Minimal To photographed by RoccoToscani

“The Minimalists are idealist”.These are words by Agnes Martin, one of the greatest exponents of Minimalism (although she did not like to be defined like that).

The three guys of the emerging brand Minimal To surely think the famous American artist was right. We had it confirmed as we started to talk with them.  Danila Olivieri, Stefano Sberze and Elisa Mazza are idealists, but of the new Millennium. Theirs is a disillusioned idealism: to dreams they prefer certainties. Their ideas take shapes in timeless items: essential, sophisticated, rigorous and fresh together. In 2008, they meet at IED, where they study and graduate. In 2011 they meet again in Turin, where they decide to join forces and personal hopes for a common project.

Minimal To was born from  the unceasing observation of the changing society, the creative boost to the birth of their collections. The colors are dark, abyssal. The lines clean. The craftsmanship impeccable. Natural and technicians fabrics are shaped in a radiantly surrealist atmosphere in which it is possible to play according to absolutely personal rules. Rules free from conventions and vigorously concrete yet because, as they themselves told us: “We believe in fashion without fashion, we study needs, not trends”.


Fucking Young! – Welcome Guys! Let’s start with your background and how you came to melt your intents to create Minimal To…

Danila Olivieri – Ours is a S.N.C, we all have the same responsibilities. Besides being fashion designers, we are entrepreneurstoo. The story is funny, original. We met in Milan, at IED. We come from three different regions: I’m from Molise, Stefano from Veneto, Elisafrom Piedmont. Three different places, three different cultures. We got along with each other at university, then each of us chose to follow different ambitions. After graduating, I went to London because it was an experience I had been longing for some time. I was in the British capital for eight months working with two different Maisons: Boudicca and House of Holland, two well-known although niche realities. However, being confined in a studio was not what I really wanted. I started to explore other possibilities and studied Costume. This has allowed me to enter the circuit of thosemovie productions that I am following even now and that allow me to have some guaranteed income in a time when our company is still investing. It was one of these productions that brought me in Turin where I met Elisa again. She had already createdMinimal To with a two-dimensional, more familiar connotation. We had a confrontation, talked about and then  I took over: the project has gradually started to grow. Meanwhile, Stefano as well, who were collaborating with some style offices of major brands (from John Richmond to Alberta Ferretti), was bored with some of the internal mechanisms of his work. When the idea began to take shape he immediately decided to be one of us. To join us, that’s a common goal. We are completely different from one another but we share the same way to see things, the same taste. In our team, there is no leader.


FY! – You provide us with the  opportunity to ask you in what way you manage to collaborate. What are the pros and cons of working together?

DO – Thanks to the fact that we tend to be on the same wavelength we all understand that even if one of us, on a given occasion, is not in agreement on a point he/she must put aside his/her point of view because it is necessary to decide. Up to now we have always been able to do that. Sure, there are moments of tension but we always succeed in lessening them and those that appear as problems are no longer problems the coming day.

Stefano Sberze – The debate helps in both the creative process and the final choices. Ours are three different points of view able to converge in the same direction.

DO – In contrast, it must be said that not always democracy works.

SS – However, three is better than two!

DO – Of course, this helps. If we had been two it would have been harder; the third one becomes the balance needle when two different ideas fail to converge. It must be said that we never made ​​a decision which is unsatisfactory for even one of us. At that point, we prefer to find another solution.

SS – Very often the creative process happens to become quite long. If I could stay in the studio to draw all the time it would be perfect but, instead, it is necessary to find a moment to discuss and understand together if the thing we are creating is the right one.


FY! – Which are the roles of each of you within the company?

DO – The fact that each of us has different characteristics and propensities facilitates the tasks division. If everyone had wanted to do the same thing it would not have been so simple and certainly we would not be here to talk about it two years later. Stefano has an innate passion for the creative phase: design, idea, etc.

SS – I’d say the embryonic part of a project.

DO – As I told you, there’s a constant debate but that’s him who is responsible for that part of the work. Elisa deals with the economic/administrative part, which is crucial especially today.

SS – Ours is a growing reality and as it gets bigger and bigger both the responsibilities and the commitments increase.

DO – Besides being a mediator, I take care of the communication, social, image aspects. The tasks division helps us because we can collaborate and interact in the best possible way.


FY! – How would you define Minimal To?

DO – It’s always complicated to find a couple of adjectives that define your work.

SS – It may seem simplistic. The original idea was to have a clean, good quality product so as to embrace a slice of the market linked not only to thefashion environment. Of course, the price is not affordable for everyone, also considering the production costs, but the items are easily adaptable.

DO –  Certainly prices are not affordable for everyone. Anyway we try, as far as possible, to keep them controlled. What we are working on is not so much the trend of the moment but rather the need to create pieces that manage to be timeless. We work a lot on the wearability, the quality of the products, the physicality. This takes time. The style is created by itself, we are starting to realize that now, after two years. In spite of ourselves, some things come back and the trademark becomes unmistakable.


FY! – We touched on the economic and production costs. What does  producing in Italy the authentic made in Italy mean for a young company?

DO – Anything we use is Italian. Ours is a philosophy. However, to be more practical and speaking about fabrics, we can define ourselves as intransigent. We can’t use fabrics that are not Italian: natural and high range. The same concept is for manufacturing.

SS – I admit that our products would have the same quality even if they were made ​​abroad. Ours is more a principle to be pursued. We know that in Italy confection is expensive but we have chosen to take this direction.

