As Michael Zoffranieri prepares to show his next collection for his signature label ZOFF, we had an opportunity to sit down with him and chat about his work and advice for other aspiring designers.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Michael Zoffranieri, and I am a storyteller. I get to tell the stories of the women around me, and my own personal journey, through the medium of fashion.
2. Tell us a little about your work.
My work is entered around superb tailoring, fine textiles, and detailed hand work like appliqué and embroidery. I choose to share a modern silhouette, paired with heritage craft work: I value detail and well made garments.
3. What was the inspiration behind this collection?
Spring 18 and Bridal 18 are inspired by perseverance, and finding the “Fire Within” (or Fuoco Dentro in Italian). As a creative person, I feel like this is such an important topic. In order to keep going, you need to believe in yourself, and work away each day. Even if it seems so distant, the spark inside will keep you going. I believe that every person has this spark, and it’s up to its owner to crank up the dial every now and again.
4. What 3 words would you use to describe your work?
Tailored. Embracing. Glisten.
5. Tell us about the Canadian aspects of your work.
The garments are designed, and manufactured in Toronto, at my studio within the Toronto Fashion Incubator. Inspired by my Italian-Canadian heritage, and created using modern sewing methods and heritage handwork.
6. What motivates you?
The women I get to dress, and that I have the privilege of knowing.
7. What do you find most challenging about operating your own business? What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs?
Keeping up with the bookkeeping and project managing. As a small business owner, I need to manage my own work, as well as contractors’ projects. Creating deadlines, and allowing for some wiggle room is important. Fill out your books with every receipt. Make note of HST paid and received. And make sure you follow up with payments from or for contractors.
8. What has been your most fulfilling experience so far?
Being able to go to my studio on a seemingly normal morning, have an espresso (which I make myself, in-house), and then tackle the projects at hand. I find little moments of joy make me the most happy.
9. What are you currently Reading? Watching? Listening to?
Reading: Sherlock Holmes (a selection of short stories)
Watching: Suits (catching up on last season… Love me some Gina Torres), Broad City, and of course Sex and the City here and there.
Listening to: Gaga, Solange, Bowie, Lizzo, Nina Simone
10.What does “style” mean to you?
Being able to wake up and put on what feels perfect for that moment. Style is being present.
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