The career of Maurizio Donadi is simply impressive. He’s a creative mind with a more than 35 years of experience in the fashion industry at big players as Ralph Lauren, Benetton, Armani, Diesel, and Levi’s. A few years ago he started Atelier & Repairs, a new concept with a circularity approach. He re-imagine what already exists through intentional design.
Now, he just launched another initiative, Transnomadica. A marketplace for unique and rare pieces. So, time to have a chat with Maurizio to hear everything from this exciting new adventure!
LJ: Can you tell a bit about your new project Transnomadica? What is it exactly, for who is it and what can people do at Transnomadica?
MD: The concept of Transnomadica is based on my archive, a large accumulation of unique pieces collected over 30 years of traveling for work and for inspiration.
It is simply a digital shop for unique pieces, sort of a curated flea-market for designers, collectors, vintage aficionados and anybody looking for objects with a story. It is completely open and anyone can purchase. There are no restrictions.
LJ: And where is the name coming from? Where does it stands for?
MD: I think of Transnomadica as an experience across all forms of nomadism, a natural human predisposition.
LJ: How did you came up with the idea for Transnomadica? Is this something that was in your head for a long(er) time?
MD: I have been thinking about turning my archive into a business since 2012, although it was it mind for much longer than that.
LJ: So, Transnomadica is a sort of market place. You have a huge archive with around 8.000 pieces. How many items from your archive will there be for sale? And also in different price ranges?
MD: Chapter 1 of Transnomadica is dedicated to the color blue with Japanese denim playing the protagonist role. Price point varies from about $75 (for a used Levi’s 501) to $850 for some very rare Japanese jeans.
LJ: Are there different categories in the available pieces? And is it men and women? Pants and jackets?
MD: The idea is to reach a selection of about 1000 unique pieces in the next 6 weeks. The complete selection will include vintage t-shirts, sweatshirts, womens wear, shirts, jackets, and much more. We will also have fashion archival pieces from Commes de Garcon, Yoji Yamamoto, early Ralph Lauren, Helmut Lang, Margiela, and other fashion designers.
LJ: Where did you buy all those pieces over the years?
MD: Flea markets, vintage shops around the world, private collectors, brands’ prototypes, never produced samples, weird people, etc.
LJ: How long did it took to gather all those items? And did you bought them as inspiration to design collections when you were working at brands as Diesel, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and so on?
MD: In full transparency, I had a vintage shop in Miami in 1993 and that is exactly when I started thinking about building a small archive for my own work and inspiration. I never shown my archive to any of the brands I worked for. I brought in a few pieces for inspiration but not to inform a new season, a theme or a collection. There are maybe 20 people in the world that have seen it in its entirety.
LJ: Why are you selling these treasures? Is it because you are in a ‘less-consuming/owning’ period? Or you just want to make space at your place?
MD: I am thinking about continuing in my search for the most sustainable and responsible business practices and recycling is a natural step. With Atelier&Repairs (more this here) I wanted to prove that one can build a brand without producing anything, but instead transforming what already exist. With Transnomadica is about giving a stage to pieces that were beautifully made, that lasted a long time and still being in exceptional condition, have acquired value with time and aesthetically pleasing.
LJ: Is it difficult for you to let a part of your collection go although you know that they’re getting a next life somewhere? Don’t you think you will regret later by selling them?
MD: No regrets whatsoever. I really want good objects to circulate and being enjoyed by more people. It is less about accumulating and more about sharing. That makes me happy.
LJ: What will be the most special items available on Transnomadica and why?
MD: Evisu was originally called Evis. They lost a legal battle vs Levi’s and they were forced to drop that name so close to Levi’s. They added the letter “u” and all was fine. On the Transnomadica site we have some 15 pieces pre 2000 that are part of those early Evis collection. All of them are faded from raw and beautifully aged by wear and tear. Those are quite spectacular jeans.
LJ: What can we expect in the future from Transnomadica? Can other collectors, or re-sellers for example also sell their items via the platform?
MD: Phase 1 of Transnomadica is about presenting product by color story. We started with BLUE but it will follow by GREEN (military, camo, etc) and then KHAKI (and all natural colors), and so on. We have about 20 story that will accumulate over time. Phase2 will be about creating a real marketplace where collectors, re-sellers and any individual will be able to buy and sell from the site. However I will still want to own the curation of the assortment of it, so important as the essential base of this concept.
LJ: Is there something you want to share or highlight about the project?
MD: As all passion projects, the primary objective is survival. However I can clearly see how Transnomadica could become a destination for a lot more than just clothes. We are working hard toward that already.