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Designer's note: Meet Graciela
I'm Graciela, Co-Founder & Creative mind behind Pitti Vintage.
Drawn to beautiful and interesting clothing from an early age, I studied fashion in Mexico City, where I was born and raised. Looking to expand my horizons and experience a bit more of what life had to offer, I moved to New York in 1997. To further my career I took specialty courses in designing, draping and patternmaking at the "Parsons School of Art & Design" and at the "Fashion Institute of Technology". To pay for school expenses and day-to-day life (Wow is New York expensive!!) I worked as a waitress at one of the many Italian restaurants in the East Village. This is where I met my future husband, Luigi…
We met in Nyc in spring 2002. We spent time together that summer but honestly we didn’t really get to know one another until Luigi went back to Italy at summers end. Post cards, e-mails and phone calls laid the groundwork for what would become a lifetime together. As soon as he could, Luigi came back to New York and we officially started dating. It was a very special time in my life. Time spent with Luigi and our friends, enjoying the excitement and newness of life as part of a couple. When Luigi needed to go back to Italy at Christmas time, it nearly broke my heart. However, unbeknownst to me Luigi had a surprise in store for the new year. On New Year’s Eve he made an unannounced visit back to New York to offer me an engagement ring and ask if I would be his wife. WOWWW!! The next trip to Italy required a seat for two.
We were off to Florence together! In the spring of 2004 we were married in the amazing “Sala Rossa” (the red room – The setting for A Room With A View) in Palazzo Vecchio, which is the ancient Florentine city hall. Together with family from Mexico and Puglia and Friends from many continents we celebrated and enjoyed one the most important days of our lives.
In autumn 2004, because of a strong desire to follow my "dream" (literally) we started to research original Italian vintage clothing and began looking for a storefront in which to open a shop. We found a wonderful space on a charming little street called Sdrucciolo dei Pitti. It is in the Oltrarno neighborhood (Florence's "left bank") and has been home to artisans for centuries. We very much enjoyed seeing our dream come to life before our eyes. French lights and music and copies of Toulouse Lautrec and Modigliani paintings became our world. I can't tell you how much fun it was to stock a whole vintage store!! We filled our wonderful space with so many beautiful things. Quite soon, people began to know of this cute shop called Pitti Vintage.
The Vegan ERA
A few years ago in Puglia, on a sunny spring day in 2011 one of the most wonderful things happened: My husband and I rescued two adorable dogs from the street. This new addition to our lives absolutely thrilled us! and we started to be very sensitive to the animal cause. Few days later I had designed a bag for myself but I didn't want to use animal leather, after seeing the conditions in which our dogs were reduced before adoption, I did a research and I found this great Italian quality vegan leather to make my bag.
Friends and family started asking to make bags for them too. That was the moment, I thought, to start giving my small contrubution to save animals from the fashion industry using non leather alternatives. So in addition to the vintage wear I designed and introduced a modest collection of 6 bags handmade and started selling online. The great response I had from the vegan community from all over the world was really unexpected and very exciting.
I will continue to develop and improve PittiVintage.com offering vintage and cruelty-free vegan accessories for a woman that love animals without compromising her style. I hope that you will visit often and grow with me.
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