What inspired you to create your own brand?
We represent the third generation of Italian shoemakers. Our grandfather started his shoe company in 1937 and since then our family handcrafts the best Italian footwear. It has been pretty natural for us to continue this legacy but also to express ourselves and our personal vision in the footwear industry, both in terms of design and values. We wanted to give a message to the industry and to the women out there, that even a couple of young girls can create a nice and successful line of shoes!
Did you always know you wanted to be a designer? Why or Why not?
We actually didn’t follow the common path to become a designer, so we would say no. Both of us have followed different studies. Valentina has studied to become an Opera Singer while Carolina graduated in business management. The interest in shoe design naturally came by working in our small factory, where we have been taught by the best professors: our artisans. Watching and learning from them was our design school, so we initially understood the way a shoe is made, the processes, the materials and how to choose the leathers. After gaining a strong base, Valentina approached the most creative part of the process and started designing the Valentina Rangoni line, while Carolina started pursuing the management of the brand.
What is the inspiration for your brand’s name?
Valentina: It’s a fun story; my dad created this shoe line after my birth but had no success with it. We then used the same name to create our brand, adding the triangle and the three stars which represent the third generation of three sisters; we hope to have more luck than our dad!
"The footwear industry is mostly managed by men, so it has been very hard to be taken seriously as young female entrepreneurs."
If you could do something different before starting your business what would it be?
Carolina: We are both very young, so this business is both a great opportunity and a big risk. I would had probably gained more experience in a big luxury brand to learn how the best people in fashion work and manage a brand.
What was the toughest circumstance you overcame when just starting out your business?
The footwear industry is mostly managed by men, so it has been very hard to be taken seriously as young female entrepreneurs. We had to fight for our rights and prove our capabilities!
What was your biggest fear when starting your brand?
The failure of our vision and not finding clients that would like our designs. At the beginning, it’s very hard to define your style but even harder to find people who love it too and share your vision.
What is your favorite part about being a designer?
Valentina: Thinking about the pair of shoes you dream of, and simply design them!
How do you want your buyer to feel when wearing your clothes/accessories?
We really love being women and know how hard it is to face everyday life and feel pretty. We want our customers to feel at their best with our shoes on, to be at same time trendy and comfortable. In one word, we want our buyers to feel confident.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
Valentina: I take inspiration from my everyday life; from the beautiful places I visit when travelling and from my country which is a continuous source of beauty and design. Also, my beloved music helps me to let my creativity flow.
What other designers/brands inspire you? Why?
Valentina: I love Dior, Chanel, Gianvito Rossi. Chanel because its style is always updated but never loses its strong identity. Dior because it’s elegant, feminine and innovative with wearable fashion items and a great attention on feminism. Gianvito Rossi is my inspiration as the impeccable shoemaker of the industry: its shoes are perfectly made, chic and timeless.
Has your city or culture had any impact on how you design?
Totally! Florence is one of the most artistic cities in the world. We have been growing up between beauty, history, art and incredible craftsmanship. Florence is a great source of inspiration for our designs.
What makes your brand stand out from others?
It’s not loud, it’s sophisticated. Our shoes combine the newest trends with a timeless elegance and impeccable fitting.
"The fashion industry is heading towards sustainability, digitalization and hopefully social equality."
What would you like your brand to be known/recognized for?
For being a woman’s best friend. We want our shoes to be so nice and comfortable that every woman can feel confident in them all day long!
What direction do you believe the fashion industry is headed to?
A direction of big changes, even bigger after this pandemic. The fashion industry is heading towards sustainability, digitalization and hopefully social equality.
How do you define fashion?
For us fashion is a form art. The only art that you wear every day. It’s a way of expressing yourself, your personality, your values.
How would you describe your personal style?
Valentina: I would say that I try to adapt what is on trend to myself. More wearable and less eye catching. I’m also a little bit preppy.
Carolina: My style is pretty casual and practical at work, but I love to dress up and experiment the newest trend (and of course newest shoes!) in my free time.
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
Valentina: Together we team up very well, combining our personalities and balancing ourselves! I’m creative and curious, but also very shy. Carolina is very charismatic and talkative, but anxious and insecure.
Are you passionate about something other than fashion?
Valentina: I love lyric music! In fact, I studied Opera for 10 years. To me, Opera and Design are two incredible forms of art!
Carolina: As every Italian, I love travelling but especially eating! I’m a food fanatic and I love finding the cutest restaurants around the globe! I’m also passionate about interior design.
If you could visit one place in the entire world, where would it be and why?
Japan! We have dreamed of this trip since forever. We have always loved its culture and its combination between history and technology, past and future!