects of my job such as, for example, the image”.
Why did you decide to start creating jewelry for your brand? What inspired you?
“I have not decided. It happened. Slowly it crept into my everyday life and from passion it became love. Since this does not happen often, at a certain point I realized that I had to indulge all this, dedicating quality time to it. In 2013 I quit my career as an architect and since then I have dedicated myself exclusively to my ‘Giuliellis’. They are born like this: after having inhabited my somewhat bizarre fantasy for a long time, they are rationalized, designed and then handcrafted. Many things inspire me, I don’t like to put limits in this sense, but certainly art, music, literature, cinema and mythology are very welcome sources and so is the theme of travel”.
When and how did you start making jewelry?
“The beginning is, as for many, to be found in adolescence, when creating small jewels was really just a pastime. Then, as I said before, it happened that, becoming better and better, and thanks to the appearance of the internet, between 2004 and 2005, I started to tell my passion on a blog, which in a short time became quite popular. This opened several doors for me and also my eyes. Then things went fast and now I’m here at 40”.
Giulia, what do you think is the most important aspect of your brand?
“Definitely the research. I have always been committed to trying to shape original, new jewels that could become recognizable over time. I am obsessed with this aspect. Mine is not a highly commercial product: leather jewelery is a niche in the niche of contemporary jewelery. If I lost this aspect, therefore, my work would no longer make sense”.
Can you tell us 2 ‘Giulielli’ that have a special meaning for you?
“Having to mention only two, I would say my Jabots, because they represent the beginning of a new path, the exact moment when I decided to specialize in leather processing. In particular, jabots are among the pieces in which the exclusive use of scraps it is clearer. Then probably Sciamano, because in a certain way it represents the beginning of a new path of technical research and a more sophisticated image, a piece that has opened my head to many other lines”.
What aspects of sustainability does your brand pay attention to? We have seen the use of exclusively recycled leathers, why this choice? Are there any other sustainability aspects that you are committed to or plan to include?
“Surely the procurement of the raw material, the exclusive use of recycled leathers, is the aspect I care most about. When I decided to specialize, choosing this material, I immediately realized that there would be ethical implications . Leather is a very precious material, also and above all for its derivation. In craftsmanship, as in many other individual works, there is sustainability if the attention we have and the gestures we make are in that direction day after day already as individuals. Of course my commitment is maximum and I am trying to make improvements in all sectors. The packaging is already made entirely of natural and recyclable materials for some time (I am just finishing to dispose of some stocks of packaging tape). Almost all of my suppliers is Italian, except for some imported small parts. I do not use any type of machinery, apart from a small goldsmith’s drill, which I use for filing and polishing. are some metal parts. Also, I always try to be kind and helpful, even when I have a bad day, because in my opinion this too makes a difference“.
What do you think of networking with other micro-enterprises?
“I find it vitally important and fundamental to find similar realities, especially humanly. Networking, helping each other, making their skills available for sectoral growth is beautiful but also very complex: it is easy to lose sight of your goal if you do not it is within a collective that espouses the same values and the same hopes“.
* Sfashion-net is a portal that brings together brands, projects and micro-enterprises of critical fashion, with the aim of giving them visibility, of spreading a real alternative to fast fashion consumption and of creating a network, a cohesive and active community in realities that, while remaining independent from each other, can get to know each other, come into contact, develop shared strategies and projects. Furthermore, brands can benefit from consultancy, training and services dedicated to their type of business.