Rarely does Italian couture touch down in New York City these days but our latest designer, Sara Di Salvo of Hot!Couture does just that with her line, Neo Victorian. Sara translated her Italian heritage and a love of the pomp of the Victorian era into custom prints in luxurious fabrics and trims. Her latest line adapts this super ceremonial era into a sophisticated sustainable line that consumers drool over. Meet Sara and read more to what inspired this particular line, Sara’s tips for aspiring designers and her HOT! philosophy on fashion.
How and why did you start designing?
I started when I was 9-10 years old. Someone gifted me a board game for aspiring fashion designers. It began by playing with that and then I decided that it was something that really gave me joy. I can’t do a job only for money – for me working has to be creative and challenging.
What is your fashion philosophy?
I’m working on sustainable fashion. I don’t like how big corporations pay unfair wages to their workers in order to maintain low prices and then spend million of dollars, to pay celebrities for endorsements or open a flagship stores in Manhattan. These workers aren’t getting enough to cover their basic living expenses. Fashion is art, and nobody underpays painters or sculptors in order to have their houses full of their pieces. Fashion has to be the same.
What do you think about fashion today?
I think the industry has to change. Designers should have a more sustainable eye in their collections and consumers should focus on having fewer pieces, with better quality and more exclusivity.
How has your design changed over time?
Coming to New York has changed my vision of fashion a lot. When I started my collection, they were more like pieces of art and, at the time, not entirely wearable. Now I’m focusing on developing my own prints. I think that this has given a much stronger look to my collection.
Where do you go and what do you do for inspiration?
I search for and collect images online or in the streets and then I create a vision and a story from what has fascinated me.
What inspired your latest collection?
I was inspired by Victorian art: it’s paintings and floral wallpapers. I try to reinterpret the color black – a must-have for winter – with my own touch.
What is your brand aesthetic?
I try to be playful. Fashion is art and must be entertaining.
What is your biggest hurdle building a brand today?
Selling is the most challenging step designers need to figure out but also creating something that people really desire.
Any tips and tricks of the trade?
Do this job only if you really love it. Keep learning everyday and believe in yourself and your vision.
Strut through your own court in these modern Victorian inspired silhouettes.