/ "The Self Made Gentleman" was an art performance and the F/W 2013/2014 collection mood preview /

GianfrancoVillegas is a very young designer, based in Florence (Italy), where he also studied at Polimoda Fashion School and graduated this year, 2013. His passion for fashion, especially for menswear, started from the age of fourteen, by admiring with a big enthusiasm work by Raf Simons. In January 2012 his first year knitwear project ( a very colorful leggings for a very fat figure), has been chosen from the ex-Art Director of COMME des GARÇONS and Yohji Yamamoto, Marc Ascoli, as one of the main piece to build up the mood of a fashion event "Vestirsi da Uomo" during "PITTI UOMO 81". After that he started to collaborate with independent young artists and magazines around Europe. One of the collaboration was also with a young designer Erik Bjerkesion.
Beside that he is very focused on his newly established brand "Self Made" and he doesn´t want to put his person in a first plan (no publicity for his persona, but just to be concentrate on his work and label), he still discovered to me a bit of himself in my (so called) "personal questionnaire" in the first part, "Personal". Plus about what made him to establish a brand already after the BA, what about his recent work-collection, what are his present/future plans and much more in the second part, "Work".

I must add also and not in a diplomatic way (I am so not good in that), that I can predict that this is just a beginning of a new, fresh/modern-mixed well with classic talent.  A talent that is building strong shoulders, wings and it´s just a matter of time when he will rise.


‐ Who is Gianfranco Villegas?
A dreamer...

‐ What is your current state of mind?
Just trying to live day by day in the best and most clever way...

‐ What is your motto?
Till I collapse.

‐ What is your obsession?
My work and Perfection.

‐ Your last dream (during sleeping :) )?
I Can't remember :) I have a very short memory :)

‐ What is your best quality and what is your biggest weakness?
Determination and ambition.  My biggest weakness is that sometime I have no patience.

‐ Which talent would you most like to have?
Having huge patience and be more cold.

‐ What would you change about yourself?
This thing.

‐ What the word freedom means to you?
Being able to break the rules and forgot about the system and live without caring about anything and anyone.

‐ Best and worst memory?
My best memory was about during the show of my BA collection and the worst can't remember.

‐ In what occasion do you lie?
I don’t like to lie in general, so maybe I lie just when I don’t like some presents for my birthday, and I just smile and say thanks:)

‐ What turns you into become a fashion designer?
Feelings and personal revenge.

‐ What inspires you and what distracts you (turn you off) creatively?
Everything could inspire me, but in general contemporary Art is the most influential and my personal and past experiences are very strong inside of me.
My friends could distract me...

‐ How much does intuition play a part in the way that you work?
I think that intuition is one of the main things in my works.

‐ What do you think of the fashion system?
It’s all about money!!!

‐ Top 3 designers?
Raf Simons, Martin Margiela, Hedi Slimane

‐ What about new way of communication, like blogging?
I prefer to look at print magazines, It's less "Fast fashion".

‐ Do you follow any blog?

‐ Top 3 magazines?
Wad magazine, Arena Homme Plus, Dazed&Confused

‐ What is your personal style and who do you mostly wear?
Elegant, street, simple and comfortable.
Margiela and Damir Doma.

‐ Your Top 5 essentials?
A simple T-shirt, comfortable black pants, black jacket, gel and boots or sneakers.

‐ Best movie, track, album, exhibition or event?
I loved the latest film of Ennio Morricone "The best offer". I loved the latest album of Jayz and the latest exhibition was a live contemporary art performance during the latest "Frieze"art fair in London.

‐ Is there anything you would like to add, make a point to, that we didn´t?
Mmm, I don’t think so.


‐ You are now in the phase of an after graduation and into making/establishing your own brand under the name "Self Made". Fashion, in general, is full of different brands. What made you to take a decision to establish your own brand and not, for example, to work (at least a few years) as a designer in any of big brands? It´s quite risky, but brave decision. Describe, please, the process of making a brand. How to start, especially if you don´t have a strong financial background? Why the name of "Self Made", it´s because that everything comes from under your hands?

It’s quite strange and funny how everything is started and it´s keep going on, because everything starts casually!!! And this project wasn't planned but I just took an opportunity that they offered me. And so right now let’s see how things will come up. I know I’m still too young but let’s see!
Everything has to start with no worries and lots of ambition and energy. I think at the beginning you have to find people who can trust you and support you and someone who can be a guide for you and then just work hard and wait.
Yes that’s a big problem, because as I told you before everything now are all about money!!!  
That brand's name is because the entire project and my first collection have been inspired from my personal life. I can totally defined myself as a "Self Made", I always worked hard since I was 15 and I'm proud of it cause my personality now is totally been influenced from that. And my latest and first collection has been totally autobiographical.

/ below: photos from his BA collection presentation /

‐ If there is a student or anyone that would like to establish his/hers own brand, what would you suggest? I guess that there are many difficulties. Could you already tell him/her which things to avoid or do it in a different way?

Take the risk only if you really believe in it! I’m really not in the position to give advice, because I’m still a baby as well in this world. I am only able to say that It's not easy to find people who can trust you, but they will contact you only when they will see that you are already cool or interesting. You have to be very strong and determinate.

‐ At the beginning you were re‐interpreting with your own vision of a dandy man, now it seems to be more sporty‐urban inspired. How would you describe your aesthetic as a designer?

