Life And Style Lessons From Italy’s Lockdown, To Help Us All Keep Our Spirits Up

How fashion industry insiders are staying positive in one of Europe's worst-hit countries.

italy lockdown

by Natalie Hammond |
Updated on

Those growing bored and despondent after three weeks of quarantine in the UK would do well to look to Italy where the country has been battling with Covid-19 since its first diagnosis on 20th February. It now seems like a lifetime ago when Giorgio Armani cancelled his show just as coronavirus was escalating in Italy during Milan Fashion Week, with the government announcing school closures just days later on March 4.

Since then, the country has not only entered a total government mandated lockdown, but watched its key industries ground to a halt, with the fashion industry among those hardest hit. But it's not all doom and gloom, amidst the chaos. Many in Italy's fashion community have found a silver lining. Here, they share the lessons they've learned on how how to survive the lockdown long-haul.

SEE: What Italy's Creatives Have Learnt from Lockdown


What Italy's Creatives Have Learnt from Lockdown

JJ Martin1 of 11

JJ Martin, founder of LaDoubleJ

'It's really easy to get overwhelmed at the moment. Although many of us in Italy are completely shut down, as is most of my company, I am on high-alert and constantly managing the situation and it's a lot! I think it has really helped me to limit reading the mass media right now as I find it dramatic, damning and out of synch with the values I'm trying to cultivate such as curiosity, awakening, compassion, and solutions (I check the headlines once a day on The New York Times and that's it). Personally, I think this is an opportunity for all of us to develop a better relationship with ourselves, and with the cold reality of our own inner experience. The more we practice getting closer to our own discomfort without falling over, the bigger internal muscles we develop in our own hearts. I start and end every day in my meditation room with a gentle yoga practice during which I try to listen, accept and slowly move inward. I'm also tuning in regularly to the messages from the Mamos, spiritual leaders of an indigenous community in Colombia. Isn't technology amazing to connect all of us? I am also recording my own meditations and sending them to friends. Our strength, resilience and intuition all begin to grow and we can then share this luminosity with others. This is a moment for going inwards and truly tending to the only garden that counts right now: your own. Music helps too! Aside from some wild outbursts with Kool & the Gang, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder, during which I danced like a maniac in my socks all by myself in my Milanese terrazza entry way (socks + terrazza pavement = DANCE MOVE HEAVEN), I've been listening to a lot of yoga music. Even when I'm not doing yoga, these tangy vibrations seem to be just the right frequency for my head and heart.'

Umberto De Marco2 of 11

Umberto De Marco, founder of Yatay

'This time working remotely has allowed me and my team more time to reflect and focus on what we stand for, and think about creative ways to express that. It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of running a business. With much of that on hold at the moment, it's allowed us more time to brainstorm new ideas and we've already come up with a new tech concept for our new shoe launching in the winter. Of course, people are not looking to buy much at the moment, but we're hoping that we'll soon see a small bounce in online shopping, as being at home begins to become the new normal for people...In the meantime though, we're going to be adjusting our marketing and social media, talking more about our brand story, through behind-the-scenes video, and content collaborations with artists and creatives. The aim is to keep Yatay and our ethos in people's minds, even if we're not selling to them.'

Fabrizio Viti3 of 11

Fabrizio Viti, founder of Fabrizio Viti

'It is a sad and gloomy view to think of the empty factories of Veneto or streets of Milano. But this forced lockdown has also made us rethink why we do what we do in the first place; it is an opportunity to realign with our core values that luxury is about slow, beautifully crafted products and not the fast fashion pace that we had been following lately.If there is a positive aspect in all this it is the reminder of how important it is to be independent creatively in work and in everyday life.'

Eleonora Carisi4 of 11

Eleonora Carisi, influencer and co-founder of Grumble Creative

'Because now the world has [confronted us] with the truth of our precariousness as human beings on this earth, we have the moral duty to continue to be people who have a value, who value. We must be an example, we must remember what we have, the luck we have, and to pay attention to the gestures we demonstrate. This could be a period of total chaos and complete anarchy: we have gone from bullying to being bullied, from marginalising others to being marginalised. Therefore, let's not forget that gestures - towards ourselves and towards others - are worth a thousand words.'

