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It would take a whole biography to truly tell the journey of Giuseppe De Giosa.

Born in Italy on May 17, 1951, Giuseppe—who goes by Pino—is a collector of many wondrous art and culture pieces. This interest was spurred by his impressive career in banking, as over the years, his travels abroad developed his appreciation for the creative arts.

In every country he visited, he would grow an interest in the relevant history and for their antique and contemporary paintings, sculptures, furniture, artefacts, and more.

In 1990, he was posted as Deputy General Manager to his bank’s Singapore branch, which is where his tale with this country begins, but certainly not where it ends.

Bolstered by his interests, Pino went on to establish DEGIOSART in 2010, a Singapore-based company dealing in art, artifacts, antiques, and vintage European and Asian furniture. This company was sold in 2019. 

Image Credit: DGA Threads

But Pino is actually still a business owner now. He runs a fashion brand in Singapore by the name of DGA Threads, featuring modern clothing inspired by traditional Japanese fabrics. Here’s the story of how this brand came to be.

The start of the threads

As an Italian banker in managerial and executive roles, Pino has always been well-dressed, with carefully chosen suits, shirts, ties, winter coats, and shoes.

“Having immersed myself in the intricacies of the banking sector, I discovered a latent passion for design and aesthetics being a part of me,” he said.

In the last decade specifically, Pino has developed a profound interest in antique and old fabrics, with a particular fascination for Japanese vintage kimono fabrics. These fabrics are not just textiles; they encapsulate a rich cultural heritage and timeless artistry. 

Image Credit: DGA Threads

“After retiring, I revisited a box filled with these precious textiles and came across a beautiful kimono, stained by time,” he shared.

Out of curiosity, he unstitched it, and the garment revealed the intricate craftsmanship. “At that moment, I made a promise to the silk kimono: to give its fabulous textiles a new, vibrant life by crafting them into contemporary creations that would whisper of their journey, quality, and beauty.”

From there, Pino approached a skilled seamstress with his simple sketches, asking her to transform the long panels of textiles into a shirt and trousers. Though initially sceptical, she accepted the challenge.

Two weeks later, the garments were ready, and the results exceeded Pino’s expectations. “The seamstress not only brought my designs to life but also enhanced them with her expertise,” he said.

At the same time, a friend had encouraged him to set up a small fashion brand in Singapore. As his tenant in a ground-floor unit in Tiong Bahru was leaving, he offered it to Pino as a base for his new venture at a concession rate with a two-year tenancy. 

“This serendipitous opportunity led me to start DGA Threads in 2017, with the goal of crafting an exclusive range of fine apparel and accessories using exclusively natural fibres solely with vintage Japanese textiles or combining them with contemporary materials,” the former banker said.

Pino shared that country’s dynamic and cosmopolitan environment is also inspiring, as it provides the perfect backdrop for his creative endeavours.

Image Credit: DGA Threads

“The city’s melting pot of cultures and influences fuels my passion for blending diverse elements into my designs and creations, making each piece unique,” he said. “Singapore serves as a hub where East meets West, mirroring my journey of merging my Italian roots with my profound appreciation for Asian artistry, including Japanese aesthetics.”

But knowing how to wear fashion doesn’t necessarily mean knowing how to create fashion. Pino revealed that his skills as a designer are entirely self-taught, as he has not pursued formal education or courses in design.

“Before starting DGA Threads, I had a basic understanding of design principles and garment construction techniques,” he clarified. “However, much of my learning and skill development occurred through direct collaboration with the seamstresses working for the company.”

More than fashion

More than just to fulfil his fashion visions, though, Pino actually wants his brand to reflect his values.

For one, he despises any textile that has even 1% synthetic fibres. As he put it, “I believe that, just as each human being has unique DNA, clothes should reflect individuality and uniqueness.”

Image Credit:DGA Threads

He also wanted to address the negative impact of textile production, especially in the fast fashion sector, which often uses toxic chemicals and bad practices.

“With DGA Threads, I aim to contribute to a more sustainable fashion industry, crafting unique pieces that honour the rich history and craftsmanship of traditional textiles while minimising environmental impact,” Pino added.

The challenge with this, though, would be the need for high-quality craftsmanship for the intended production and the fact it could not be made abroad, plus the high-cost impact for making each creation in Singapore.

“These challenges did not deter me, as I became, after the above investigation, totally convinced and ready to embark in the journey supported by the first fine result achieved with the beautiful two creations and the attractive rental proposal received,” he said.

Image Credit: DGA Threads

“I felt at that point a strong motivation to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind products. Supported by my determination, enthusiasm, creativity, positive energy, and willingness to work hard, I gained the confidence to start this venture. I believed it would bring me great satisfaction.”

DGA Threads’ unique pieces, which Pino calls wearable art, are designed mostly for ladies of all ages who appreciate design, quality, and exclusivity. The founder shared that their clientele consists of mostly professionals and high-net-worth individuals.

Recently, Pino has been thinking of creating a more affordable line of garments, featuring pieces crafted from natural fabrics combined with mid-century Japanese textiles. This would cater to younger individuals with limited means.

Retirement is not the end

Running a business as an individual can be extremely tiring. Thankfully, Pino is joined by a small, energetic, and committed team that supports his creativity.

With this team, the vision for DGA Threads is to solidify their position in the market and expand their brand presence.

“In the immediate future, we are focused on enhancing our product offerings and refining our brand identity,” he said.

Image Credit: DGA Threads

This includes product development to continue innovating with new designs that blend oriental and Western fashion elements. It also involves improved client engagements and marketing efforts. Optimising their production processes and supply chain management is also a part of their goals.

Looking ahead, DGA Threads’ long-term goals include market expansion, both domestically and internationally. The vision is to establish the business as a leading name in sustainable luxury fashion, known for its unique blend of cultural richness and artistic craftsmanship.

“Retirement isn’t a word that exists in my vocabulary; I believe in continuing to work as long as there are no physical or mental limitations,” Pino shared.

Image Credit: DGA Threads

He pointed out that staying engaged keeps his mind sharp and motivated. Despite his advanced age, Pino said he feels mentally capable and passionate about his work with DGA Threads.

“The daily challenges are in the nature of any activity and finding solutions is a fulfilling aspect of any work beside being in a creative environment with supportive colleagues who share the organisation’s goals, [this all] brings me joy,” he mused. “It’s a privilege to work in such a positive atmosphere.”

With his unique visions and wealth of knowledge, I’m sure he himself contributes a great deal to that positive atmosphere, too.

  • Learn more about DGA Threads here.
  • Read other articles we’ve written about startups here.

Featured Image Credit: DGA Threads

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)