There’s something exquisitely Italian about Marco Campomaggi’s collection. When you look at one of the unique, distressed leather handbags, you can almost smell the quality and can sense just how passionate the designer is about the process.
I am fascinated by those objects that give me the opportunity to express my creativity,” Marco says. “I have started to produce bags because they are made in leather, and leather is one of those materials that I define as ‘alive’, meaning that it can be shaped and modified without really changing it. It’s a material that requires respect for its own nature and its own way.”
Marco was first inspired by the creativity of his father, a sculptor, and in his teens discovered his skill at the practical elements of design, as well as his sense of aesthetics and what he calls a “concrete spirit bond to the earth”. His first bags were crafted for fun, but it wasn’t long before he began selling his saddle leather and metal stud creations to schoolmates. This first seed of inspiration eventually led to the birth of the Campomaggi brand in 1990.
When it comes to his own fashion tastes, Marco chooses to purchase anonymous items – army surplus or workers’ clothing – and it’s this message of defiance against that which is merely fashionable because enough people say so, without any real individuality, that Marco tries to transmit through his work. Each creation is born first in his head, and then matures to take a form and a basic design.
He then collaborates with other ‘creatives’, considering the best materials, treatments and prints that are required and beginning the work that brings each piece to life. The method of production is detailed, using cow hide leather in its natural colour, washed in barrels containing specially selected vegetable dye and without any use of chrome. This ‘piece-dying’ technique allows for the vintage look of each handbag, which is then personalised with the Campomaggi logo and leather plate, with studs and rivets that show the symbol of a fish, as a reference to the designer’s birth sign.
The Campomaggi philosophy – “time passing by doesn’t take away; it enhances” – is present in each of the designer’s creations. The products get better with age, just as age actually adds to their value. The result? A beautiful, hand-crafted bag that will mature like a fine Italian wine.