DO – Confection costs because there are a number of aspects that must be considered, starting from the manpower. Not having to produce large quantities we can’t amortize the costs. We know that the more you produce the less you pay but it is not our case. It must be said that our product requires extreme attention to details. Ours are refined items that have access to large retailers unlikely.

SS – It is a totally Italian reality the one you are speaking of. There are few boutiques that invest in research today. Even those that did it, today find themselves with very commercial brands. We have to look beyond and project ourselves towards the foreign market.


FY! – What would the foreign market in which you’d feel strongest be, maybe the East?

DO – We are already selling well in China and we hope that this direct line to the Eastern countries becomes stronger and stronger. That’s important from a technical standpoint too. Working with foreign countries also means, to some extent, to amortize the costs of production we mentioned. Our commercial agent – who is able to sell our brand really well and to whom we have asked to direct his efforts in that direction – knows it well. The foreign buyers pay in advance. This does not happen in Italy where payments can be made even after a year. Here, we are forced to do a more accurate selection, rely on regular and reliable customers. We regret, we hope things change.


FY! – Minimal To starts as a women’s fashion brand and only two years later it moves to the unisex and men universe. When did this only hinted veer occur and why?

DO – Basically because we started to get a lot of requests from guys. Soon we realized that with just a few modifications some of our pieces could have been suitable for men as well. Ours is more a unisex than a masculine world.

SS – It has been a spontaneous process. For me, a personal need. Of course, at the moment it is still a small part of production, and all the man’s items are absolutely unisex: with a fit working for both sexes.

DO – Then, it comes to please friends but, at the same time, it opens the doors to a new and important market.

SS – Recently, the men’s sector is experiencing a more interesting moment than the women’s. There is a lot of research and commitment to innovation.


FY! – For next season, have  you planned to increase the number of man/unisex items or they will be present in a limited numberagain?

SS – Talking about numbers, the collection that will be presented in a few days for the SS15 has grownfor the woman and consequently for the man too. From tenwe have passed to fifteen pieces, there will be also outerwear.

DO – Outerwear and accessories too. Our adventure in the male universe was born in an unexpected way, a bit for fun.

SS – Indeed, none of us was born as a man designer.

DO – Some items were and are suitable to this unisex function. Our taste follow a transverse direction, not tied to the Italian tradition. The Made in Italy today can’t and should not be conceived as the classic 80s’ outfit anymore but rather as a process synonymous with quality. Society has changed and is changing. We are a melting pot of different cultures and influences coming from both the north and the south of the world. Minimal To is the result of an generational evolution with a strong point: quality made in Italy. We need to experience the world, we are its sons.

SS – Exactly. You just have to sit at your desk and open a computer to find different inspirations without the need to visit the cities or walk down the street. The same people that you attend in your daily life can influence your work.

DO – Basically, our items are the result of an elaboration process, also of our previous works. There must be a constant evolution.


FY! – Let’s get into your FW14-15. Antiviral is a collection-antidote to preserve the individual identity by escaping the external contamination of the contemporary world. The shapes recall a subtle Amish taste both in the lines and in the volumes. The clear structures exalt the use of the materials. Technical fabrics are alternated with natural ones. Do you want to talk about?

DO – Each collection was born with a funny mood that tries to be ironic about the society and the times we live. Antiviral starts from the desire not to be contaminated by external factors too much. It is an antidote to the contamination and the standardization. This idea has inspired the entire collection, starting from the prints that hide microscope slides in which hundreds of viruses nestled: they are visible, for example, on the t-shirt. We never like to be too explicit. We do not like the prints making you immediately understand what they represent. We look for an inspiration that becomes a print which must in its turn provide a certain kind of impact. As for the colours, we have a hard time getting out of black. We appreciate the dusty colors, not well defined. However, in this case we have also used a 90s’ taste  burgundy and a lemon yellow.

SS – The entire collection has undergone a long and difficult process of creation. First of all, just the colours. The yellow has been a matter for discussion because our choice was not immediately understood. The correct tone identified, we saw that it worked. The collection started as total black and we wanted maintain abasic mood. Then they came burgundy, military green, white and yellow of course. The absolute innovation for this FW is the knitwear we did not do before. The materials range from the twill mohair combined with nylon and screen-printedplissé. We have tried to combine natural and technical fabrics.


FY! – Guys, how do you see yourselves, and especially Minimal To, in ten years?

DO – Usually we try not to look too far ahead, in the sense that we try to work day by day while taking one step at a time. I do not know what will be there ahead, surely the same passion we put into what we do today. Nothing is certain. It is as in a collection. You think to create something but, at the end, the result is always different and unexpected. Making predictions is a bit risky.

SS –We would certainly like to keep on doing what we’re doing, while growing and improving as much as possible. Fingers crossed, now things are going well and we hope they continue to go even better.

DO – The fact we are in a phase of growth does not allow us to focus on “where we would like to go” but rather on living this moment and riding the wave. Day by day we face the growth and understand what is getting on. The way you work changes. Your problems change. You yourself change as well.

SS – We must always keep our feet on the ground.

DO – Absolutely. We never tell bravo to each other, we never  dispense compliments because we try to build a sort of armor. We want to live without illusions, we are disillusioned. It is a kind of protection.

SS – In fact, usually when the disappointments arrive we are already prepared.

DO – Enthusiasm is fundamental but it can be dangerous, it’s better to be careful. You can be excited for a minute but then it is the case to get back to reality.

SS – A concrete confirmation should arrive before you are enthusiastic!


FY! – As usual, the last question… What is really FUCKING YOUNG! for you guys?

DO – A timeless fashion.

You can see Minimal To FW14 Collection here!