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Andrea Cammarosano

The Italian designer was educated in Antwerp, worked for Walter van Beirendonck, but has moved to London to present her new collection, 'I'm a Monster'

After graduating from the Antwerp Academy, Andrea Cammarosano started working for Walter Van Beirendonck, now with his blessing he has moved to London and presented his collection “I'm a Monster”. Inspired by Maori men and Turkish saunas, it features body builders and muscled men but it's not only meant for the big boys and customers with a leather fetish. Dazed spoke to him about leaving Antwerp, sex and the Queen.

Dazed Digital: Why have you moved from Antwerp to London?
Andrea Cammarosano:
I've always wanted to live in London. There are so many things I like about the English lifestyle. I love the breakfasts and the nightlife here, although I go to bed quite early. I love the Queen and the pounds; I don't like driving on the left. Also, there are a lot of opportunities for young designers, plus there is a lot of art, and some of my dearest friends live here.

DD: What will you say is your signature?
Andrea Cammarosano: My stuff is like me - it looks silly at first sight, but when you think about it it isn't.

DD: Was it difficult to quit your work with Walter to come to London?
Andrea Cammarosano: Yes it was, Walter is such a creative person and there's a lovely environment in his office. I had lots of fun there, and learned a lot. He's been a very good teacher for me at school and a very good mentor for my own collections after that, we're still in touch and that’s very nice!

DD: Tell us more about your new collection
Andrea Cammarosano: I’m excited to tell you about it! There are colours, of course, and lots of fringes - which are very sexy when you move. Maori men wear fringed skirts - they are huge, muscular guys but their skirts look so cute. Contrasts are such a big part of what I do. I remember this monstrous man furiously scrubbing me in a Turkish sauna in Istanbul; he was wearing the pestemal, a typical checkered towel. It looked like a pizza cloth. I reworked its pattern in my jacquards. I collaborated with two amazing fetish ateliers to create leather and rubber outfits and for the first time I will produce some of the styles...

What’s 'I'm a Monster' about?
You know, sometimes I feel a bit depraved. Some weird things excite me to the point that I’m afraid they could take the best of me. But then I realise, maybe that is actually the best of me! There are so many monsters in the world, but people don't want to realise. They keep picking on the wrong ones. My monsters are actually friendly people. I guess the point is that sometimes you think you just don't fit, but in fashion this is rather an advantage than a disadvantage - because in this way you can make something original.

DD: Your collection is very sexual, how important is sex for you?
Andrea Cammarosano: Sex is a great thing, provided that you do it with the right people and that you do it safe. When you look at the sex industry it makes you reflect on how important sex is for everybody. It's just that somebody would rather hide it than show it. At that point it becomes a weakness and it depresses you. I guess I love sex just in the same way that I love food - they are the two things that keep me plump. 

DD: What do you think about the new generation of Italian designers?
Andrea Cammarosano: I love my friend Darla and I love Valeria too. And a bunch of other people. Other than these, I can only tell you about Italy - the country is doing worse and worse, it's slipped under the dictatorship of Berlusconi and the Vatican, so lots of people are brainwashed in one way or the other. The ones that resist deserve all my respect, but they are not many. Maybe it’s also our own fault, I don't know.

DD: Which plans do you have in the future?
Andrea Cammarosano: I will be guest artist at the Rijksacademie in Amsterdam next year, in the meanwhile I will work on my new collection, do some research between Reno and San Francisco, I will eat a lot, go to the gym, and do a lot of nice other things. I’m playing the Diversity Lottery so I hope to win a Green Card, and I also hope to be selected for Hyeres 2011. 

DD: Where can we buy your collection?
Andrea Cammarosano: I just signed a deal with Tesco and Asda, but soon we are gonna expand to three secret boutiques in Europe and America...

Photos by Ronald Stoops

Styling by Michael Dans