An Italian Graphic Designer in Australia
Growing up in Varese, Federico Maccapani knew he probably wanted to live outside of Italy one day, but as he played with his cousins around their textile factory and attended their fashion shows, he had no idea just how far that dream would take him. A passion for graphic design led to a degree at the Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan and from there a chance encounter ended with a plane ticket to Sydney, Australia. Today, as the Creative Director at fashion brand Perfect Persuasion and a graphic design freelancer, he lives about as far away from Italy as one can imagine, while still turning his native Italian creativity into international success.
After studying design in Milan and getting started in the industry, you decided to move to Australia. What was behind this decision?
The main reason behind my choice was because of my fiancée. She is Australian and I met her while she was working in Milan and I was finishing my studies. We fell in love straight away, got engaged a few months later, and decided to leave everything to start a new life. I’ve always wanted to live and work outside of Italy, but I never thought that I was going to move that far. I’m glad I did; Australia is a truly remarkable country.
Did being an Italian designer help you start your career in Australia or did it lead to certain challenges?
The cool thing about being an Italian graphic designer living in Sydney is that, from what my clients say, my style is pretty different from what they are used to seeing everyday, so this has helped me to stand out a little bit and be unique.
The Perfect Persuasion collection is your project that has received most exposure. How do you feel about that?
When I started working with Perfect Persuasion they chose to write my name under their logo to express that the entire collection is fully directed by me, from the graphics, to fit, choice of material, details and everything about it. This gave me a lot of responsibilities but also a lot of motivation to work hard for people who believe in my potential.
Perfect Persuasion is an Italian brand but you can definitely see some Australian wildness in your designs. What was the inspiration behind the collection?
Australia is such an amazing country, especially the city where I live, Sydney. You can be busy and be in the center of the city one minute, then five minutes later skateboarding along the beach. You can really see a lot of beautiful elements just walking around, for example the Botanical Gardens is an incredible place to feed your mind. If you noticed the wildness of Australia in the Spring/Summer 2014 collection, you will actually feel as if you’re in the land down under in the Fall/Winter 2014 collection, but for the moment I can’t say anything more…
Your previous work consists mainly in digital art and graphic design. In what way is it similar or different to working in fashion?
Being a graphic designer – that’s mainly what I consider myself to be – is a very busy life, especially if you work as a freelancer. Everyday I work on 4 or 5 different projects at the same time for clients in different parts of the world and in different time zones. Styles are different, but graphic design has trends as much as fashion does. Every morning I spend at least two hours surfing the web, looking at different blogs and websites ranging from design to sneakers, fashion, music, art, events and technology. All of these categories belong to a beautiful world made by creatives.
In the collection that I designed you can really see a lot of graphic design, from patterns to specular images and a lot of layers mixed together to create a story. So in the end I really think that being a graphic designer is not that different from being a fashion designer, the key element is the creativity.
Can you tell us something about your tattoos? Did you design any of them?
I’ve always liked tattoos. I got my first one in Rome when I was 16 and from that moment on I knew I was in “trouble” forever. Getting inked is really an addiction, you always want more and more. I really like the classic style with bold lines, only a few colors and gradients, but I also like to use the same style applied to unconventional subjects. I designed most of them myself and when people ask me how many I have it’s always a problem to answer because I’ve lost count, but I reckon I have over 50 … The last two I got in Sydney are the face of my cat Emma and Cookie Monster (yes, the blue fluffy one, it’s nuts ahah).