Because even if I design more punk or dark garments or baby clothes, I always like to start from one thing, elegance, suits, blazers  and then everything will change as my new inspiration or feelings want. That’s why my latest collection is more sporty and urban, because it’s totally autobiographical and I started from elegance and suit, but then I've been inspired from more sporty and ghetto things and I realized what you have seen.
In general I always try to build something different, "strange" but at the same time always elegant. I love to spend a lot of time on fabric's research and play with fabrics.
I am obsessed of details, clean and handmade finishing. I love to mix very innovative and strangest materials with the finest and luxury materials.

/ video presentetion of his F/W 2012/2013 collection "La nostra razza" ("Our race") /

‐ Beside that you are really young designer and in the beginning of your career, you already had a one year experience as a designer for the brand "Erik Bjerkesjo". Could you describe that experience? Did that experience influenced in your recent, future work and aesthetic?

It was very intense and interesting. I could say yes because from the beginning mine and Erik's taste was similar.

‐ After I saw your video “The Self made Gentleman” (the video is on the top of this post) I realize that you have a strong connection to the art, the performance combined with designing. Tell me more about it.

I love art and I tried to experiment some strange ways of drawing as one of my inspirations in the latest collection.  I`ve been also inspired by the crazy "Gutai" artistic movement and besides making clothes, I also love to express my personal feelings trough the art and so my illustrations are, very personal.

‐ Could you please describe your work process (the process of building one collection)? And what is the best and the worst part of your work process? Do you have any person, muse that inspires you while making a collection? Is there any ritual?

First I try to look for the thing that makes me more excited, happy, sad in that period, then I start to sketch and study my research carefully.  After that is a turn for fabrics and prototypes. The most important thing is the hard work and the love for things you are doing. For example in my case,  I always made everything by myself, since the first year at Polimoda fashion school and till the BA collection; even the shoes! My biggest muse is my mother...

‐ From the start you did and still do menswear. Why is that? Someone would find easier to start with womenswear(due that the fashion economy is made mostly by women as customers). Do you have any (future) plans to do womenswear too?

That´s why because I started to love fashion by following menswear, like Raf Simons etc... And I’m always interested on menswear.
About doing womenswear …who knows, that could be a new experience.  I will see!

‐ Could you describe what kind of materials and techniques you use while making a new garment, new collection? Where your collection is/or will be produced? Do you collaborate with local artisans?

I love to experiment a lot, using unusual techniques, unusual materials. Like the very rare handmade material that you can find on the Islands of the Philippines, made by a handmade silk and pineapple fibers!
Everything is totally produced and handmade in Tuscany. Yes, I like to work with people who I really trust, because I’m obsessed with the perfection.

‐ Will your brand, from the start, include shoes and accessories?

For this season I think that I’m not going to produce any accessories, but just to be focused on garments and the main pieces of the fashion show. Otherwise I'm definitely looking forward to produce accessories for my future works, trough collaborations. I especially love shoes and to design them.

‐ Does "Self Made" have a signature look? And if yes, could you please describe it? What makes your
brand, aesthetic unique?

I think that Self Made has his strong signature in the strong and very detailed garments. Nothing is simple, but everything is carefully studied and hand made. You can see from the each garment that is not commercial and cheap, but "Self Made".
The thing that could make my aesthetic unique is my obsession on details and perfection, that’s why I try even on a simple pair of shorts to give something unique and new, with a luxury finishing.

‐ Who you imagine is your customer? How much influence on your vision and your work has your

Someone who wants to look different, who love high quality garments and really love fashion. I hate fashionistas or fashion addict people. I hate them! I just try to offer something different and then we will see!

/ the "mood board" of his his F/W 2013/2014 (BA) collection /

‐ Tell me about your last collection, F/W 2014, that is also your BA collection? What is the red line of the collection? Where is the inspiration point?

The designer was inspired from his own life, his own struggle and his origins. I tried to mix the Italian elegance with the very strong, aggressive sports-street/hip hop style of the poor ghetto of the Philippines. This is why, I carefully selected materials like silk, silk-wool as well as technical materials-usually seen in sportswear - are vivid in this collection. You can also see silk with pineapple fibers, a material considered as very rare with the origin from the island of The Philippines. Classical suits, jackets and shirts worn with basketball shorts, flip flops, and basketball tank-tops or bombers. Particular prints have also been used for some clothes, featuring collages of many images, resembling the poor people of my home country.

‐ Your favorite piece from that collection and why is that?

The printed bomber jacket, because is reversible and contains the main theme of the collection, that´s a strong image, making a strong print. At at the same time in the reversible side everything is clean and luxury and elegant, because it’s totally black and made of pure wool mixed with pure silk.

/ below: F/W 2013/2014 (BA) collection lookbook /

- Your F/W 2013/2014 collection is also your BA collection. Now that you established your own brand, will you add some pieces to this collection or will remain at this number of pieces?

I’m now trying to add more pieces and they will come up when my first pieces will be available in my online store. The pieces that I am going to add will have the same feelings and details of my BA collection. Just stay tuned on my profile. Now I’m still working a lot on the fabric research, new colors combination and new prints. 

‐ For now you promote your aesthetic through some fashion shows, photos, videos. What you should do more? What are your plans? Bigger runway shows? Showrooms?

Stay tuned and you will see!!! ;)

‐ Do you already know if there will be an online shop soon? Beside that where we can find the brand? What are your plans on how to expand the brand?

Yes actually "Self Made" is made and it’s in exclusive for the online store of Not Just a Label ( ) and then will see and for the moment check my profile into it and some garments will be available in a month!!!

‐ What is next? And how you see your brand in ten years (2023)?

Again, stay tuned and let's see!!! :)

/ Photos and videos courtesy of Self Made - Gianfranco Villegas /


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