Alessandra Bertuzi5 of 11

Alessandra Bertuzi, creative director of La Perla

'In these quiet days of frantic madness, I keep dreaming, imagining, drawing...I keep reading and watching love films. I keep thinking about who or what inspires me for future collections.Life goes on with our memories, with our desires, with our fears. I keep smiling, knowing that the madness will end.'

Erika Boldrin6 of 11

Erika Boldrin, influencer and founder of Honeih

'I'm always doing something. If you stop and start thinking maybe anxiety [will come]. I'm vegan and love to find new recipes of 'veganize' traditional Italian recipes such as lasagne or pizza. [Something] I do everyday is a beauty routine. I'm travelling less and have time to devote myself to making masks and doing facial massages. I follow them on @honiehbeauty while listening to good music.'

Margherita Cardelli7 of 11
CREDIT: @garconjon/Jonathan Daniel Pryce

Margherita Cardelli, co-founder of Giuliva Heritage

'[Myself and Gerardo] dress up every day and dress our daughter up too. It is a way to stand up for our values that definitely are not going to be put aside because of the virus. Rather, they are felt even stronger. So we dress up and we start our day at home all together. We keep the same rules we had before, we are adjusting in a new house and having more formal meals because we love our space. We haven't changed our routine as [much as] we are committed to sticking to our life as it was before. I love a routine - I train, I dress up, I cook, and I read. I am doing more things than ever.We also take positivity from the pure love of simple things that is usually lost in a fast and frantic life. I have never felt so continuously happy in my life before. We are so grateful for what life gave us, it is such a blessing. Aida Atena is bringing us back to when we were children, when you needed nothing more than looking around to smile and experience happiness.'

Guido Conti Caponi8 of 11

Guido Conti Caponi, Chief Operating Officer at Loretta Caponi

'When we found ourselves in lockdown here in Italy, there was a point when production could still go on, but of course with the uncertainty of the date we would have to completely close. Within this time, we experienced how amazingly well the old and new generation of our atelier worked together as a team to complete the orders we had to deliver on time. Despite the extraordinary difficulties we are all faced with in the current situation, it was a marvelous demonstration of the unity of a team and how together you can achieve unexpected goals.It has also been a pleasure to rediscover the value of time; from the time to cook or read a book, to taking the time for ourselves, our thoughts, ideas and aspirations. As Einstein said, 'In the midst of difficulties, the opportunity lies'.'

Antonine Peduzzi and Luisa Orsini9 of 11

Antonine Peduzzi and Luisa Orsini, co-founders of TL 180

'We are trying to take the positives from living through quarantine. We are making the most of the time and mental space it offers to welcome new ideas or simply find old ones. Everything usually moves at such a fast pace, so taking the time to work things out, and to do them well, is rarely allowed at the usual rhythm of daily life.It's also a time for craftsmanship. We can finally take a step back to learn how to make the perfect cake we remember from childhood or take ballet lessons every day to become a star dancer. Painting, drawing, making collages, reading aloud, daydreaming...taking the time to take our time.In a way, we are living through quarantine as a kind of return to the home-made aspects of life in the 19th century.'

Legres10 of 11


'Everything has two sides. Even though with the lockdown of Italy we are facing challenges with reorganising production and delivering within the season, we [have] got time to re-strategise our next steps.'

Caterina Negra11 of 11

Caterina Negra, creative director at Pinko

'The beauty of fashion is that you can always change your look according to your mood or any activity you have planned. Keeping active is important during this time and scheduling your day to alternate between work, fitness, healthy cooking and decluttering can help you feel comfortable and stay positive.Planning the day, even changing looks more than once, can be a great way to keep your morale and mood high - from waking up in a cosy look, to a more formal look for a Skype meeting or an athleisure look for yoga in the living room followed by an hour with friends on Houseparty. Feeling good and taking time to care for yourself is important, especially in these days when stress and letting ourselves go are prevalent.Pinko remains close to its customers and teams in Italy and around the world, continuously updating our e-commerce and social channels to encourage interaction. We keep sharing stories, inspirations and the contribution of our #PinkoStars to make this moment a little lighter.'

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