Normally here at FOLK, brands we are lucky enough to get to know and work with are American made and owned. However, the maker movement is a global phenomenon, and people from all over the globe are learning to start their own businesses and to buy from other small makers. We sat down with Alice Peretti & Alida Merlin, of Italian company Free Chant to learn more.
WHO ARE YOU /BRAND /HOW MANY
We are two girls (Alice Peretti / Alida Merlini) born in the north of Italy, where we launched a clothing brand called Free Chant.
WHAT DO YOU DO
Our mission is to design pieces that combine the colorful vibrancy of Indian textiles with the high quality of Italian production. Our lines are simple; they call to women who want to wear something comfortable, produced at slow pace and in full respect of the environment and the local communities of artisans. In each garment, we mix fabrics hand-printed with natural dyes and wooden blocks in Bagru to fabrics hand-loomed by the precious hands of the women of Maheshwar. We design clothes and scarves that we would wear every day, simple, but with a twist. Sometimes we dare a little, too. We combine colors and textures (cotton and silk are an exciting mix in some of our pieces), we work closely with our fantastic team in Italy and follow each step. We have been lucky. During our journey, we’ve met very talented people who appreciate what we do and are doing their best to help us realize what we had in mind. Now we hope that our pieces will be part of other women’s journey, too. Each garment carries a story that has deep roots in ancient crafts and that we want you to continue. Somehow, each dress is like a book… It’s a vessel of magic worlds to which you can give a new meaning and existence.
WHY BE A MAKER/SUPPORT MAKERS/MAIN STREET
Being a maker not only means to make “things”, it also means to make your dreams (big or small) come true. It takes effort, but somehow it all comes natural. It’s like if you were born to do exactly what you are doing. Both Alida and I worked in big corporations, and it was great. Without the skills developed during those experiences, we probably wouldn’t be here now. But working for ourselves is adventurous! And how exciting!
In my life, I’ve met dozens of people with brilliant ideas about new products, better services, etc. However, for different reasons, it happens very often that these remain only ideas. A maker is a special person; she’s the bridge between individual ideas and tangible products that can make a difference to other people’s lives.
We come from a country where there are lots of small and independent businesses/boutiques/makers that are struggling due to globalization. Sadly, our city centers have all started to look like one another. When we find an independent boutique that sells something unique, our hearts burst! Preserving small businesses is vital to creativity. Each maker can be inspirational for another.
We take pride in being a small company and having put together a group of extremely talented people who keep the dream alive.
Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook: @freechant