5 Minutes With Marta Santambrogio

The Creative Design Head of Shingora lets us in on her design process, multi-tasking and what's the most stylish city in the world.

Meghna Sharma

Cosmo: What does a typical day look like in your life as the Creative Design Head at Shingora?Marta Santambrogio: "There's no such a thing as a typical day at Shingora! The collection is always evolving and we are busy with many multiple projects at once. But I like that! My main role is to interact with the design team, to pass on my inputs and/or review how they have interpreted them onto the product. Usually their work is impeccable in terms of craftsmanship, so I also like to challenge them to take it to the next level. We go over colours, fabrics, design inspirations, artworks, techniques, and embellishments, and my job is to ensure that it all falls under one cohesive creative vision."

C: Where do you draw your inspiration from? Can you describe your creative process to us?MS: "I always start from research and mood boards. I try to detect emerging trends that will be mature once the collection goes live (do not forget I start more than one year before!). That vision is then illustrated in mood boards, which feature photos, swatches, colour palettes, etc. This tool is key in taking the design team on board, and help them visualise what I have in mind. We then start mapping what products best fit into each particular group and we do a collection masterplan."

C: What is the most challenging part about your job?MS: "I would say time is my worst enemy. You see, what we do is handcrafted manufacturing, it is an actual product that results from complex processes, which take a minimum leading time. So, when in due course a new request from marketing comes in or a major technical issue crops up, the deadline for the collection, well, remains the same. So, someone in my role would have to quickly assess how to move forward so to meet the deadline. Even when this means compromising on innovation, taking less risks on new techniques, or neglecting time for perfecting all details, etcetera. For a creative person, this is painful."

C: Shingora, as a brand, offers something for everyone from a man to a woman to kids and even home... Who do you love designing for the most and why? MS: "I'll say something very predictable here: I just love designing! I believe there isn't a hierarchy…a well-designed product is universal!"

C: How would you recommend a Cosmo girl style her Shingora scarf? MS: "Cosmo girls are very dynamic. So, no need for much cerebral styling—just have it lose around the neck, your moves will create all the show effect you need!"

C: You don many hats—along with being the Creative Head for Shingora, you've founded a Design Studio and you're also a lecturer. How do you juggle all these roles? MS: "I'm a total multi-tasker, though it's becoming more challenging as I've just had a baby recently. But I have only one motto: it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Just keep going!"

C: What's your personal style like? And how would you incorporate a Shingora scarf in your look?MS: "I love colours and crafted textiles. So, I tend to wear one statement piece and work it on a canvas made of classics to get the balance right. I have many Shingora scarves and I pick one randomly, and take a look at how it plays with the outfit. Tonal? Contrast? Match…it always looks nice, I've never had to change till date!"

C: I'm sure you job takes you to many countries around the world...which country/city would you rate has the most stylish people? MS: "I tend to look past those with the most 'trendy outfits'. For me, it's just another uniform. I am attracted to misfits—people who can't be slotted or defined by trends, those who dare to try something different. Airports and London Underground are great places for such crowds…you'll find me there in my 'stalker mode' with my phone camera ready to shoot!"

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